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****  PRESS RELEASE  ****

 - For Immediate Release & Distribution  -


CHICAGO-AREA MOSQUES ASKED TO PRAY FOR RAIN IN NIGER


August 5, 2005

CAIR-CHICAGO URGES PEOPLE OF ALL FAITHS TO JOIN IN PRAYER

(Chicago, IL, 8/05/05) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Chicago Chapter today called on Chicago mosques and Islamic centers to offer prayers for rain in the draught-stricken African nation of Niger during this week's Friday congregational services, or “jummah.”  CAIR-Chicago, a local chapter of the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, is also calling on people of all faiths to offer prayers for rain according to their own religious traditions. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says drought and a locust invasion in the predominantly-Muslim nation have pushed several million people, including 800,000 children, to the edge of starvation. International donations for food supplies have been slow in coming. SEE: “Niger: Famine Warnings Unheeded” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/02/earlyshow/main713303.shtml .
 
  CAIR initiated the prayer request to provide a spiritual dimension to Niger's humanitarian crisis. The special Islamic prayer, called Salatul Istisqa (sal-AT-al-istis-KA), was performed by the Prophet Muhammad and is traditionally offered during times of drought. Amongst Mosques offering prayers or collecting relief donations are the Downtown Islamic Center, The Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview, The Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, the Des Plaines Islamic Center, and The Muslim Community Center. “Unfortunately, the pain and suffering of the needy in bereft parts of the world often fail to register as mainstream news – except in passing. The people of Niger are facing a calamity of the highest proportions and are in desperate need of our financial assistance and our prayers; we intend to deliver.” said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago Director of Communications.
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  CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, 312-212-1520, 847-971-3963; communications@cairchicago.org.