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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) designed to recognize the historical and present-day contributions of Muslim culture in the state of Illinois passed the State Senate on Wednesday.

“This legislation is meant to raise awareness of the contributions made by the Muslim community across the nation and the state of Illinois,” Ellman said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure all Illinoisans feel represented in this state, and that begins by making sure students learn about people like them in school.”

The measure would require all Illinois public schools to cover contributions made by Muslims and Muslim Americans in history classes. Currently, the teaching of history in Illinois public schools must include the roles of African Americans and other ethnic groups. This legislation would emphasize the importance of Muslim contributions in the state of Illinois.

The measure would also honor one of the most famous practicing Muslims in modern American history by creating a new commemorative state holiday, declaring Jan. 17 Muhammad Ali Day in Illinois.

“Muhammad Ali was notorious for his bravado in the ring, but many don’t know about his quiet lifelong philanthropic efforts,” Ellman said. “He truly floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.”

Senate Bill 564 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 46-3 and will now head to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

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