The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

One Nation, One Chicago Strives for Interfaith Understanding 8 August , 2011

Utsav Ghandi didn’t know that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who devours news cycles like a landlocked tiger shark, recently created an Office of New Americans. The office has elicited scant interest in the local press, but the advice of Mr. Ghandi, a chemical engineering student at Illinois Institute of Technology, who arrived a year ago from Mumbai, is succinct.

“Focus on those 12 to, say, 19 years old, the age when they may be most confused about a new world of America,” he said.

Mr. Ghandi, 19, is worth hearing out because of his status as a new immigrant and his involvement in a project called One Chicago, One Nation. Its aim is to improve understanding among the metro area’s various faiths and cultures, especially its estimated 400,000 Muslims. By some counts, that is the largest Muslim concentration in the nation.

One Chicago, One Nation is the product of a post-Sept. 11 effort called One Nation and is largely financed by $200,000 from George F. Russell Jr. of Tacoma, Wash., creator of the Russell 2000 stock index. His aim was to create positive images of a much-caricatured and maligned Muslim population in the United States.

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