Monday, May 01, 2006

Muslim community to join Monday marchers
CHICAGO Members of different ethnic groups plan to rally for immigrants rights
BY DALIA HATUQAMedill News Service
This story ran on on Saturday, April 29, 2006 12:06 AM CDT

CHICAGO Muslim leaders are mobilizing their community to join thousands of marchers on Monday, a day that has historically commemorated the struggle of working people throughout the world.In a bid to strengthen their solidarity with the Latino community, which is lobbying for immigration reform, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago has called on its faithful to march for immigrant civil rights Monday.
"Latinos are doing a favor to all Americans by mobilizing against the inhumanity of these (immigration) laws," said Abdul Malek Mujahed, the chairman of the South Loop-based council, which represents 400,000 Muslims in the Greater Chicago area.The Muslim community and other ethnic groups are protesting a controversial federal law approved in the U.S. House of Representatives that would crack down on illegal immigrants and those who employ them."The bill must never become a law," Mujahed said. "We consider this a direct interference in the realm of religion."Some Muslims have said they were subjected to forms of immigration or racial profiling. Others have complained of backlogs and delays to obtaining their citizenship, despite completed paperwork and paid fees."We have seen how devastating this is for the Latino communities," said Jenaan Hashim, the council's spokeswoman. "But it's hurtful to everyone. It's hurtful to America."More than 5,000 Muslims have suffered since 9/11, according to the council's Web site."After 9/11 we have seen a rise in Muslim immigrants, even citizens, being violated in a major way," Mujahed said. "So we think we are an actual ally with other immigrants who are standing up for their rights."The council, a federation of 50 mosques, Islamic schools and organizations, urged its khateebs or preachers to make immigration the theme of Friday's prayers and sermons.The council has also made arrangements to bring students en masse from grades 5 to 12 from the Islamic schools to the rally. Tens of thousands of fliers entitled "Muslims join Latinos in May 1 immigration rally" have been distributed throughout the community.Mujahed said other ethnic groups are joining the downtown rally, which is expected to draw a larger crowd than the one on March 10. Police estimated last month's crowd was 100,000, making it one of the biggest pro-immigrant rallies in U.S. history.More than 40 other communities representing Arab, African, Asian and European communities said they will join Latinos on May 1."It's not just a Latino issue and that's the point of May 1," said Isabel Anadon, development and communications director of the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois.

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