Small Chicago Suburb Supports Muslim Neighbors

Small Chicago Suburb Supports Muslim Neighbors
Our local activist group started a lovely chain of events, dropping off cards and pictures created by our families. The act laid the groundwork for an uplifting community event. My son's picture is shown in the center. The flowers he worked diligently on were an act of love.

On Saturday I took my family to our local mosque. We are (non-practicing) Catholics. We live in a small town where all but TWO precincts held a winning vote for Trump. Within our family, we don’t necessarily always hold the same political views or attitude towards practicing religion. We are, in ourselves, occasionally divided. What we aren’t divided on is our commitment that love and understanding can conquer hate. What we will always agree on is that it is our job as parents to teach our sons about the ability to love another, even if they aren’t the same as you.

aia-coffee

Without social media blitz or strife, this invite brought over 200 members into the mosque Saturday morning, twice as many as the leaders anticipated.

And, we found about 200 other people in our town who felt the same way as us. Community members from my small town filled the event area of The American Islamic Association (AIA Masjid). Not once was our political affiliation requested. Not once was our difference of faith highlighted EXCEPT to illustrate the fact that we had all come together on a warm Saturday morning to share a simple truth, that we are all neighbors.

Our stay was short, but we were welcomed, fed (thanks to the generosity of the AIA and a local company who donated their goods), and educated a bit on Islam and the way in which our local Interfaith Community League works together to support all faiths. Our children played alongside of one another and we received an English translation of the Quran. The entire event was a testament to what can happen when egos are put aside and hearts are opened.

aia

Kathy Mathews, fellow CN blogger at Quilting Sewing Creating and neighbor, captured the welcome extended to us

One aside, though. Noticeably present were the police. Yes, in a room full of families, the police stood watch. I couldn’t help but to feel their presence. As a citizen, I understood their watch. As a mother, I struggled with it. What were they watching for and who were they sent to watch over? My anxieties found it difficult to rest, even while I listened to hopeful messages. I know my feelings are intensely personal, but I’m sure my fears weren’t as the children worked on arts and crafts and my son stuffed another munchkin in his mouth. Hope was present that day, and guarded.

Beyond the police, hope, community, compassion and support were present. It was an event that I was proud to be a part of. It is an event I hope will have lasting ripples in our community and in the mind’s of my family members.

Related posts:

To My Children: Do Not Be Afraid of the World

Why I will attend the Women’s March on Chicago

What I won’t accept today

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