Bridgview, IL, Nov. 15—Khalil Demir, Executive Director of Zakat Foundation, received the locally prestigious South West Interfaith Team “Faith in Humanity Award” at the organization’s annual dinner event, Sunday, November 12 where he was nominate for the 2017 SWIFT Award.
“I think with this was a spectacular selection,” says Rob McManamy, SWIFT board member from St. Johns Episcopal Church of Flossmoor. “Especially at this time when some folks are turning away from the Golden Rule and each other, it was a wonderful reminder of the good in humanity and all of us. I know some were particularly inspired after listening to Khalil and about his story to go out and do more good works.”
The South West Inter Faith Team, or SWIFT, honors through its Faith in Humanity Award someone in the communities of greater Chicago who demonstrates either one of two ideals: Building bridges between faith groups and promoting tolerance and understanding of the various faiths; or performing an extraordinary act, such as saving a life or helping a large number of people anywhere in the world.
“The Chicago community is blessed in our midst to have such a person who is compassionate, selfless, and a man of peace—a humanitarian in every sense—and brave too!” says Khalid Mozaffar, one of two co-founders of SWIFT in 2004.
“Khalil Demir is not one who just sits in his office giving directions to others on what to do. But he is there on the frontlines in the most dangerous areas of disasters and war around the country and around the world. He truly fits both the categories of Faith in Humanity Award recipients,” says Mozaffar.
SWIFT officials use SWIFT Award to highlight the lifework of a community individual who they determine our society owes a debt of gratitude.
“I accept this award, not because there are none worthier. There are many,” said Demir in his remarks at the SWIFT Award dinner honoring him. “I receive it on behalf of my colleagues near and far striving to heal this wailing world, bringing help to Puerto Rico, to Texas, to Bangladesh and countless communities in between.
“All of us, of different faiths, here and around the world, who share in a vision of godly work—godly people trying to do godly work—in a crying world, what we seek are healing opportunities.”
“But only when we work together can we bring healing to our ailing communities, with the will and help of God. The violence in Las Vegas, in New York, in Sutherland Springs, Texas—which has very nearly devastated our nation—and also the millions upon millions of refugees, war-ravaged, climate-suffering and starving in our world—they will only find healing when the godly act together.”
Noted SWIFT Jewish Co-Chairperson Ernie Ratowitz: “We felt we should honor not just the organization that has done so much good for so many locally, nationally, and internationally, but the man himself who directs that organization in doing that good and who, in fact, founded the organization for that reason.”
Demir is SWIFT’s 11th annual Faith in Humanity Award recipient. The event had one of its largest ever turnouts to see Demir awarded, with 120 people. The apolitical interfaith group dedicates itself to bringing people of the Abrahamic faiths together from all over Chicago and nearby suburbs, though centered on the Southwest region.
Member houses of worship and worshippers support local educational initiatives, food programs, and common community projects that promote mutual respect and understanding among area religious communities.