Jews, Christians and Muslims band together to protest Trump’s immigration orders

a7fb2355a538461eb7ea3055552982c8_1486179632799_2703119_ver1-0FOX 32 NEWS – Jews, Christians and Muslims all banded together Friday to protest President Trump’s immigration orders.

The protesters formed a human chain in front of a mosque in southwest suburban Bridgeview.

The human chain in front of the mosque was a symbol of many faiths linking together to fight the president’s orders.

“These are our neighbors living in communities next to us. And they need support and encouragement to know they don’t have to live in fear looking over their shoulder,” said Presbyterian Minister Adam Malak.

“I want them to know that I’m here in solidarity with them, as my faith tradition teaches me to love they neighbor, I wanted to be here to show that support to them,” said Deacon Michael Fakete.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOX 32 NEWS IN CHICAGO

Chicago Muslims give thanks, 5,000 turkeys

ct-chicago-muslims-5000-turkeys-thanksgiving-video-20161122As a line of schoolchildren obediently marched past the canary yellow lockers Tuesday morning at Woodlawn Community School, two more lines had formed at the end of the hallway — an assembly line of volunteers unloading a semitrailer full of turkeys, and the mothers and grandmothers waiting to take one home to feed their families.

Volunteers also hung a banner advertising the Sabeel Food Pantry, a Muslim-run pantry on the city’s Northwest Side. The mission of Sabeel — an Arabic word meaning “way” — is to give the poor a way to survive, a central obligation of the Muslim faith, volunteers say.

For 16 years, the Chicago Muslim community has distributed free Thanksgiving turkeys to underprivileged families on the South Side. But this holiday season, the group more than tripled the number of free birds from last year to 5,000 and expanded the project to eight elementary schools in three neighborhoods.

Dr. Sofia Shakir, an organizer of the annual turkey drive, said while plans to expand the effort had been underway for almost a year, it was serendipitous that it all came together after what she considered a discouraging presidential campaign — and now amid fears of being viewed as un-American by the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. Last year, just days before Thanksgiving, Trump proposed the government register and track Muslims in the U.S. as part of the nation’s war on terror. Earlier this week, Trump’s incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus said there would not be a registry based on religion but would not “rule out anything.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 

Oak Lawn (Illinois) faith leaders call on businesses to support Muslim neighbors

oaklawnKaren Danielson just wanted to have a dialogue.

She was frustrated by the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the election season and of how President-elect Donald Trump had called for a ban on Muslim immigration in the U.S.

She was hurt by the hateful language so much that during a recent visit to Navy Pier, she suddenly froze with fear. Could somebody, she wondered, sneak up and push her into the water because of the veil that hid her hair?

Danielson, who was raised Catholic and converted to Islam in college, initially wanted to hold an interfaith gathering denouncing Islamophobia before the election, but had worried it would be mistaken for an anti-Trump rally. But after Trump won the election Tuesday, Danielson, an interfaith and outreach director for the Muslim American Society, knew it was time to pull the community together.

“I don’t think bigotry won the election,” she said. “But we do know bigotry played some role.”

On Saturday, more than 100 people of different faiths crowded the parking lot of First United Methodist Church in Oak Lawn to denounce the anti-Muslim vitriol spurred by the election season. Community members listened to Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders speak and brought signs sprinkled with hand-drawn hearts that read, “We stand with our Muslim neighbors!” and “United against hate.”

After a brief rally, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and other interfaith groups, community members split up into teams and traveled to businesses across Oak Lawn, asking owners to post signs in their windows that read “We support our Muslim neighbors.”

Those who spoke at the rally congratulated Trump and commended the democratic process. But they demanded Trump’s administration denounce the verbal attacks on Muslims and revoke his pledge to deny entry to the country to all Muslims. Religious tolerance, they said, is among America’s core values.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Muslim, Christian Scouts come together to foster friendship, understanding

girl scoutsA beautiful event unfolded recently at the Islamic Center of Naperville, where two Girl Scout groups met for an interfaith event that paved the way for a lifetime of understanding and friendship.

We should all be more like Girl Scouts.

Heather Mieloszyk, a troop leader for her second- and seventh-grade daughters, was inspired to educate herself and her Scouts on the Islamic faith after some of the elementary students she teaches brought treats to school to celebrate Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset.

The students’ parents put Mieloszyk in touch with Saima Hasan, a program director for the Girl Scouts troops who operate out of the Islamic Center of Naperville. Hasan and her fellow troop leaders got to work planning a day of fun and fellowship.

The Daisies (kindergarten and first-grade Girl Scouts) greeted each visitor with a flower. The girls shared snacks (cupcakes and dates) and created pins with different colored beads to swap with one another. The visiting girls learned to write their names in Arabic and received bookmarks with Arabic phrases of goodwill translated into English.

“Today’s youth should serve as tomorrow’s ambassadors of peace in a troubled world,” Hasan told me. “They would use their positive experiences with various cultures, religions, races and ethnicities and build a world of understanding, which in some way will contribute to the healing and prosperity of this great nation.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Wheaton College says view of Islam, not hijab, got Christian teacher suspended

Larycia Hawkins

Wheaton College associate professor Larycia Hawkins Phd., center, is greeted with applause from supporters as she begins her remarks during a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Chicago. Hawkins, a Christian teaching political science at the private evangelical school west of Chicago, was put on leave Tuesday. In recent days, she began wearing a hijab, the headscarf worn by some Muslim women, to counter what she called the “vitriolic” rhetoric against Muslims in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins had simply donned a headscarf to support her Muslim neighbors without explaining herself, she still might be administering final exams this week.

Instead, Hawkins, a tenured political science professor at the private evangelical Christian college, proclaimed on social media that Christians and Muslims share the same God and was suspended by the college.

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she posted Dec. 10 on Facebook. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

That explanation rankled some evangelical Christians, who read her statement as a conflation of Christian and Muslim theology, even if they supported her symbolic gesture.

“While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer,” Wheaton College said in a statement.

The suspension, effective immediately and lasting through the spring semester, sparked protests on the west suburban campus Wednesday from students calling for Hawkins’ reinstatement and an apology from the college. About two dozen Christian clergy also appeared with Hawkins at a news conference Wednesday in downtown Chicago to show their support.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

The moment when, I, a moderate Christian, was a misunderstood Muslim

This article was written by  Kristin Reed Klade, a senior Master of Divinity student at our seminary. She is a candidate for ordained ministry in the ELCA and is originally from Fort Worth, Texas.

blueFrom the outside, it looked like any old interfaith dinner. Religiously moderate people of various faith traditions smiling and getting to know each other, a picturesque panel of four faith leaders smiling on a stage, ready with speeches about unity and love—the works.

That night turned out to be a bit different for me, though. This time I was experiencing it as part of the minority.

As a Lutheran seminary student from Chicago, I was attending a conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), learning about how emerging Jewish and Christian leaders could work to become allies with American Muslims in their fight for equality, and against hate and Islamophobia.

I got a little nervous when I read in the program that a pastor from a large evangelical church in Fort Worth (my beloved hometown) was going to address the crowd. Being from North Texas, I am well aware of typical megachurch theology, with its emphasis on evangelism and conversion. So I was unsure about how the pastor was going to come across to a room of mostly Muslims. I was certainly willing to give him a chance, though. Maybe he’s different, I thought.

He started off by recognizing the Christian obligation to love and protect our Muslim neighbors, and furthermore to be in relationship with them, to know them on a deeper level. But as he went on I began to grow uncomfortable. He spoke about the importance of being “real” with each other in interfaith dialogue. He praised his Muslim friend for being honest in sharing his belief that Christians will not go to heaven. The implication was that this was a mutual belief of damnation to hell of “the other,” a belief which I do not share. He also made some questionable comparisons between the New Testament and the Qur’an, implying that the New Testament alone teaches peace.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS 

Owning our Past: Pondering Alternatives for the Future

24-YouthinMission2005Over the years as I’ve engaged Muslims in varied conversations it has become increasingly clear that good relations falter more on matters of politics and power than on faith and practice.  Because of this and based on recent readings I would like to venture a few thoughts that hopefully might open the way for an interfaith discussion inclusive of political and other forms of power, but not at the expense of faith and practice.  On the contrary, the focus will be primarily on faith but in a way that makes it central to the larger task of ordering society toward a common good. I begin with a recent experience.

In January of 1998 three Muslim students from Mahidol University in Bangkok arrived in Chicago.  They had come to study at LSTC as part of an exchange program.  As a way to stretch an already meager budget the two men, both from Indonesia, stayed at my home.  What had begun as an austerity measure turned out to be an experience with rich dividend.   For one thing it allowed me to work on my hospitality skills as together we set down guidelines for living together amicably.   It was Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, so I decided to join in the experience of withholding food and other delights during the daylight hours.  I had often thought of doing this while living in the Middle East, but had never taken it seriously.   Now during these shortened winter days I made the plunge and it bonded us almost immediately.

FULL ARTICLE BY DR. HAROLD VOGELAAR