Several groups will march together against Islamophobia on the night of the GOP debate.
By Tim Moran
EVANSTON, IL – As the Republican primary debate takes place Tuesday night in Las Vegas, anti-hate groups plan to gather at Evanston’s Fountain Square to stand united against Islamophobia and recent comments made by GOP candidates, most notably Donald Trump.
“In our skyline we have Trump Tower, a name that over the past few weeks has become synonymous with Islamophobia and bigotry, yet as pinnacles in the same skyline stand the John Hancock Building and Willis Tower, whose architect, Fazlur Khan, was an American-Muslim of the very kind Donald Trump wants to keep out,” said Renner Larson, communications director at the Council on American Islamic Relations, one of a dozen or so groups planning to be part of the rally.
“We must not only live out our American values by making this country a safe place for Muslims, but we must recognize that this country is a richer place because American-Muslims are citizens of it,” she said.
According to Larson, CAIR-Chicago has received an unprecedented amount of concern from Chicagoland’s Muslim communities expressing fear and reporting harassment, especially from more traditionally dressed Muslims.
Larson will be one of the speakers at the rally, set to kickoff at 5 p.m.
The crowd will also hear from Gabriel Machabanski of Open Communities, Bushra Amiwala, a Niles North High School student and Rev. Michael Nabors of Second Baptist Church.
Tahera Ahmad, chaplain and Director of Interfaith Engagement at Northwestern University who was discriminated against for her faith during a United Airlines flight earlier this year, will offer a blessing.
The American Friends Service Committee, Beth Emet, the Free Synagogue, Chicago Area Peace Action, Council on American Islamic Relations – Chicago, Evanston Neighbors for Peace, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Lake Street Church of Evanston, Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago, Northshore Coalition for Peace, Justice and the Environment, Open Communities, Second Baptist Church of Evanston and YWCA Evanston/North Shore are listed as co-sponsors of the rally.
“We are proud to gather together.,” said Gail Schechter executive director of Open Communities. “We are the people who are being vigilant – in good times and bad – to make sure that our human rights and civil rights are enforced not just for some Americans but for all people.”