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US Muslims Launch ‘Back2School’ Campaign

In 2015 the national non-profit, ICNA Relief ( Islamic Circle of North America;, distributed 20,000 backpacks and supplies to children in 16 states.

This year, with monetary and in-kind donations from Chicago area Muslims, ICNA Relief Chicago’s Back2School Campaign intends to distribute 1000 backpacks and supplies locally, a $40,000 value. They launched the campaign with a donation of 150 back packs to the DuPage County Back to School Fair. This is the second year they have contributed to the fair.

“Do you remember the joy of having brand new school supplies? Many of these children don’t,” said Dr. Saima Azfar, Director, ICNA Relief Chicago. ” The sight of hundreds of parents and children, who line up hours before doors open at the fair, is both heartbreaking and humbling, more so given that DuPage is one of the richest counties in the nation. As Muslims, we are expected to be there for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. Helping children in need get their school year started off on the right foot is us living our faith in action.”

ICNA Relief, whose services include transitional housing for women and children, car donations, refugee assimilation programs, professional counseling and two food pantries serving up to 450 families a month, will also have a booth at the fair.

“Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet is grateful to the Islamic Circle of North America Relief Organization and to all of our donors of the DuPage County Back to School Fair for their generosity,” said Kathleen Langdon, of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet. “We are grateful to all of our partners and collaborators whose help is essential in giving those children we serve the very best start to a new school year!”

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Other recipients of ICNA Relief’s Back2School campaign include public schools in Rogers Park and Bolingbrook; refugees in Wheaton and Aurora; homeless children hosted by Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn; and students who worship at Masjid AlFarooq in Chicago. “Please follow us on Facebook and share our drive for school supplies,” said Dr. Azfar.

This campaign is co-sponsored by Muslim Children of North America (MCNA) and area mosques. Suggested donations: $15/ backpack; $25 for supplies. Checks can be mailed to ICNA Relief, 1793 Bloomingdale Road, Suite 5, Glendale Heights, IL 60139. In the memo add ‘B2S’. Online donations are being accepted at

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up to help distribute backpacks at varied times, dates, venues at