Billboard along Interstate 294 — near O’Hare — aims to raise awareness for Ramadan

“There are many misconceptions people may have about Islam, about fasting, about Ramadan, about Muslims,” said a leader of GainPeace, which helped launch the billboard that provides a phone number and website to visit to learn about Islam.

SHARE Billboard along Interstate 294 — near O’Hare — aims to raise awareness for Ramadan
A new billboard near O’Hare Airport is part of a $7000 campaign launched this month by GainPeace, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America to help people learn more about Islam.

A new billboard near O’Hare Airport is part of a $7000 campaign launched this month by GainPeace, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America to help people learn more about Islam.

Provided

“Happy Ramadan — Pleasing the Creator and Helping Humanity,” a new billboard on Interstate 294 southbound, near O’Hare International Airport, reads.

It’s part of a $7,000 campaign launched this month by GainPeace, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America.

The organizations hope to raise awareness about Ramadan and the importance of fasting, said Sabeel Ahmed, executive director of GainPeace. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise until sundown. The first day of fasting this year was April 2, and the last day will be approximately May 1, depending on the sighting of the moon for many mosques. It’s an important obligation and one of the pillars of Islam, Ahmed said.

“There are many misconceptions people may have about Islam, about fasting, about Ramadan, about Muslims,” Ahmed said, and the groups hope to help do away with some of those misconceptions.

The billboard, he said, provides a phone number and a website to visit to learn about Islam.

Last year, a similar billboard received positive feedback, with 500,000 people exposed to it while driving, Ahmed said.

The groups will also mail out 50,000 postcards to homes outside Chicago that may have less access to mosques, Ahmed said. They will have information about Ramadan, with the same telephone number and website listed.

“By educating themselves, they can realize, whether it be from the Jewish faith, Christian faith, any faith, they can realize the commonalities that we have,” Ahmed said. “And building on the commonalities, we all want to work together to make better societies.”

After all, Ahmed said another key goal of this month’s campaign is to illustrate the similarities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

It’s a unique year to do so, Aamer Abdul-Jaleel, member of the GainPeace marketing team said.

“Every 33 years, Ramadan, Passover and Easter are observed in parallel – this year happens to be that year,” Abdul-Jaleel said. “It was also Vaisakhi for the Indian Sikh community.”

The commonalities are many, Ahmed said. According to the Old Testament, Ahmed said, Moses also fasted — for 40 days. The New Testament writes that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.

And, the billboard will also serve a third purpose. Through fasting, Ahmed said Muslims are able to better put themselves in the shoes of those less fortunate, and to reach out and help their communities. This is a way to do that, he said.

Abdullah Mitchell, executive director for the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, said he hopes their efforts will also help show how Islam integrates into the greater Chicago community.

“[We] are everyday people working in all facets of American society — doctors, lawyers, cab drivers, cooks, chefs,” Mitchell said. “And there is a lot of negative publicity that’s directed to Muslims, and this is concerted effort for all of us, all these organizations, to raise awareness about Islam and its true place here in American society.”

The Latest
Johnson’s climate-fighting initiative, the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance, is opposed by a majority of alderpersons.
If enacted, a rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could provide clarity to a fast-growing industry known as Earned Wage Access that’s been compared to payday loans.
The star of two long-running sitcoms bearing his name, he grew up in Austin, attended St. Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University Chicago and was an accountant before becoming an overnight comedy success.
Five lawsuits filed allege state police negligently approved Robert E. Crimo III’s gun ownership application in 2019 despite Highland Park police issuing a “clear and present danger” alert against him months earlier.
The Bears are ready to win. When their veterans report to Halas Hall for training camp Friday, they’ll carry that responsibility with them.