Methodist church eases post-election fears for Muslim, minority artists

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Source: Chicago Tribune

BY Manya Brachear

Malik Gillani remembers the first day his world turned upside down. It was Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorist attacks cast a cloud of suspicion on his entire Muslim community.

When the Indian-born Muslim woke up the day after the 2016 presidential election, his world was shaken again. Donald Trump had won the White House. The country’s next leader had proposed barring Muslim immigrants from coming to the U.S. and, early in his campaign, had made vague references to the possible registration of those who already live here.

While many Muslims sought solace at their mosques after Trump’s election, Gillani found comfort in the same church that welcomed him nearly 15 years ago.

First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple opened its doors to Gillani and his husband, Jamil Khoury, in 2003 when it agreed to let them stage a reading about Israeli-Palestinian relations in the basement. Named for the historic trade routes that connected cultures from the East and West, the theater company Silk Road Rising has since become a way for playwrights and performers to delve into the myriad issues facing American Muslims and immigrants.

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