NAPERVILLE: The Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN), one of the largest Muslim organizations in the Greater Chicago area with three facilities serves over 3500 families in Naperville, Aurora, and neighboring suburbs. ICN’s Political Engagement & Outreach Committee hosted a Meet Your Candidates event on February 22nd with the purpose of raising awareness about the candidates running for office in the Primary Elections on March 17th. The event brought together over 350 active members of the ICN Muslim Community and 30 candidates. ICN has been hosting these events during the past 4 electoral cycles and continues to see the growth in civic participation by the members of the Muslim community.
Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Sean Casten, State Attorney Robert Berlin, Judge James F McCluskey, Judge Rick Felice, State Representative Karina Villa, Elected Officials, and around 20 Democrat and Republican candidates running for different Public Offices graced the event. The ICN community that attended the event included a diverse group of congregants from South Asian, Middle Eastern and African American backgrounds along with representation from Muslims from other parts of the world.
The event was kicked off by representatives of ICN who welcomed the candidates providing a background of the ICN community as well as highlighting specific issues that were of special concern to the community members.
Each candidate spoke for about three (3) minutes to explain their position on various issues and the specific concerns that were expressed by the community were addressed in a vibrant Q & A session that followed the speeches.
“The ICN Community is diverse in terms of its ethnic composition, national origin, educational background, and professional profile. Its support is crucial for the success of candidates to provide leadership for realizing the American Dream” seemed to be the unanimous reflection of most candidates.
The event began with a delicious Mediterranean dinner during which members of the ICN community had the opportunity to interact with the various candidates and thanked them for their participation in the event. They especially appreciated the face-to-face interface – a unique platform that gave them the ability to understand each candidate’s manifesto with reference to their specific interests.
ICN’s PEO Committee offers various resources to the community to educate them about our nation’s government and politics. The PEO website (www.islamiccenterofnaperville.org/getinvolved) has informational links to research candidates, look up if they are registered to vote, as well as electronically register to vote, amongst many other resources. The next Meet Your Candidates event will be scheduled in late fall for the General Elections in November 2020.
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