Library Launches Quarterly Program on Islam

CAIR-Chicago had the opportunity to initiate one community's efforts to bring about a positive change in its environment. Mateen Hussein filed a complaint with CAIR-Chicago's Civil Rights Department about a book he checked out for his young children at the Glenside Public Library District. The book about the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) had several pictures depicting the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), which is considered improper in Islam. The book also contained information on Islam that provided an overtly biased and radical view of Islam.

CAIR-Chicago wrote a letter informing the library of Mr. Hussein's complaint in hopes for a peaceful resolution to this situation. When brought to the attention of the library, they were apologetic and understanding. The Glenside Public Library took action to address Mr. Hussein's complaint immediately.

The library contacted Mr. Hussein and, as a result of the meeting, the library decided to purchase several more books on Islam that are considered by Mr. Hussein and other Muslim community members as being appropriate in representing the religion.

Additionally, the library introduced a quarterly program about Islam that will help better inform community members about the religion. The first session was held in June and discussed the similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

On September 7th, the second session was held, entitled "Who is the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)?" and 44 people attended.

These sessions are organized by Glenside Public Library's Adult Services Manager Michael Moulds and Mr. Hussein. Michael Moulds explained that the Glenside Public Library District encompasses many ethnically diverse communities, and therefore has a "special responsibility" to educate the public about different cultures and religions. He stressed the importance of making an effort to understand different religions and cultures in order to better understand your neighborhood and community members.

The Library's sessions have been greatly appreciated by other libraries as well. Many have called to ask how to start similar quarterly programs in their own libraries.

For CAIR-Chicago, this is an ideal example of Muslims working with their greater community to achieve dialogue and mutual understanding. CAIR-Chicago applauds Mr. Hussein and the staff of the Glenside Public Library for their continued commitment to these goals.

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