Crossing Devon Avenue, walking up to the Muslim Women Resource Center, my first thought was that the organization had somehow convinced the Grocery & Meat Market to let them camp out in a corner of their store, as the two entities share the same green sign.
The truth is even more surprising.
"The store is our social enterprise," said Sima Quraishi, executive director of the MWRC. "We've been running Muslim Women Resource Center for the past 15 years. Two years ago, when the governor cut down the budget, we decided that we should do something to make some money so we don't have to lose our staff. This is what we came up with. Giving back to the community. Our main goal is to sell to the community and also hire community members."
I was visiting because Ramadan — the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time of spiritual renewal — was beginning sometime this weekend. (Don't ask exactly when because it's complicated "We don't know," said a staffer at the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, suggesting I survey a few mosques and gather their opinions.)
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