Islamophobia has no place in a city of big shoulders

Opinion: Columns

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By Community of Congregations

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Dear Friends, 

In these turbulent times, it is particularly important for us to lift our collective voice for love and justice. At a time when many of our national leaders seek to divide us by targeting immigrants and other marginalized groups, we must show particular compassion and concern for those among us who are made to feel vulnerable. As people of faith, we strongly support freedom of religion, which is a core value of our American democracy, and we are grateful for the religious and cultural diversity that makes our society better. 

Therefore, it is with great sadness that we learned this week of the Islamophobic emails of Joe Ricketts, a patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs. These emails have been made public. They are completely abhorrent and unacceptable. 

So many of us have enjoyed watching the Cubs play baseball. We have fond memories of cheering for the Cubs, celebrating their victories, and keeping the faith during their times of struggle. The opportunity to enjoy a baseball game can feel like a great equalizer — surely anyone can choose a favorite team and become a fan! And beautiful Wrigley Field, with its ivy-covered brick outfield walls, is one of the iconic images of Chicago. 

But let us not become confused about what really defines Chicago. What defines Chicago is the people — who are culturally, religiously, racially, and ethnically diverse — in all the myriad and endless possibilities that make for a thriving city of rich communities. 

There is no space in this beautiful tapestry called Chicago for hatred or the targeting of any religious group. There is no space for scapegoating, or for the spreading of baseless conspiracy theories, racism or lies. In our beautiful city, we choose to celebrate our diversity. We seek to protect the religious and cultural freedom of all people. 

In this hour of sadness, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We offer them our love, our friendship and our support. And we reject, in the strongest possible terms, the targeting of Muslims or any religious group. 

These are uncertain times for our Muslim friends, and we must affirm, again and again, how grateful we are for their many valuable contributions to our beloved city of Chicago, for their patriotism, and for their friendship.

Peace.

Board of directors 

Community of Congregations 

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