Interfaith Eid Celebrated in Naperville and Suburbs, Illinois

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From left, Ashfaq Syed, Steve Chirico, Mayor of Naperville, Julie Chirico, Sudhakar Dalela, Consul General of India, Chicago, Namrata Dalela, Ayeisha Bakhateeb pose for a photo at the interfaith celebration of Eid ul Adha recently at Naperville, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Ashfaq Syed)

The residents of Naperville and the neighboring suburbs belonging to various faith traditions, came together to celebrate Eid ul Adha at Pita Inn, Naperville, recently.

The event was attended by a large number of elected representatives and staff at the city, state, and national Levels. Ashfaq Syed and Ayesha Osman hosted the event where Mayor of Naperville Steve Chirico and his wife Julie drew attention dressed in Indian traditional clothes, a press release from organizers, said.

Speaking on the occasion, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, said America is unique and exceptional in its equal respect for all religions. Understanding different religions and respecting them has been the hallmark of the American culture, he added.

India’s Consul General in Chicago Sudhakar Dalela, said peace, compassion, and value of brotherhood are the universal values celebrated by all religions across the globe. Practicing these values is the need of the hour for giving a big boost to mutual co- existence, especially in the present times, which are characterized by increasing distances among people professing different faiths, Dalela said.

“My home town is Lucknow in India, which is known for “Ganga Jamuna Tahzeeb’, that is, a fusion of elements of different religions”, he is quoted saying in the press release.

Mayor Chirico noted that Naperville is well-known for exceptionally good relations among people belonging to different religions, regions, and nations. “This unique characteristic has mainly contributed for the emergence of Naperville as the best place to live and to do business in the entire US Midwest,” Chirico said.

Mayor of Oak Brook Gopal Lalmalani, said all human beings belong to one race and, therefore, love is the single language, which even blind can speak and deaf can hear. Eid ul Adha, he noted, celebrates the value of sacrifice.

Shoaib Khadri, president of the Islamic Center of Naperville, explained the connection and similarities across different Abrahamic faiths – Jews, Christians, and Muslims. He provided insight into the Haj, highlighting a lesson from Malcom X’s memoirs that reflects on the commonness of humankind without any race barriers. He underlined the importance of building better understanding among people belonging to different backgrounds and thereby contributing to the continuous development of the U.S. on all fronts.

Krishna Bansal, chairman, Indian Community Outreach in Naperville, noted contended that India believes in the traditional values of giving utmost respect to the religions of others. “The Indian Americans, by practicing this great value, have been enriching the social fabric of the U.S.,” he added.

Other past and current officials who attended the interfaith Eid celebration included Evelyn Sanguinetti, former lieutenant governor if Illinois; State Senators Laura Ellman, and Cristina Castro; State Representative Anee Stava-Murray; Robert Berlin, DuPage County State’s Attorney;, Chief of Police, Village of Lisle David Anderson; Du Page county board members Sheila Rutledge and Sadia Covert; Judge Linda Davenport and Joe Davenport, Daniel Hebread, president, Forest Preserves, District Of DuPage county; Dr Mimi Cowan, Will County board Member. Judge McCluskey; Sophia Luo, Sister City commissioner, Naperville, Andres Susarret, and Village Trustee, Oak Brook Asif Yusuf.

Others who attended included Shekhar Mishra, Pravasi Bhartiya Samman award, Tanuja Mishra, Raees Yawer, Board Commissioner, Krishna Bansal and Meghna Bansal, Nariman Safavi, NPR & WBEZ Chicago, Shoaib Khadri, Mir Khan.

Many community leaders spoke on the occasion and underlined the need for more such occasions for enabling people belonging to different backgrounds, to interact and understand other faiths Ashfaq Syed emphasized the beauty of the United States in general and Naperville in particular which is grounded in principles of diversity and acceptance of fellow Americans. He also highlighted the significance of understanding the Islamic Holiday of Eid ul Adha as well as many other faiths and festivals celebrated in this country, reflecting an evolving America. Amaan Syed, student of Scullen Middle School thanked all the guest who attended the Eid celebration.

The event was anchored by Juveria Syeda, a junior at Neuqua VHS.

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