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 vPeer.com, 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. info@ilmuslimciviccoalition.org

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

more from IFYC

On Thursday, June 10, 2021, Krista Tippett and Eboo Patel discussed the value of courageous pluralism and deep listening at a pivotal moment of our nation's collective formation. How can we equip young people to best address the needs of our time and beyond—truly cultivating the understanding that we belong to one another?
Interfaith coalitions have long taken up racial justice causes, most famously in the civil rights movements of the '60s, Yet, interfaith organizations themselves have often not taken racial equity work seriously.
The conversation among participants focused on past, present and future possibilities of interfaith collaboration at HBCUs and among Black and African American students on other college campuses.
These women are influencing so many in their community by being beacons of the values they hold dear, and that is an incredible way to guide a community. 
While pursuing a master’s degree in Buddhist studies, Han decided to focus her thesis on documenting the nuances of Asian American Buddhists, a community that seemed almost nonexistent, she wrote.
He sees potential for future science-informed partnerships between the government and faith communities to tackle the pandemic.
What has happened in our institution provides a template for similar institutions who may be going through some challenges in establishing an interfaith program. It shows that being true to one’s faith and being inclusive are not opposites.
I hear my sisters and brothers calling out in cacophony, “Aint I a Human?” When Sojourner Truth considered the ways in which white women were revered and protected; when she witnessed the ways their gentility and femininity were affirmed and nurtured; when she experienced the contrast in how she was treated relative to those who shared her gender but not her color, she was compelled to ask, “Aint I a Woman?”
The following interview features Imam Makram El-Amin, who has led the Masjid An-Nur (Mosque of Light) in Minneapolis for 25 years and serves as executive director of Al-Maa’uun, the mosque’s community outreach organization.
The following interview features Anthony Cruz Pantojas, co-chair of the Latinx Humanist Alliance, an affiliate of the American Humanist Association.
The following interview features Micah Fries, director of programs at the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network and director of engagement at GlocalNet.
The church first started offering vaccine doses in January in an effort to boost the vaccination rates in New York City’s Black and Hispanic communities.
This article is part of a series called Faith in the Field that explores responses to Covid-19—including vaccination efforts—within different faith communities. 
Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, talks about the Catholic response to the pandemic.
Fred Davie joins Alia Bilal, Anthea Butler, Adam Russell Taylor and Eric Lewis Williams in a conversation that gets to the heart of how interfaith cooperation can be a part of accountability, justice, and reconciliation in America’s next chapter.
Two thousand volunteers of diverse faiths will engage people through their religious communities.
"Over the years, people have asked if I was 'called' to be a rabbi, and the truth is I don't know, but what I do know is I did listen to an inner voice which I now believe was a holy voice. That holy voice led me to listen even when I doubted..."
The USS Olympia is home to the Difficult Journey Home exhibit that opens May 28, and a historical marker will be unveiled during the Museum’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 31. Independence Seaport Museum
Six congregations gathered to mark the centennial of the massacre and to honor the persistence of the Black church tradition in Greenwood.
This past year’s pandemic and social isolation only made this worse. Consequently, hate crimes and systemic racism were more prevalent than ever.
Perhaps there is a bridge between who we are in aspiration and who we are in reality?

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.