CC ISSUE: APR 2012 Last updated: Apr 5, 2012
CAIR-Chicago’s Annual Banquet: ‘A Future Without Bigotry’
On March 3, CAIR-Chicago held its eighth annual banquet, “A Future Without Bigotry,” at the Drury Lane Theatre, with more than 1,200 people in attendance.
Speakers included Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy; Georgetown University Professor John Esposito; MPAC spokeswoman Edina Lekovic; Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez; author M. Salahuddin Khan; and local imam Sheikh Kifah Mustapha.
“We must pride ourselves that we are constantly defending civil rights of Muslim Americans,” said Sufyan Sohel, CAIR-Chicago’s deputy director, addressing the audience.
The Muslim community must counter “misinformation” in the mass media in order to work toward a future without bigotry, said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s executive director.
A documentary presented by CAIR-Chicago powerfully conveyed the rise of a systematic form of racism against Muslims since 9/11.
At one point in the documentary, Rehab said that certain public figures and politicians needed to “move beyond the politicization and exploitation of the memory of 9/11 for personal and political gain.”
Esposito, the keynote speaker, encouraged American Muslims to become active citizens and to contribute to their community regularly and not just in times of a crisis.
And in response to the New York Police Department’s policy of spying on unwitting American Muslims, Superintendent McCarthy vowed that his police department “will not conduct blanket surveillance and profiling of any community in the city of Chicago.”
His promise was met with much applause.
“I believe CAIR-Chicago’s eighth annual banquet was in many ways much more successful than ever before,” said Aymen Abdel Halim, CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinator.
“This year’s banquet showed that the issues Muslim Americans face not only affect Muslim communities, but American communities as a whole, and that it is more important than ever to build bridges to protect our rights as Americans,” Abdel Halim said.