Tom Ricketts, you need to visit our mosque. Soon.
Last summer, myself and Rabbi Ari Margolis went to a Cubs game together. When Anthony Rizzo belted a walk-off game winning home run, we were screaming and hugging like long-lost brothers. What made the moment sweeter was about an hour earlier I wanted to go home after the fifth inning and beat the traffic since the Cubbies were down big. Rabbi Ari said, "Imam, have faith! The Cubbies are going to win this game!"
Sports bring Muslims and Jews and Christians together. The comments made by Joe Ricketts, father of Cubs president and CEO Tom Ricketts, divide us.
Mr. Ricketts, there are Muslims baseball fans, too. And we understand that your father is not associated with the Cubs in an official capacity. But when one of the Ricketts family makes racist comments, you as the president and CEO of the Cubs need to show by your actions that the Cubs do not endorse them and in fact welcome Muslim fans.
Here's what your father said recently in emails revealed by the online news source Splinter: "Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society. As you know, Islam cannot do that, Therefore we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society. Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims."
I have bled Cubbie Blue since the 1990s. I even used to listen faithfully to the pregame and postgame shows with Pat Hughes and Ron Santo before I got married and responsibilities kicked in. As a Muslim-American and as an Imam (which is the Islamic word for our clergy) of our masjid (mosque) in Libertyville, I have already received and accepted your father's apology, since my faith teaches us to forgive and give people second chances.
At the same time, if you want his apology to seem sincere to the thousands of Muslim Cub fans, I suggest you come to Islamic Foundation North for a tour of the masjid and see for yourself if Muslims are naturally your "enemy," as your father stated in the leaked emails.
We invite you and your father Joe to tour the Islamic Foundation North at 1751 O'Plaine Road, Libertyville. Please let me know a day and time that works best for both of you. I will even share a few strategies on how we can get Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Although my entire congregation would welcome both of you with open arms, if you want to make your tour private it can be with just myself, a few clergy friends and a few of our congregation's lay leaders.
Many other Cub fans who are Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other faiths have told me that they cannot watch any Cubs game or wear any Cubs gear until they see you make the situation right with your actions. What a shame that would be for all of us.
Joe and Tom, my brothers in humanity, show us with your actions that you will make the situation right.
See you soon. Peace and blessings,
Azfar Uddin is imam of Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville,