Six years after being barred from coming to the U.S. to teach at the University of Notre Dame, the Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan spoke Saturday in suburban Oakbrook Terrace, attributing his presence to new “channels for dialogue” between the U.S. and Islamic scholars and telling American Muslims to treat the U.S. as their home.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed the suit in federal court in Chicago on behalf of the Irshad Learning Center, which had been proposed for a 2.91-acre site on 75th Street between Wehrli Road and Naper Boulevard in an unincorporated area near Naperville.
“We are all about reconciling Islam and the West,” Rehab said. “We challenge those who attempt to drive a wedge between Muslim and being American. That’s really the life cause of Tariq Ramadan as an academic and philosopher and media personality. He often says that he’s culturally Western, nationally Swiss, ethnically Egyptian and religiously Muslim. For him and for us as well, there is no inherent schism between being Muslim and being American.”
“We fear that the board may have acted on improper factors in rejecting the Irshad Learning Center’s permit, and we will continue to pursue this matter in hopes of achieving a just resolution,” said Kevin Vodak, attorney with the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which will be representing Irshad as it considers appealing the county’s ruling.
An official with the Chicago-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which became involved in the case, said the backlash against Muslim-Americans had spiked somewhat in the days immediately following the Fort Hood shooting but has subsided.
“We try to rally community support for (victims and their families) and to make sure the state’s attorney is pursuing the case with the utmost importance,” said spokeswoman Christina Abraham.
“I think (a charge of hate crime) sends the appropriate message that these kinds of race-based lash-outs are unacceptable,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Every time something like (the Fort Hood shootings) happens, the Muslim community prepares for a backlash.”
Thank you for the August 19 article, “Soldier’s death ‘killed all of us.’” The story of the tragic death of Illinois Guardsman Simone Robinson gives readers a more detailed look into how our wars overseas inflict so much pain on not only the people in Iraq and Afghanistan, but right here at home.
I want to thank the Chicago Tribune for their July 8 article which discussed the tragic case of Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves, who spent 20 years in prison for five murders they did not commit after Chicago Police literally beat a false confession out of them.
The Tribune’s July 21st photo-essay on Afghanistan is a commendable piece that breathes humanity into the life of Afghans. Unfortunately, for many Americans Afghanistan remains merely a distant land inhabited by a people veiled behind burqahs and turbans.
Generous and compassionate people of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to attend Zakat Foundation’s first “Solidarity through Generosity” event to raise awareness of its domestic and international relief and development programs.