SWIFT Interfaith Picnic July28, 2019

Above, Muslim co-chairman Mohammed Nofal and SWIFT member Suleiman Ramadan manned the grill for the interfaith picnic at Peace Memorial UCC in Palos Park. Below, Jewish co-chair Ernie Ratowitz was quite pleased with the turnout.

(Photos by Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown)

SWIFT in the News



Interfaith Billboard Returns to Promote Hope!

Christians, Jews, Muslims say even more will see new sign on I-80-294 this month! !!

(TINLEY PARK IL – Aug. 6, 2019) — “Location. Location. Location.”

That is the source of renewed optimism this month, as the SouthWest

InterFaith Team (SWIFT) has placed a new public service message of

“peace and understanding” on Interstate 80-294 in East Hazel Crest. But

this time, the SWIFT sign is facing East, adjacent to the Westbound

lanes, and it is slated to be up through Labor Day Weekend.



Christians & Jews & Muslims

ALL Working for Peace and Understanding


As a result, OUTFRONT Media, which owns the billboard, estimates

that, over the next 30 days, more than 2.3 million vehicles will see the

nonprofit group’s encouraging message of unity. That translates into a

60% increase over the 1.4 million vehicles that OUTFRONT estimates

had seen the first SWIFT billboard last October.

 “In these challenging times, we felt this was a good way to spread the

healthy message of our group to a wider audience,” says Ernie

Ratowitz, SWIFT’s Jewish co-chair, and a member of the Shir Tikvah

(Song of Hope) congregation in Homewood. “We are all friends here at

SWIFT and we all get along. So we just wanted to remind the general

public that there is much more that unites us than separates us.”

Now in its 15th year, SWIFT is a joyful, politics-free collaboration of

area churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago Southland.

Started informally in 2003, it became an official entity in 2004. The

organization now boasts 19 member groups, including four Muslim

prayer centers, a combined Jewish congregation and more than a dozen

Christian entities of varying denominations, i.e. Catholic, Methodist,

Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc.

Meeting monthly, the groups’ members work together each year on two

public forums on compelling interfaith topics, and multiple community

service projects. Each fall, they also honor an inspiring area group or

faith leader with SWIFT’s Faith in Humanity Award. (The next SWIFT

Forum, “Love Thy Neighbor?” is set for Sept. 22. See SWIFTinterfaith.org for

more details.)

 “SWIFT stresses the commonality of the three faiths,” explains attorney

Mohammed Nofal, the group’s Muslim co-chair and a member of the

Prayer Center of Orland Park. “While we highlight our similarities, we

also celebrate our differences. God made us of different faiths, colors

and religions — so that we may learn and understand one another.”

Adds Christian co-chair Sr. Marilyn Renninger of the Franciscan

Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Frankfort: “This billboard will help spread

the good that our group is doing in this area. SWIFT has been and is a

gift for many people. At our forums, dinners, and annual awards

ceremonies, we have people of different faiths working together on

volunteer projects, and that has opened hearts and minds to love,

understanding and respect.”

And it has rekindled hope that, together, we can ALL rise above hate.

 “SWIFT remains relevant, active and determined, acting like a beacon of

hope in this otherwise chaotic and divided world,” says co-founder

Khalid Mozaffar, an engineer and former SWIFT co-chair. “This group

offers a vibrant testament to the fact that People of Faith can be a

positive, unifying, functional force in modern-day society. And that

counters the false argument that Religion and its followers sew only

hatred and division in our troubled world.”

Through its billboards, he adds, SWIFT now has taken its message of

hope and harmony to a much broader audience.


For more about SWIFT and to view videos of prior events, please visit

the SWIFT Interfaith Facebook page, or go to SWIFTinterfaith.org.

For more on the billboard, contact SWIFT member Rob McManamy at



Read Jerry Shnay’s article refering to SWIFT’S billboard in the Daily Southtown:


Welcome to the SouthWest Interfaith Team!

Welcome to the SouthWest InterFaith Team (SWIFT)! Our mission is to promote dialogue among the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious communities and to work together on common community projects.

The hope is that the efforts of SWIFT will promote mutual respect and build understanding among these religious communities.

Membership of SWIFT is made up of Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques. SWIFT is made up of groups centered around but not restricted to the South-West suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

It is not the goal of SWIFT to convert any group to the beliefs of another. Also, SWIFT does not take stands on political issues.

SWIFT provides a forum for the Christian, Muslim and Jewish people in the area to educate, interact with and learn from each other. May God bless this endeavor and give it much success.

If your church, mosque or synagogue believes in interfaith dialogue, consider joining SWIFT!

Upcoming Events

Speakers Forum-Sunday, September 22

Speakers Forum-Sunday, September 22

Go to EVENTS MENUE for more information

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