Illinois has the most Muslims per capita of any state in the country, and a report written three years ago dives deep into the community to help leaders better understand how to serve the country’s rapidly growing and diverse Muslim population. State, the Muslim of Illinois. Civic Coalition said Thursday.
The coalition partnered with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the Institute of Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago to develop the report Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities, a project that took three years to collect survey responses, according to a coalition press release.
The coalition and its partners will host an event Thursday at the university to discuss the report’s findings as well as what can be learned from the data on the Muslim community. Elected officials, community leaders and more are expected to join the discussion, such as Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, State Senator Ram Villivalam, 8th, and State Representative Theresa Mah, 2nd . To register click here.
The report shows that Illinois is also home to a Muslim population that is representative of many races, ethnicities and other demographics, making the understanding of the community here mirror the understanding of Muslims in America, according to the press release.
“The report describes a vibrant and diverse Muslim community in Illinois – a community that brings tremendous benefits to the civic, economic and cultural spheres of Illinois, but is often underrepresented and has significant and urgent needs” , according to the press release.
Some of the community needs identified in the report are increased access to culturally appropriate mental health services, solutions to a “distressing” level of religious discrimination, and a desire for more affordable halal options.
Additional findings in the report not only show that Muslims in Illinois are the most diverse religious community in the state and nation, the largest Muslim population per capita is also the youngest religious community in the state and from the country.
The report also shows that 75% of Illinois Muslims are registered to vote, 83% have donated to organizations or causes associated with their faith community, and 12% of Illinois Muslim respondents identified as self-employed or ran their own business, creating more than 350,000 jobs, or nearly 6% of all jobs in Illinois.