Suburban Muslims, Christians rally in Wheaton for Palestinians

Muslims, Christians gather in Wheaton

Suburban religious leaders gathered Sunday at the Islamic Center of Wheaton to express support for the Palestinian people.

They included a mix of Muslims and Christians.

Among those in the audience was Mustaque Ali of Glendale Heights, who is from Bangladesh but said his heart is "right in the center of Jerusalem."

Omer Haqqani of Bartlett said he is not Palestinian, but "we have a connection to Palestine from a religious perspective, as being one of the three most holiest places in Islam."

Also on hand were members of the Amos Project, the social justice ministry from the First Church of Lombard UCC.

The group included Jeri Shaw of Villa Park, who said, "We stand for peace wherever it can happen. Peace is not happening in Gaza or the West Bank."

However, she said believes peace is a possibility amid a cease-fire between Israeli forces and members of the Hamas militant group. Fighting there has killed at least 248 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel.

"I wouldn't be standing if I didn't think it was a possibility. As long as we're alive, there is a possibility," she said.

Abraham Antar, president of the Islamic Center of Wheaton, called this moment "the turning point" for Palestinians.

"You can feel it. I can feel it. A change is coming," he said.

Based on what he has seen from recent demonstrations, he said he sees a groundswell of support among young people.

"That means the Palestinian cause right now is in the hands of our young generation," he said.

Other speakers included the Rev. George D. Smith of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn and the Rev. Joe Yucha, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church of Glen Ellyn.

  Aisha Uddin, Zeeshan Uddin, Jamaal Uddin and Javid Uddin, from Palatine, gather Sunday at a rally in Wheaton supporting the Palestinian people.Islamic Center of Wheaton, the rally featured Muslim and Christian speakers calling for peace. Steve Zalusky/
Ibrahim Dardasawi
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