Chicago Muslims Gather to Stop "Islamophobia"

Rosemont conference teaches how to counter hateful Muslim stereotypes

By Sandra Torres
|  Monday, Oct 25, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 AM CDT
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Photos: America Remembers 9/11

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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - JULY 10: Pakistani men pray at Friday prayers in the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) on July 10, 2009 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistani Muslims attended their Friday prayers under high security, on the eve of the second anniversary of the Red Mosque siege. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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In an effort to eliminate hateful Muslims stereotypes, some Chicago-area residents held a series of workshops this past weekend.

About 250 people attended the conference aimed at culling "Islamophobia," which was held in Rosemont, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The speakers, most of whom were Muslims, encouraged people to talk to their neighbors and public officials about who Muslims are, rather than who they are not.

The conference was motivated by the pressures Muslims face even ten years after the 9/11 attacks, but also by a series of local and national events that portrayed Muslims in a negative way, organizers said to the Chicago Tribune.

The most recent, a video from an American Al-Qaeda spokesperson named Adam Gadahn, encouraged Muslims living in the United States and Europe to carry out attacks.

20-year-old Aatisa Sadiq from Morton Grove helped coordinate some of the sessions for the younger crowds at the conference. "My intention is to help kids not to be afraid of what other people may be saying about us because our identity as Muslims is really important," said Sadiq to the Chicago Tribune. "We are not terrorists."

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