The American Islamic College re-opened its doors on September 28th with The Grand Opening of the AIC Dormitory and Auditorium which was inaugurated with the ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Secretary General of the OIC, H.E. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. After touring the refurbished AIC facilities, guests met in the school’s gymnasium, where the Keynote address and Reception were held. Dr. Ali Yurtsever gave a warm welcome and introduced the honorable Dr. Ihsanoglu who gave the Keynote address. The guests also heard from other prominent community learders from Chicago, such as Mr. Ahmed Rehab and Mr. Safaa Zarzour. They expressed full support and encouragement for AIC and its vision to become an accredited college.
This was a prelude to the stimulating Conference held at the American Islamic College Auditorium on September 29th, entitled “Islam and Muslims in America.” It was a significant and meaningful event for the AIC and for the Chicago community due to its multi-faceted contributions. It provided community leaders, students, academicians, politicians, and interfaith peace workers an insightful presentation on a range of topics relating to Islam in the American context, such as, “American Foreign Policy and the Muslim World,” where we heard from Dr. Peter Mandaville, Professor of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and “Imagining Our Future,” a panel that reflected upon the African American Muslim experience, presented by such distinguished guests as Dr. Sherman Abdul Hakim Jackson, Dr. Abdulalim Shabaaz, and Dr. Aminah McCloud. The Conference held at AIC has also given the Chicago community an inspiring message of hope. It provided an arena for interreligious engagement, sharing of knowledge, and dialogue. As such, this educational institution will not only educate its Muslim students, but also combat religious and ethnic discrimination.
The night ended with beautiful Nasheeds, or Islamic vocal music, by the singer-songwriter TIME magazine calls “Islam’s Biggest Rockstar,” Sami Yusuf. Mr. Yusuf agreed to meet with some of the fans after the show for some autographs, bringing smiles to many and showing his support for the college.
The AIC was humbled and honored to work with such notable speakers as, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), H.E. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu; Ambassador of the OIC to the United Nations, Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen; Special Envoy of the White House to the OIC, Ambassador Rashad Hussain; First Special Envoy of the White House to the OIC, Ambassador Sada Cumber; Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Safaa Zarzour; Senior Analyst at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Magali Rheault; Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies at University of Michigan, Dr. Sherman Abdul Hakim Jackson, Professor of Mathematics at Grambling State University, Dr. Abdulalim Shabaaz; Director of Islamic World Studies at DePaul University, Dr. Aminah McCloud; Chairman of Social Sciences at East-West University, Dr. Farid I. Muhammad; Director of Islamic World Studies at Loyola University, Dr. Marcia Hermansen; Professor of Social Sciences at Malcolm X College Chicago, Dr. Misbahudden Ahmed-Rufai; President of World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, Dr. Tariq Cheema; Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, Mr. Kareem Irfan; Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, Mr. Ahmed Rehab; Professor of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, Peter Mandaville; and President of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid . The AIC is also pleased to host prominent leaders from within the Chicago area and would like to thank those who traveled far to be present at the Grand Opening and the Conference. The AIC is truly grateful to those who came to show their support. The AIC would like to extend a special thank you to those who made donations to the college. Thank you to everyone! With all your support, the American Islamic College, God Willing, will become a reality.