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Des Plaines mosque hosts 10th annual fast breaking meal for 300
By Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald Staff

More than 300 people from different faith communities attended an interfaith iftar, or fast-breaking meal, at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines Tuesday.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

From left, Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, and Azam Nizamuddin, a Des Plaines attorney and adjunct professor of Islam at Loyola University.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Des Plaines City Clerk Gloria Ludwig donned a colorful scarf to show respect to the Islamic tradition.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Muhammad Ilyas recites an Islamic prayer from the Quran during an interfaith iftar, or fast-breaking meal, at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines Tuesday.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

From left, Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Imam Ghais Askia of The Ministry of the Faithful to G-d in Chicago, and Ben Goldstein, chaplain for Illinois Masonic Hospital were attend an interfaith iftar.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Francis Cardinal George walks out with his own copy of the Quran .

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan, right, was among a crowd of more than 300 representing area Islamic, Jewish, and Christian communities who attended the 10th annual Interfaith Unity Iftar.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Azam Nizamuddin, a Des Plaines attorney and adjunct professor of Islam at Loyola University, addresses a crowd of more than 300 people from different faith communities during an interfaith iftar.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Muhammad Ilyas recites an Islamic prayer from the Quran during an interfaith iftar, or fast-breaking meal, at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines Tuesday.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

The Rev. Ray Webb of the Mundelein Seminary and Shakir Moiduddin, chairman of the interfaith committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Abdul Sattar, left, and Ghulam Farooqie, president of the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines, hand out copies of the Quran.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

Ghulam Farooqie, president of the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines, welcomes a gathering of more than 300 people from different faith communities.

 

Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald

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Published: 9/1/2010 10:53 AM | Updated: 9/1/2010 1:55 PM

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Though nearly 700 miles from the controversy over a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero, the topic that has grabbed national headlines in recent weeks was very much on the minds of 300 people breaking fast together at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines Tuesday.

The 10th annual interfaith iftar - or fast breaking meal Muslims eat at sundown during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan - drew faith leaders from the three Abrahamic traditions, including Francis Cardinal George of the Chicago Archdiocese, who addressed the importance of unity and the future of religion in troubled times.

Though Cardinal George would not directly address the New York City mosque controversy, he said the antidote to violence in the name of religion is friendship.

"For friendship diminishes all the many different causes for violence and therefore diminishes the possibility that violence may break out anywhere in the world," Cardinal George said.

Such interfaith gatherings are perhaps more important today than ever before because of the lingering effects of Sept. 11, 2001, said Ghulam Farooqie, president of the Des Plaines Islamic Community Center.

Leaders spoke of the need for faith communities to pull together to support one another against attempts to diminish the individual and collective value of their religions.

"Ideological secularism ... that's the opponent of all of us in this room," said the Rev. Robert Barron, professor of theology at Mundelein Seminary. "When push comes to shove, what we're all about in this room is God. We are very much under attack by explicit forms of atheism. We are, whether we like it or not, all connected together."

Azam Nizamuddin, co-chair of the interfaith committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, said the Cordoba House or Park 51 Islamic center debate is one that pits constitutionality against peoples' emotions.

"To me it shows a decrease of virtue and civility, what we call in Islam as a lack of adab," he said. "We are witnessing a steady decline of morality, virtue and neighborliness."

Despite the gravity of the speeches, the event was largely about breaking bread together and Muslims showing their hospitality to their neighbors.

"I've been to other (interfaith) gatherings and I have always felt extraordinarily welcomed," said Mary Grover, a member of St. Gertrude's Catholic Church in Chicago.