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Interfaith Center For Racial Justice To Document Muslims Challenges In Macomb County (May 22, 2015)

The Interfaith Center for Racial Justice will study Muslims and their increasing numbers in Macomb County, thanks to a grant received from the Michigan Humanities Council.
The center, which promotes tolerance and diversity amid the ever-changing demographics of the county, received a ,000 Heritage Grant, which will be used to “document the history of a growing, but under-reported Muslim community that has been living, working and going to school in Macomb County.”
“The Heritage grant award to document and present the history of Muslims in Macomb County enhances our efforts to increase understanding of diverse cultures and faith traditions while also trying to reduce fear, ignorance, and discrimination of Muslims,” said the Rev. Michail Curro, executive director of the Interfaith Center.
“Recording their story and sharing their contributions will, hopefully, expand appreciation and acceptance of Muslims here as we strive for unity in creating a welcoming and inclusive community that supports and enables the contributions and gifts of everyone.”
The initial phase of the project, Curro said, will be to gather stories of individual members of the Muslim community about their experiences as residents of Macomb County.
In conducting its project, the Interfaith Center will work with the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services as well as the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA).
IONA’s president and imam, Steve Elturk, is a member of the Interfaith Center’s board of directors.
IONA encountered resistance in 2006 when the organization announced its plan to renovate a strip mall in Warren to open the city’s first mosque.
Despite the opposition, and with the support of the Warren City Council, IONA eventually did open the facility.
“This project will expand our continuing efforts to strengthen community and build bridges of understanding among people of diverse cultures and faith traditions in Macomb County,” Curro said.