CAIR-Chicago and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs recently partnered to launch the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative. The workshop, held at the Downtown Islamic Center, involved discussions on how the two communities can collaborate on issues of social justice.
The workshop covered topics about racial profiling, immigration and police brutality affecting Muslim and Jewish populations in Chicago and nationally. Discussion members included representatives from non-profit organizations, clergy members and students. Shahzeen Karim, CAIR-Chicago’s Government Affairs Coordinator participated in the event. “A workshop like this brings forward issues that separate Muslims and Jews, even within America” she said. “It is our goal to build interfaith communities through dialogue and mutual respect.”
JCUA (Jewish Council on Urban Affairs) has been a major part of interfaith work with CAIR-Chicago and other civil liberties organizations. As a result of increased hate crimes and misperceptions after September 11, 2001, JCUA started building closer relationships between Chicago’s Jewish and Muslim communities. Their recent events with CAIR-Chicago included Café Finjan, an interfaith arts exchange program organized by Gerald B. Hankerson, CAIR’s Outreach Coordinator.
“We do these events because there is a void of Jewish and Muslim voices in mainstream culture,” Hankerson said “but there is also space in our laws and morals that encourage interfaith dialogue and mutuality.”