Illinois has the most Muslims per capita than any other state in the country and a report three years in the making takes a deep dive into the community to help leaders better understand how to serve the state’s fast-growing and diverse Muslim population, the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition said Thursday.

The coalition partnered with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute of Policy and Civic Engagement to put together the Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities report, a project that took three years of collecting survey responses, according to a news release from the coalition.

The coalition and its partners will host an event Thursday at the university to discuss the findings of the report as well as what can be learned from the data about the Muslim community. Elected officials, community leaders and more are set to be part of the discussion, like Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, state Sen. Ram Villivalam, 8th, and state Rep. Theresa Mah, 2nd. To register, click here.

The report shows that Illinois is also home to a Muslim population representative of many races, ethnicities and other demographics, which makes understanding the community here reflective of understanding Muslims in America, the news release said.

“The report describes a vibrant and diverse Muslim community in Illinois — a community that brings tremendous assets to Illinois’ civic, economic, and cultural spheres, yet is often underrepresented and has important and urgent needs,” according to the news release.

Some of the community needs identified in the report are increased access to culturally appropriate mental health services, solutions to a “distressing” level of religious discrimination, and a desire for more affordable halal options.

Additional findings in the report not only show that Illinois Muslims are the most diverse faith community in the state and country, the largest per capita Muslim population is also the youngest faith community in the state and country.

The report also shows that 75% of Muslims in Illinois are registered to vote, 83% donated to organizations or causes associated with their faith community and 12% of Muslim respondents in Illinois identified as self-employed or running their own businesses, creating more than 350,000 jobs, or nearly 6% of all jobs in Illinois.

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