SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rauner is considering a bill on his desk that would make Illinois the first state in the nation to set up an official Muslim-American Advisory Council.
The proposed panel, made up of 21 members appointed by the governor and chamber majority and minority leaders, could consist of representatives from Chicago's radical Nation of Islam led by Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Not only is the proposed council the first in the nation, it's the first such council representing a religious sector in Illinois. No similar council is in place that represents Catholics, Protestants, Jews or Hindus. Muslims are the third largest religious group in Illinois, following Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians.
Governor Pat Quinn was the first to appoint a Muslim-American Advisory Council. This legislation would make the council official, and continue its service whoever is in the Governor's Mansion.
The purpose of the Council is to advise the Governor and the General Assembly on policy issues impacting Muslim Americans and immigrants; to advance the role and civic participation of Muslim Americans in Illinois; to enhance trade and cooperation between Muslim-majority countries and Illinois; and to build relationships with and disseminate information to, in cooperation with State agencies, boards, and commissions, Muslim American and immigrant communities across Illinois.
The Council on American Islamic Relations called for their members to contact state legislators to support SB 574, saying, "Want to ensure that our state government recognizes and partners with the Muslim community in Illinois, the nation and world?"
There was no attention drawn to action on the legislation at Minister Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam website, although the minister's anti-Semite thoughts were expressed about the nation's political climate:
We have to make a distinction between members of the Jewish community who sincerely are trying to follow the laws, statutes and commandments of God in their covenant relationship with Him, but among them are those who say they are Jews and they are not. And this is why the scripture refers to them as the Synagogue of Satan because their work is an evil work. They are doing exactly what Satan is supposed to do—which is to spread evil, not to contain evil to himself but to spread evil to others and make others deviate from the laws, statutes and commandments of God.
The Middle East is now filled with death and destruction and that was the aim of Neo-Conservatives who planned this destruction of seven Muslim nations in five years and they are on schedule and the final nation in their sights to destroy is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The definition of "Muslim" in the legislation did not disqualify a representative from Minister Farrakhan's Nation of Islam from being appointed to the panel. "Muslim" is defined as "an individual who practices the religion of Islam."
SB 574 was considered on the House floor with no substantial discussion, but a bi-partisan group of lawmakers opposed the bill, including Democrats Dan Beiser, John Bradley, Katherine Cloonan, Jerry Costello, Brandon Phelps, Susan Scherer and Andrew Skoog.
There was a substantial number of Democrats and Republicans that did not vote:
The bill began in the Senate, where SB 574 sat as a shell bill until mid-April, when Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) suddenly pulled the bill into motion, amending it and pushing it through committee in a matter of days. The bill was unsubstantially amended in the House, and the Senate approved the House's changes on the last day of session during a flurry of session-end bill passages.
Four GOP senators opposed SB 574: Steve Anderson, Kyle McCarter, Dan McConchie and Chapin Rose. Five GOP senators did not vote:
Governor Rauner has found favor in the Muslim American Community. He was endorsed over Pat Quinn in 2014 by the Urban Muslim Minority Alliance