Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid Re-Elected as Parliament Board Chair; Rabbi Michael Balinsky and Lewis Cardinal Elected Vice-Chairs

January 23, 2014

With a new year comes a new Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. 2014 will be guided by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid who has been re-elected to serve as Chair, and will work alongside Vice-Chair Rabbi Michael Balinsky of Chicago, and the first Vice-Chair from Indigenous Communities, Lewis Cardinal of Canada.
Re-elected Board Chair, Abdul Malik Mujahid, a leading imam in Chicago’s Muslim community, begins the year feeling honored by the Parliament, which he says is “moving from strength to strength.”
With goals to continue building the organization, Imam Mujahid also reflects, “as the interfaith movement has doubled in the last ten years, it is time that the interfaith organizations build their capacity to serve the interfaith movement better for a greater world of peaceful coexistence with all the God’s creation. ”
With Rabbi Michael Balinsky and communications executive Lewis Cardinal of Canada serving as Vice-Chairs, the Parliament board will be nourished by a talented interfaith collaboration (see their profiles below). Imam Mujahid is pleased to be working closely with leaders in the Jewish and Indigenous communities, saying:
As a head rabbi in Chicago, Michael brings with him a whole lot of wisdom, along with his connections with the Jewish Federation and passion for serving young people. We are fortunate to have him as our vice-chair of the board. He will also lead our development standing committee.  Lewis Cardinal uses few words to speak louder for indigenous communities. Interfaith needs to learn to communicate better… and he is the man, as president of the largest communication network in Canada for the voiceless indigenous people. He will also be leading the Parliament’s Task Force on indigenous people. “
The Executive Committee elected for 2014 is comprised of Parliament trustees from a wide range of professions and faith traditions, from Sikhism to Jainism, Baptist Christianity and Wicca, to Judaism and Islam.
Kuldeep Singh began a second trustee term this year and joins the Executive Committee as the Secretary of the Board, as well as by chairing the Human Resources committee of the board.  Kirit Daftary was elected Treasurer of the Board  and will Chair the Finance Committee.  Those also elected committee chairs are Phyllis Curott for Governance, Rabbi Michael Balinsky for Development, Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi for Communications, and Dr. Rob Sellers for Nominating.

Featured image: Board Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is an award-winning author and a producer with a focus on contemporary social issues, public policy and Islam-West relations. Twice selected as one the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2011 and 2012, Imam Mujahid currently chairs Burma Task Force USA, a coalition of 19 major American organizations to stop the genocide in Burma. As the national coordinator of the Bosnia Task Force, USA, he successfully led efforts to declare rape as a war crime in collaboration with the National Organization of Women (NOW). Imam Mujahid, based in Chicago, is the founder of Sound Vision which also runs the nation’s only daily Radio Islam. He has authored more than 400 articles on Islamic living and public policy, and is a blogger on the Huffington Post. His book on political sociology was the winner of an Outstanding Academic Book of the Year Award by the American Library Association in 1990. He is a graduate of Darul Uloom Shah Waliullah in Pakistan, and in political science from the University of Chicago.
For more information on the plans of the Parliament board, please see  Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid Chairs’ Report for year-end 2013 here.

Rabbi Michael Balinsky, Vice-Chair is the Executive Vice-President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, an organization representing two hundred rabbis of all denominations.  He is a member of the Jewish-Catholic Scholars Dialogue in Chicago, and serves on the executive committee of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. Rabbi Balinsky was a Hillel director for twenty-two years, over nineteen of those as the director of the Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel Center at Northwestern University, after two and a half years as the Associate Director of Hillel at the University of Michigan.

Lewis Cardinal, Vice-Chair is the first vice-chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions from the indigenous communities. He is Founder and Co-Chair of the Indigenous Peoples’ Art and Culture Coalition, Board member of Little Warriors, former Chair of Edmonton Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee, Bissell Centre Board of Governors, Chair and Founder of Global Indigenous Dialogue, Executive Vice-President of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network, and recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. Lewis is the owner of Cardinal Strategic Communications, specializing in education, governance, and communications.

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The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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