Community members in Chicago hosted an outreach event celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Independence Day on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the local community centre in Willowbrook, Illinois. The event which was attended by several distinguished guests aimed to foster interfaith dialogue and demonstrate how faith and patriotism go hand in hand.

Children performing a rendition of the National Anthem

The program began with a recitation from the Holy Quran, followed by a spirited rendering of the national anthem by a group of children. The emcee Amir Chalisa introduced the speakers and recognised the dignitaries in attendance including leaders from Chicagoland Muslim organisations, the Chinmaya Mission, the Swaminarayan Mandir, the Zoroastrian Center, and the Buddhist Center, as well as state and federal officials, members of the media, business leaders, and police, fire, and county officials.

The dignitaries who spoke stressed the importance of the spirit of community and mutual respect, echoing Oak Brook Mayor Dr Gopal Lalmalani’s words, ‘there are no others.’

In his speech, the local representative to His Holiness TUS, talked about the importance of preserving the environment and the steps taken by the local community to eliminate the use of foam cups and single use plastics while achieving zero food-wastage. The community is also partnering with the NGO Feed My Starving Children to package food for malnourished and underprivileged children across the world, and he announced a substantial donation to their cause.

Members from the charity being presented a contribution on behalf of the community

Dignitaries and guests included:

  • Toni Lynn Preckwinkle, President Cook County Board, since November 2010, the first woman elected to this position,
  • Mayors of neighboring communities including Bolingbrook, Darien, Naperville, Oak Brook, and Willowbrook, Trustee from Village of Burr Ridge,
  • Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Javed Ahmed Umrani, along with other members of the consulate,
  • Consul Mr P K Misra, Head of Chancery, Political & Community Affairs, Consulate General of India, Chicago,
  • Assistant US Attorney, Terry Kinney,
  • Special Agent-in-Charge Chicago FBI Jeffrey S. Sallet,
  • Lieutenant Governor (former, 2015-2019) Evelyn Sanguinetti,
  • Representatives from the offices of Congressman Sean Casten, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Congressman Mark Ross.