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Communities mark 9/11 with calls for solidarity

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, community interfaith gatherings will remember victims and the spirit of unity with which the nation responded to the attacks.

And one ongoing Jewish-Muslim collaboration founded in the days following the 2001 attacks is rededicating itself to work together “toward a more inclusive, diverse, and just society.”

In Marquette Park, community groups and religious institutions will gather on the steps of St. Rita of Cascia Parish, 6243 S. Fairfield (9:15 a.m., Sunday, September 11) to mark the loss of life including 9/11 victims, first responders and soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, while denouncing attempts to use the tragedy to scapegoat Muslims.

Participating groups include local churches in the Southwest Organizing Project, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Beth Shalom Synagogue, Holy Cross Hospital, and Ephraim Bahar Cultural Center.

“The events of September 11, 2001 only served to strengthen our resolve that diverse communities striving together towards social justice, human rights, and human dignity is the very solution to defying the divisive and destructive forces that endeavored to claim that day,” says Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director of IMAN.

On the West Side, ecumenical prayers will be offered by neighborhood clergy and health screenings will be provided by a group of Muslim medical professionals at a Partners for Peace event (3 p.m. on Sunday), at New Mount Pilgrim MB Church, 4301 W. Washington.  Sponsors include the West Garfield Park Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, the Leaders Network, and Elmhurst College.

The response to 9/11 “showed the resilience of the country, which is what makes us great – our ability to bounce back from that kind of attack on our freedom,” said Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim and the Leaders Network.  He adds that he’s hopeful that with a similar “sense of urgency with the economic crisis, we’ll pull through and the best is yet to come.”

Chicago Is The World informs us that the Fulcrum Point New Music Project will present a commemorative program at the Harris Theater in Milennium Park (3 p.m. on Sunday) featuring songs and prayers from Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, along with contemporary compositions.  (The blog also passes along resources to help journalists improve coverage of Islam.)

Ten years of Jewish-Muslim collaboration

Meanwhile, the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative marks ten years since its creation by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs as a response to increased violence and hate crimes against Muslims following 9/11.

JMBCI continues to hold Jewish-Muslim text studies throughout the year as well as events including the annual Iftar in the Synagogue, which last month brought together 400 Jews and Muslims in an interfaith celebration of Ramadan.

JMCBI also fosters interfatith organizing efforts, recently including the partnering of Jewish, Muslim and Christian youth groups to advocate for equitable school funding in Springfield, and support for anti-foreclosure efforts in Chicago Lawn.

JCUA issued a statement mourning the losses of 9/11 and honoring the courage of first responders. “Unfortunately, the justified fear and anger brought about by the attacks was in many cases misdirected. We witnessed the marginalization and demonizing of Muslim Americans, including hateful speech and violent actions.  As we collectively mourn and remember the victims of 9/11, we must vigilantly ensure that this shared tragedy does not become an opportunity for scapegoating.”

“Empowering each other by mutually respecting our differences is the spirit on which this country was founded,” ,” said JCUA’s Rabbi Asher Lopatin, co-chair of the JMCBI advisory committee. “It is this torch that we must carry forward as we commemorate our darkest times.”

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