Muslims convene in Chicago


(July 2, 2011) – Muslims across North America have gathered in Chicago this weekend to discuss the state of affairs of their community.

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) expect 40,000 U.S. and Canadian Muslims to attend ISNA’s 48th annual convention over the July 4th weekend in Rosemont, Ill.

The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Loving God, Loving Neighbor, Living in Harmony.’

“Our conventions in the past years have changed. You’ll see more questions dealing with interreligious cooperation and understanding,” said Mohamed Elsanousi, ISNA’s director of community outreach. “We are opening the convention more to people of other faiths.”

A majority of the 90 or so panels and workshops are based on suggestions from members. ISNA officials said the feedback showed that the continent Muslims’ biggest concern was Islamophobia and a desire to learn how to respond.

While many of the programs deal with typical religious convention topics like spirituality and family, 15 to 20 will focus on educating Muslims about public service, interfaith work, media training, and other civic activities as ways to alleviate American fears of Muslims.

Some conference panels this year include “Islam, Pluralism, and Social Harmony,” “Empowerment Through Engagement,” “Interreligious Collaboration Inspired by Love of God and Love of Neighbor,” and “Ethics of Disagreement and Coexistence in Islam.”

On Friday night, speakers included Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Dr. John Esposito, Dr Maher Hathout and Zaid Shakir who reflected on pluralism and social harmony.