CHICAGO – August 30, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today named members to serve on the Muslim American Advisory Council, which will help ensure Muslim American participation in state government. Governor Quinn announced the new council during “Eid,” the close of the holy month of Ramadan.
“Illinois is a diverse state, which is one of our greatest strengths,” Governor Quinn said. “There are more than 400,000 Muslims and 300 mosques within our borders, representing various racial and ethnic sects of Islam. I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity for input in how we address issues such as education, public safety and jobs, because the strategies may need to differ based on the history, culture and needs of different communities.”
The Muslim American Advisory Council will advise the Governor on ways to advance the role and civic participation of Muslim Americans in Illinois. Additionally, the council will recommend strategies to better integrate Muslims in Illinois socially, educationally, culturally and economically. The council will facilitate relationship-building in the Muslim community to achieve goals related to International Commerce in Muslim countries/communities, and identify ways to more effectively disseminate information and outreach to Muslim Americans regarding state programs and services.
The council will advise the Governor on appropriate policy developments, official directives, and other issues of significance impacting Illinois’ Muslims. It will bring important faith-based issues based on factual findings to the Governor’s attention and make recommendations to address those issues. It will also strengthen communication between the state and Muslim leadership and the general community.
Ramadan is observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month of the year in the Islamic faith. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast each day from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan ends with the Muslim festival known as “Eid Al-Fitr”, which means “the festival of breaking the fast”.
More than 1 billion Muslims throughout the world and approximately 400,000 people in Illinois observe Ramadan, which is a time for spiritual purification brought about through fasting, self-sacrifice, reflection and prayer.
Governor Quinn appointed the following individuals to serve on the Muslim American Advisory Council:
- Council Co-Chair Samreen Khan, senior policy advisor and liaison to Asians and Muslims for the Office of Governor Pat Quinn
- Council Co-Chair Kareem M. Irfan, Esq., president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
- Safaa Zarzour, security general of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
- Dr. Irfan Ahmad, associate director at the University of Illinois Center for Nano Scale Science and Technology
- S. Jafer Husnain, partner, Lifeline Assets
- Maryam Moustafi, member of the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield
- Dr. Inamul Haq, adjunct professor at Elmhurst College
- Rami Nashashibi, executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)
- Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC)
- Ahmed Rehab, executive director of Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Murad Moosa Bhaidani, president, His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the Midwestern United States
- Clyde Elameen, retired president of Olive Harvey College
- Tariq I El-Amin, executive director of Bridging the Gap
- Dr. Bambade Shakoor Abdullah, executive director of the Leadership Development Institute, and principal of Cmecca School
- Anas Usman, director of sales strategy and Operations, Americas at Google
- Maaria Mozaffar, Esq., principle attorney at the Law Offices of Maaria Mozaffar
- Eboo Patel, executive director of Inter-Faith Youth Core (IFYC)
- Imad Rahman, chief financial officer of Avicenna Community Health Center, and board of directors for Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center (CIMIC)
- Nia Odeoti-Hasan, board member for the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield
- Jeff (Dzafer) Kulenovic, senior vice president of CenTrust Bank
- Mumtaz Champsi, founder of Enviro Capital
- Tariq Malhance, chief financial officer of the Cook County Board
- Laila Muhammed, president of the Alshamseyya Social Service Organization, and daughter of the late WD Muhammed
- Salim Al Nurridin, chief executive officer for the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois
- Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, associate professor of fine arts at Southern Illinois University
- Wasley (AbdurRazzaq) Lebron, Muslim Association of Greater Rockford (MAGR)
For more information about the Muslim American Advisory Council, please visit Appointments.Illinois.gov.