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The American Islamic College (AIC) in Chicago held its second conference on Islam and Muslims in America in association with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sept. 17, 2011. The conference featured Muslim leaders, scholars, and activists from around the nation and the world to discuss issues of relevance to Muslim Americans.
Participants discussed the relationship between American foreign policy and the Muslim world, the implications for democracy as demonstrated by the Arab Spring, Islam in the American context, and the future of Muslims in America and the world community.
The main focus of the conference was Islam and democracy. CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, moderated a panel entitled “Winds of Change in the Muslim World: Implications for Democracy.” Rehab also gave a speech in line with this theme. The purpose was to explore what is now known as the “Arab Spring” and its importance for the Arab countries striving for democracy.
Dina Rehab, AIC’s administrator and former CAIR-Chicago Outreach Coordinator said “As an academic institution, we feel it is our primary responsibility to educate the public on issues that relate to Islam and Muslims in America. The AIC conference provides a unique platform for speakers and guests to participate in these very real discussions.”
The event was a success, and brought together many prominent leaders from the interfaith community. “We heard a lot of very positive feedback this year,” Ms. Rehab recollected. Many attendees drove in from out of state to attend.
Guest speakers included Kareem M. Irfan, Esq. Board of Trustees at AIC, Rashad Hussain, President’s Special Envoy to OIC, Hon. Jan Schakowsky, Congresswoman from Illinois, H. Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of OIC, Azeem Ibrahim from the Insitute for Social Policy and Understanding, John Edwin Mroz, President and CEO of the EastWest Institute, Jeffrey Laurenti of the Century Foundation, Muqteder Khan, Director of the Islamic Studies Program, Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director at CAIR-Chicago, Qamar-ul-Huda of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Richard W. Bulliet of Columbia University, Stephen Grand of the Bookings Institute, Zaher Sahloul, Chairman of CIOGC, Gadeir Abbas, CAIR National Staff Attorney, Imam Mohamed Magid, President of ISNA, Aisha Adawiya, President of KARAMAH, Hayrettin Yucesoy of the Washington University in St. Louis, Ayse Kadayifci of Georgetown University, Salam Al-Marayti, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hannah S. Rosenthal, and Marica Hermansen, Board of Trustees at AIC and Loyola University with Rashad Darwish of RiseUp Radio Show as the MC.
The AIC and OIC plan to continue holding this conference annually.