Muslims In America: Showing Up in a Time of Crisis

Dr. Dilara Sayeed is an educator, civic activist, and a proud Chicago kid. She is CEO of, a virtual peer mentoring platform. Her life mission, proven through her journey, is to help individuals and communities meet their potential. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum, as the President of the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, and as a member of the Board of Directors for Women’s March Chicago and IADO. 

Reema Kamran serves as the Executive Director of the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, working towards the Coalition's mission to collaborate and amplify,  social and civic efforts working towards Civic Justice for all vulnerable communities. Reema is an entrepreneur and community organizer focused on leveraging partnerships and collaborations within the community to bring about collective impact and social change. ​

Friday, March 13th was like no other Friday...

Typically, on Fridays, hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who identify as Muslim, go to their mosque to attend Jumaah- congregational prayers and a talk on faith and civic duty.

On March 12th, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked Chicagoans to begin staying home and not meet in groups. That evening, the IL Muslim Civic Coalition (The Coalition), CIOGC, mosque, business, community leaders, Muslim influencer WhatsApp groups and listservs were buzzing with heated discussion.

We came together on one point - our responsibility to our community and our nation is to keep every person safe - and to immediately halt congregational gatherings and meetings at all mosques, community centers and businesses. The next day, Friday, March 13th - typically a day of congregation and gatherings, was instead a day of solo prayer and individual family worship.

Recognizing stay-at-home measures, the American Muslim community is showing up for all our neighbors. Yes, the challenges are great and yes, we are vulnerable, but we are also very resilient. Our community, city and nation will get through this- and American Muslims are helping us do it. Since March, Muslims have responded to needs.

  • Thousands of healthcare workers, physicians, nurses and care providers who identify as Muslim of every race and background have served shoulder-to-shoulder with all first-responder colleagues.
  • Every major mosque and community center is a place where drive-through care packages, deliveries of groceries, financial grants and care calls are provided for neighbors and residents of all backgrounds.
  • Faith talks and spiritual motivation are shared over the internet with a dozen or more webinars and virtual programs every day.
  • Personal Protection Equipment collections and donations to hospitals and businesses have become the activity of choice for students and families.
  • The Coalition connected with 300 legislators to share the work of our community and highlight how this Ramadan is focused on service and giving back.

And then Ramadan happened...

The spiritually rigorous and holy month of Ramadan began on April 24th. This means that Muslims have been doing all of the above, while fasting - no food or water - every day from dawn to sunset. As Ramadan ends, we hope public officials and everyday residents in every city, county and state will share a message of "EID MUBARAK" (Blessed Holiday) in support of our Muslim residents and organizations that support all families.

The Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition is here to give Voice to vulnerable and often invisible communities. We are here to share our story.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.