Citizenship Initiative Targets Muslim Immigrant Community During Ramadan

October 13, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,5579806.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

On October 13, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "As Muslim immigrants throughout the state gather to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, a network of faith-based and social-service groups hopes they will consider a pressing secular issue: citizenship. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights plans to address worshipers during services, distributing information and encouraging them to become citizens. Organizers say that speaking out during such an important time in the Muslim calendar will prevent those who need help from slipping through the cracks... There are about 1.6 million immigrants in Illinois, said Diego Bonesatti, field director of the New Americans Initiative, which is overseen by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Several hundred thousand are Muslim immigrants or their children, he said. Bolstered by $3 million in state funds, the coalition, formed in February, wants to connect with the nearly 350,000 immigrants who are eligible for residency and help them navigate the system... Citizenship is crucial, coalition officials say, in becoming part of the United States' social fabric."