The Chicago Activist | | CAIR-Chicago

CAIR-CHICAGO NEWSLETTER







Time.com: The Model School, Islamic Style
By Marguerite Michaels
6/11/2005



Time Magazine Online ran a detailed article and photo essay on Universal School of Bridgeview, a local Islamic School in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago. The article, in which CAIR-Chicago's chairman of the board, Safaa Zarzour was quoted, highlighted the fears and hopes of Muslim students, their teachers, and educators.

Read Article
View Photo Essay





Project O
 
The names of Muslim registered voters in Illinois Congressional Districts 3 and 9 have been fully entered into the CAIR-Chicago Project O database. The database currently contains the names of over 10,000 Muslim registered voters in and around the Chicagoland area and continues to grow in number every week.

CAIR-Chicago urges all American citizens over the age of 18 to register to vote and let your voices be heard. If you or someone you know lives in the state of Illinois and would like to register to vote, please visit the following web site:

http://www.elections.state.il.us/elecinfo/pages/downloads/pdf/R-19.pdf

Simply print the application and send it to the address provided. Alternatively, if you live in the City of Chicago, call the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners at 312-269-7900 and ask that an application be mailed to you. If you live in Cook County but outside the City of Chicago, please call 312-603-0906.

Project O is the product of CAIR-Chicago's Governmental Relations Department. Any inquiries should be sent to Fadi Farhan, Director of Governmental Relations, at gov.relations@cairchicago.org.

Announcing The Civil Liberties Coalition of Illinois (CLCI)
 
CAIR-Chicago is a lead organization in the Civil Liberties Coalition of Illinois (CLCI). The CLCI is a grouping of respected organizations in Illinois that each stands firmly in collective opposition to the reauthorization of the sunset, or expiring, provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Congress plans to vote on the sunset provisions of the act in the late summer or early fall. Included in the CLCI are civil rights organizations, immigrants' rights organizations, legal organizations, as well as faith-based organizations that cover a wide expanse of the political continuum. The CLCI also supports the passage of the SAFE Act, a piece of legislation whose purpose is to curtail the powers of certain sections of the PATRIOT Act.

The CLCI hopes to bring attention to the inherent reduction of civil rights and liberties of all Americans as a result of the PATRIOT Act's sunset provisions. The CLCI will be holding press conferences and town hall meetings with Illinois congressional representatives in the near future in order to educate the public on the long term consequences of sunset provision renewal.

Member organizations of the CLCI include CAIR-Chicago, American Civil Liberties Union, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Cook County Bar Association, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Muslim Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild.

If you are interested in contributing your time toward the goals of the above coalition, please email Menna Khalil, CAIR-Chicago's Governmental Relations Intern, at menna@cairchicago.org.

Foundation Fair
 
CAIR-Chicago participated in Foundation Fair at Islamic Foundation in Villa Park on Sunday, June 12. The Foundation Fair was an enjoyable afternoon bazaar of booths filled with everything from international cuisine of the Middle East, Persia, and South Asia to booths containing ethnic clothing and jewelry. The CAIR-Chicago booth provided information regarding the services it provides to the hundreds of participants in attendance.

Muslim Community Center (MCC) Registration Drive
 
For the last three weeks, CAIR-Chicago has registered new voters during Friday prayers at the Muslim Community Center (MCC) located at 4380 North Elston. CAIR-Chicago sponsored voter registration drives will be taking place at a mosque near you in the near future. If you would like to register to vote, please visit http://www.elections.state.il.us/elecinfo/pages/downloads/pdf/R-19.pdf and print the application from your computer.

CAIR-Chicago Invites FBI to Hate Crime Seminar
 
(CHICAGO, IL, 6/17/05) - CAIR-Chicago conducted a seminar, titled "Hate Crime: Define and Respond," at the Muslim Community Center (Community Hall), 4380 N. Elston Ave., Chicago.

The Seminar moderated by CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator, Dina Rehab, brought FBI Special Agents Jacob Overton and David Young and Diana Lin (Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law). Ms. Lin discussed the definition of a hate crime while Mr. Overton and Mr. Young addressed things that a victim of a hate crime should do to take action, who they can contact, and what are the best steps to take as a victim. Finally, Christina Abraham presented on several incidents of hate crimes reported to CAIR and how CAIR-Chicago has helped victims of hate crimes.




RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update 6/15/05

The following cases were reported to CAIR-Chicago in the past two weeks:

School

  • CAIR-Chicago was made aware of a website being used to teach students about women in Islam at a Chicago high school. The article, entitled “Incredible Teachings of Muhammad Regarding Women,” claims that Islam teaches that women are “deficient in mind and religion” and have no rights. CAIR-Chicago is currently working on refuting the claims made by the article as well as contacting the school’s administration to ensure that students will be given an accurate depiction of Islam.

    Employment

  • A Muslim woman was verbally and physically assaulted at work by a co-worker who made derogatory comments about the woman’s culture. The company responded by suspending both employees for reasons made unclear to the victim. CAIR-Chicago is corresponding with the company’s representatives to ensure that a thorough investigation into the matter is conducted and that the employee responsible is disciplined appropriately.

  • A Muslim man working for a university for 17 years was treated badly by a colleague and supervisor after a promotion he had received. He then was fired allegedly for bad job performance. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the university’s administration to issue an investigation into the man’s termination and requesting that he be re-hired.


General

  • A Muslim family that had recently moved into a new neighborhood experienced derogatory remarks and threats made by a neighbor based on their religion and culture. CAIR-Chicago will follow up with the appropriate response soon.


Government

  • Two Muslim men were stopped by local police officers, harassed and arrested without being made aware of the reason they were being arrested. Officers reportedly used excessive force on the men, punching one in the face several times after he had been handcuffed. They also made derogatory comments about their culture and religion, calling them “Bin Laden” and “terrorist.”

  • Three Chicago suburban Muslim girls were stopped at a traffic light on their way to school when a city worker began swearing at them and told them to go back to their country. The family of the girls filed a police report but the police have not followed through with an investigation, claiming they could not identify the city worker, although there are only 5 city workers for the small town and the girls provided a detailed description of the individual and the city van he was driving. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the local police department to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted and the city worker responsible is disciplined.

  • A Muslim man inquired as to whether not having registered with US Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2003 during the Special Registration campaign would affect his plans to get married this year. CAIR-Chicago informed the man that based upon our observations of similar situations involving other members of the community he will likely not be penalized for not having complied with the registration campaign. CAIR-Chicago emphasizes that the above response was not intended to be a legal advise or consultation and that anyone who chooses the above route will be fully responsible for that choice.

  • A man applied for citizenship and passed all necessary USCIS requirements, but has been waiting for 15 months for citizenship status do to a pending background check. The case is being dealt with as a part of a nation-wide CAIR project in collaboration with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). For more information on this project, see the Citizenship Delay Action Alert below.


ACTION ALERT:

Religious Discrimination Delays Citizenship Process

As a joint effort with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), CAIR-Chicago is asking individuals who passed a citizenship examination and have been waiting for over 90 days, or have been waiting for a Green Card for permanent residence for over 90 days to contact us at either civilrights@cairchicago.org or mennakhalil@gmail.com.

Religious Discrimination at Standardized Testing Centers:

As part of a potential class action law suit, CAIR-Chicago is asking for anyone who has experienced any form of religious discrimination at a testing center to please contact us at civilrights@cairchicago.org . An example of a possible form of religious discrimination includes requiring or requesting the removal of a headscarf for searches, or discriminatory remarks made by employees about Muslims or Islam.

The facts of the above case:

A Muslim student was asked to remove her headscarf on two separate occasions at a testing center before she began a standardized test required for graduate school. The supervisor and employees of the testing center refused to show her a written copy of the policy requiring Muslim women wearing a headscarf to be searched. A witness at the testing center also observed the employees making discriminatory remarks about Muslims while the victim was taking the test.

Please let us know if you or someone you know have experienced a similar incident and would like to take action to prevent such forms of religious discrimination at standardized testing centers in the future.







June Blood Drive


CAIR-Chicago is taking part in a summer-long campaign called Muslms Care (www.muslimscare.org), initiated by CAIR-National, to promote community service in the Muslim community. A theme is selected for each month (June-August). June is Health Awareness Month.

CAIR is currently coordinating a June blood drive with several Chicagoland Muslim organizations: On a typical day, 1500 blood donors are needed to meet patient's needs in the Chicagoland area. Blood is needed to save the lives of people undergoing surgery for trauma or heart disease; for persons suffering from bleeding disorders; for patients with severe burns; and for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. If every eligible donor would give-the-gift-of-life only 2 times annually, there would never be a blood shortage in Chicagoland. Each unit of blood donated potentially saves three lives. If you are a person over the age of 18, weigh more than 100 lbs, have not donated in the past 2 months, have no significant heath problems, and have not traveled to Asia or Africa within the last 12 months, you can donate.

What?

Come donate blood during June (Health Awareness Month)

Where? When?

Muslim Community Center 4380 N. Elston Ave., Chicago IL. 60641 Call 773-775-9047 to volunteer or email info@mccchicago.com Sunday, June 19th, 2005 (9 AM - 1 PM)

Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs (ISNS) 3890 Industrial Ave., Rolling Meadows, IL. 60008 Call Thabraize Ahmed at 847-507-7447 Sunday, June 19th, 2005 (8 AM - 4 PM)

Mosque Foundation 7360 W 93rd St., Bridgeview, IL. 60455 Call Tareq at 708- 430-5666 Ext. 0 Thursday, June 23rd, 2005 (12 PM - 5 PM)

Downtown Islamic Center 231 S. State St., Chicago, IL. 60604 Call Dina Rehab at 312-212-1520 Friday, June 24th, 2005 (10 AM - 4 PM)

The June Blood Drive is co-sponsored by the Health Awareness Committee of MCC (www.mccchicago.org) and the Compassionate Care Network (CCN) (www.ccnchicago.com).

Visit www.muslimscare.org or check out our newsletter for future Muslims CARE summer events.











CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Governmental Relations Intern Coordinator
 
Menna Khalil, a senior at DePaul University is an international studies and pre-law major with minors in French and economics. She has joined CAIR-Chicago’s governmental relations department based on her interest in politically empowering and mobilizing the Muslim community. She will be interning with Fadi Farhan, director of the governmental relations department.




CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Civil Rights Intern
 
Zaineb Mohammed is a junior at Brown University with a major in International Relations. She has joined CAIR-Chicago’s civil rights department and will be interning with Christina Abraham.




CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Governmental Relations Intern
 
Bitta Mostofi has joined the CAIR-Chicago team as an Intern in the Governmental Relations Department. Bitta, an Iranian-American, has been involved in activism and social work for years. She has participated in a wide variety of social justice work, ranging from human rights campaigns to tutoring Spanish-speaking prisoners with such groups as Amnesty International and the ACLU. For the past two years Bitta has been active with Voices in the Wilderness. Upon completion of a Bachelors degree in Political Science from DePaul University in Chicago, she helped coordinate the Iraq Peace Team and traveled to Iraq in November and December of 2002. Bitta is currently a third year law student at DePaul University. Her focus is international human rights law, including asylum, immigration, and conflict resolution.




Help Wanted: Operations Coordinator

CAIR-Chicago has an immediate opening for the full-time position of Operations Coordinator. This position requires working knowledge of IT related issues (HTML, MS Office, Excel and Access). A college graduate is preferred. For more information, visit our career center. Qualified candidates may email their resume to director@cairchicago.org












Executive Director
Yaser Tabbara

Director of Communications
Ahmed Rehab

Director of Governmental Relations
Fadi Farhan

Civil Rights Coordinator
Christina Abraham

Outreach Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Board of Directors
Shakeela Hassan, MD
Alim Elliott Khan
Mazen Kudaimi, MD
Kamran Memon, Esq.
Alif Muhammad
Ahmed Rehab
Zaher Sahloul, MD
Yaser Tabbara, Esq. - Secretary
Safaa Zarzour, Esq. - President







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For more information, please contact:

CAIR-Chicago (A Chapter of The Council On American-Islamic Relations)
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Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
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The Chicago Activist is a publication of CAIR-Chicago
17 N. State St., Suite 1500, Chicago IL 60602
Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
Email: info@cairchicago.org, Website: www.cairchicago.org