Eboo Patel Earns Award

December 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

eboo patel Eboo Patel, the Chicago based founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, has won the 2010 Louisville Grawemeyer award in religion for his autobiography. He was selected from among 67 nominations worldwide.

Patel’s encourages young people of different religions to perform community service, explore common values and build bridges among diverse faiths. The organization is now active on about 75 college campuses.

“Religious extremists all over the world are harnessing adolescent angst for their own ends,” said Susan Garrett, a religion professor who directs the award. “Patel urges us to take advantage of the short window of time in a young person’s life to teach the universal values of cooperation, compassion and mercy.”

The Indian born Patel immigrated to Chicago as a child. As a teenager, he struggled with what he saw as a lack of religious pluralism in America. His experiences prompted him to launch a movement to build interfaith cooperation by inspiring college students to champion the cause.

He formed Interfaith Youth Core in 1998.

A Rhodes Scholar, he is now a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations. In October, U.S. News & World Report named him one of America’s Best Leaders in 2009.

The Grawemeyer Awards are five annual $200,000 prizes given in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education, and religion. They were founded by H. Charles Grawemeyer to help make the world a better place. The University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Seminary jointly award the religion prize.


Illinois Muslim Leaders Make Impact in Washington, DC at ISNA Convention

July 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Press Release — Junaid M. Afeef, Esq., Executive Director, CIOGC

Chicago, Illinois – July 6, 2009 – The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (the Council)  made substantial contributions to the growth and development of the American-Muslim community during a major convening of American-Muslims in Washington, DC over the 4th of July weekend.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid and Junaid M. Afeef took active leadership roles at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention.  The ISNA convention is the largest annual single gathering of American-Muslims in North America. 

Mujahid, the immediate past-chair of the Council and current Council board member, presented on a distinguished panel of political experts including U.S. Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson.  Mujahid presented strategies on tactics for American-Muslims to build upon the efforts and gains made by American-Muslims during the 2008 presidential elections.  He called upon American-Muslims to join a political party, to obtain political action training and to work engage mosques to become active in areas that are allowable under various federal and state tax regulations.  Mujahid is a founding member of Muslim Democrats, an organization that mobilized hundreds of thousands of American-Muslims in support of Barack Obama.

Afeef, the executive director of the Council, shared his insights on leadership and the impact of the Council in a session on building the next generation of leaders in the American-Muslim community.  He discussed the unique nature of the Council with an audience that represented Muslim communities across the nation.  During the discussion Afeef pointed out the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California as an outstanding forum for meeting and learning from other young leaders.  Afeef is a 2009 graduate of AMCLI.  He was joined on the panel by the Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core.

Sahloul, the current chair of the Council and also the president of the Mosque Foundation, met with leaders of ISNA and several other national Muslim organizations in private meetings.  Sahloul represented the Illinois Muslim community at ISNA’s annual community service luncheon featuring Dalia Mogahed, co-author of “Who Speaks for Islam” which is a book based on a multi-year international survey of Muslim opinions conducted by Gallup.

“The Illinois Muslim community is a strong example of how a geographically dispersed and an ethnically and racial mixed Muslim community can unite, cooperate and collaborate as one ummah” noted Afeef.  “We want to share the Council’s success with the rest of the U.S. and that is we engages with ISNA during its invaluable annual convention even when it is outside of Chicago.”

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (the Council) is a federation of over 50 mosques and Muslim organizations throughout the metropolitan Chicago region.  The Council’s members collectively represent over 400,000 Muslims.  The Council works to coordinate the activities of the Muslim community as well as provide education, training, networking and advocacy to and on behalf of our member organizations.