CHICAGO,IL–Chicago area Muslims and Christians gathered at the Islamic Foundation Mosque recently for an interfaith iftar. It was part of an ongoing effort between the two communities relations between the two communities. More than fifty people came for the event.
Similar events are being held throughout the Chicago area.
â€œHad it not been for interfaith relations in the Chicago area, the aftermath of 9/11 would have been very different,â€ said Ghulam Haider Aasi, professor of Islamic studies at American Islamic College in Chicago in an interview to the Daily Herald. â€œMuslims of Chicago fortunately did not see as bad a situation (of backlash) as people in other parts of the country.â€
Leaders emphasized commonalities between the faith traditions and the significance of building fellowship through the fast-breaking ritual.
â€œWhat I think is valuable about this is two communities build personal relationships first in the context of which they are then able to discuss the larger issues between them,â€ said the Rev. Thomas Baima, Provost at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary.
Heitage Hills Mosque plans not approved
GRAND RAPIDS,MI–Heritage Hill residents convinced city planners to reject an Islamic communityâ€™s request to convert a former school building into a mosque. The cityâ€™s Planning Commission voted 8-0 against the request by the Masjid Muhammad Islamic Center.
Mosque officials said the daily prayers would attract only a handful of worshippers, while other gatherings rarely would draw more than 50 people.
But neighbors complained that the property has only seven spaces, with three spaces available on the street which will lead to problems.
The Masjid Muhammad Islamic Center has been looking for a permanent home for five years, since a mosque along South Division Avenue was destroyed by fire.
Bus ads spread the message
SEATTLE,WA– Adopting an innovative approach to Dawah, activists in Seattle area have turned to public transit buses. The paid advertisements on the Metro buses simply read: â€œQ: Islam. A: You deserve to know,â€ with a phone number and Web site.
They have been designed to spark curiosity about the most misunderstood religion. The idea was initiated by the Islamic Circle of North America and now ads are displayed on the outside of six metro buses and the inside of about 25. The cost of $5,000 was contributed by ten local Muslims.
Buses in New York and Chicago will also display the advertisements soon.
Memphis Muslim clinic reaches out
MEMPHIS,TN– As the number of uninsured grows in America, Muslim doctors are doing their part to help their fellow citizens and lighten the burden.
The Memphis Muslim Medical Clinic in East Memhis has been serving the uninsured patients for the past two and a half years. With a volunteer base of 100 Muslim doctors have served over 2,000 patients who pay as little as $5 per visit.
Housed on the property of Masjid As-Salaam the clinic is run by five directors all of whom are on the staff of University of Tennessee.
Open on weekends, the clinic has a $100,000 annual budget, which is funded through private donors, many of whom make direct monthly deposits.
Work at Boonton mosque stopped
BOONTON, NJ–More than two years after the expansion of the Jam e Masjid Islamic Center was approved by the planning board, progress on the controversial proposal has hit a snag, the Daily Record reported.
The town issued a stop-work order in early August on construction of the multi-story 4,000-square-foot expansion to the Harrison Street mosque, after a resident noticed the work on the faÃ§ade did not conform to the site plan approval of March 2006.
Work on the expansion began several months ago by Perth Amboy-based Troop Construction, mosque officials said.
An amendment to the application—revisited by the planning board on Wednesday night–was denied in a vote of 5-2 following testimony from representatives of the mosque on the site plan changes and protests from several residents who oppose the changes.
Board members Richard Orlusky and Douglas Phelps approved the amended plan.
Roy Kurnos, the mosqueâ€™s attorney, said he will meet this weekend with mosque officials and architect David Singer to revise the amended plan, re-file and present it to the board again.