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CAIR-CHICAGO NEWSLETTER








CAIR-Chicago Meets with Chicago Police Department Regarding Racial Profiling

Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago's Civil Rights Coordinator, and Fadi Farhan, Director of Governmental Relations, took part in a meeting on June 24 at the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Headquarters in which the topic of discussion was racial profiling during traffic stops in the city. In 2003, then-State Senator Barack Obama urged the Illinois legislature to instruct policing agencies to chronicle their traffic stops for the years 2004 to 2007. Since then, officers are required to record the reason for a stop, the race of the driver, and the citations or searches involved. The CPD released their department's statistics at the meeting. According to the data presented, the CPD stopped 15% more minority (non-white) drivers relative to the number of minority drivers present in the city, according to a Northwestern University study of the data.

Farhan and Abraham saw fundamental problems with the method of collection of the data and the term "racial profiling". In the post-9/11 era, many American Muslims, regardless of race or ethnicity, have been targeted for traffic stops. CAIR-Chicago believes that the now-obsolete term, "racial profiling", should be changed to "bias-based policing", a broader term encompassing the wider discriminatory nature of the problem. Abraham stated, "The data collected, while telling, does not include any parameters that would describe traffic stops of, for example, a Caucasian Muslim woman wearing the headscarf (hijab) or any man wearing a head piece such as a kufi or a turban." Farhan added, "The US Census Bureau's definition of 'white' includes Middle Easterners and North Africans, and therefore, the data is much less likely to show profiling of these groups and includes them in the 'white' category, skewing the results of the study. The classic race definitions have the potential to make the study altogether less useful for combating a problem that no longer, in the post-9/11 era, just affects the African-American and Latino populations in the city and the nation."

Groups present at the meeting included Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the American Civil Liberties Union, League of United Latin American Citizens, Amnesty International, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Also in attendance were Kwame Raoul, State Senator of the 13th District, and Ken Dunkin, State Representative of the 5th District.

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 was Health Awareness Month.

Thanks to all our blood donors, we managed to collect 51 units. This yielded 153 life-saving components of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. As many as 153 patients will, insha'Allah, benefit from this joint effort. Jazakum Allah Khair!

Participating organizations (in Alphabetical Order):
  • American Red Cross
  • CAIR-Chicago
  • Compassionate Care Network
  • Downtown Islamic Center
  • Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs
  • LifeSource
  • Mosque Foundation
  • Muslim Community Center
Insha'Allah we plan on continuing this effort by holding blood drives twice a year. Please stay tuned. If you or your local Masjid would like to take part in the future, please contact Dina Rehab at outreach@cairchicago.org. or 312-212-1520.

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

Takin' it to the Streets:

CAIR-Chicago hosted a booth at IMAN's Takin' it to the Streets, Saturday, June 25th. Takin' it to the Streets is a daylong community festival held every other summer in Marquette Park on Chicago's Southwest Side. Takin' It To The Streets unites thousands of people from all over the Chicagoland area in a day of festivities, musical performances, sports tournaments and carnivals. CAIR-Chicago staff, volunteers, and board members interacted with the community and spoke of the various CAIR-Chicago projects currently underway.


CAIR-Chicago Invites the Public to Participate in the Civil Liberties Coalition of IL Town Hall Meeting with Special Guest and Speaker, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9)

The Civil Liberties Coalition of IL (CLCI) is holding a Town Hall Meeting that is open to the public to discuss the deleterious effects of some of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on the civil rights and liberties of all Americans. The CLCI Town Hall Meeting will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2005 from 1 to 3 pm at Bremner Lounge, Centennial Forum, 1125 W. Loyola Ave., on the campus of Loyola University. Refreshments and finger food will be provided.

During the Town Hall Meeting, the CLCI hopes to engage the public in a frank discussion with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) on controversial portions of the PATRIOT Act and their subsequent effects on national security, civil rights and liberties, privacy, as well as a host of other issues.

Member organizations of the CLCI include:
  • The American Civil Liberties Union
  • Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers
  • Cook County Bar Association
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations - Chicago
  • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Japanese American Citizens League
  • Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Muslim Bar Association
  • Muslim Civil Rights Center
  • National Lawyers Guild
Inquiries regarding the Town Hall Meeting or the Civil Liberties Coalition of IL should be directed to Fadi Farhan, CAIR-Chicago Director of Governmental Relations, at gov.relations@cairchicago.org.

Project O

Project O, the CAIR-Chicago American Muslim organizing initiative, is moving forward full steam. Thousands of Muslim registered voters' names have been entered into the CAIR-Chicago’s databases over the last couple of weeks. The total number of names now exceeds 11,500 and is growing daily.

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 CAIR-Chicago’s community organizing project. Any inquiries should be sent to Fadi Farhan, Director of Governmental Relations, at gov.relations@cairchicago.org.






RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 6/30/05

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

Employment:

  • A Muslim man was attacked by several co-workers after an argument he had about questionable fines that were being imposed on him by the company. The employees called him “stupid Muslim” and made other derogatory comments as they attacked him. Local police were slow to respond to the man’s complaint. CAIR-Chicago will assist the victim’s attorney in any way necessary.


  • A Muslim man working as an assistant manager for a major drugstore was fired because of complaints allegedly made by customers regarding his religious practices. He was also treated generally disrespectfully by other employees, being told once by another manager “You don’t have the same God” as he was on his way to pray. The man was not ever given any formal warnings for the customer complaints, but instead was terminated within one week of the complaints being made. CAIR-Chicago is currently investigating the details of the incident and will take the appropriate actions necessary to resolve the issue.


  • A Muslim man interviewed for a position as the principal of an elementary school for a suburban public school district. The interview went well until the superintendent conducting the interview asked the man what ethnicity he was. Upon telling her that he was Arab the superintendent ended the interview and was unresponsive to his attempts to contact her to follow up on the vacant position. The superintendent also reportedly told a mutual friend that she was “tired of men and was looking for a woman.” CAIR-Chicago is in contact with the superintendent to further investigate the situation at hand.
Government:
  • A Muslim man was arrested by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for complications with his work visa. The man’s fiancé was unable to get in contact with him and his bond hearing was delayed without reason and has yet to be rescheduled. CAIR-Chicago is working with the Midwest Immigrat and Human Rights Center (MIHRC) on having him released on bond.


  • A Muslim-American man is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security because he says he has been searched and questioned four times while trying to re-enter the country from trips abroad, even though he had proper identification. The man was held for six hours last month as officials at a U.S. checkpoint in Canada questioned him about the September 11th terrorist attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing the man and says they have heard similar complaints from other Muslim Americans. CAIR-Chicago is currently working to determine if other Muslim Americans have experienced this problem (see action alert below).

Public Accommodation:
  • Four Iranian women boarded a free trolley to Navy Pier. Upon hearing the ladies speak Farsi, the driver began to make insulting racial slurs, such as "go learn English," and referred to them as "you people." As the ladies were leaving the bus the driver yelled "My name is Phil. Go learn to spell that!" CAIR-Chicago has filed a complaint with the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation and is seeking to conduct sensitivity training for the department as well as have the driver disciplined for his derogatory actions.
ONGOING PROGRESS:

CAIR-Chicago conducted two sensitivity training sessions this week for Chicago Ridge Police Department officers. Sensitivity trainings seeks to familiarize officers with Islam and the Muslim community and offers them ways to conduct themselves in non-emergency situations that are respectful towards Muslim beliefs and practices. The first session was led by Tabassum Haleem, Executive Director of the Organization of Islamic Speakers Midwest. The second session was led by CAIR-Chicago’s Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham and Civil Rights Intern Emad Ahmad.



CAIR-Chicago and AAAN will be conducting outreach at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview in an effort to identify individuals who have been experiencing a delay in the citizenship process for over 90 days. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below.

ACTION ALERTS:

Muslim Americans Detained and Questioned at U.S./Canadian Border:

As part of a potential class action law suit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and CAIR-Chicago is asking anyone who has been detained and questioned at the U.S./Canadian border to please contact civilrights@cairchicago.org.

The facts of the above case are as follows:

A Muslim American man says he has been searched and questioned four times while trying to re-enter the country from trips abroad, even though he had proper identification. The man was held for six hours last month as officials at a U.S. checkpoint in Canada questioned him about the September 11th terrorist attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing the man and says they have heard similar complaints from other Muslim Americans.

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 are as follows:

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.

Vandalized Property in the North-Side

In the past several months several Muslim families from the north-side of Chicago and the northern suburbs have had property vandalized by unknown perpetrators in the late hours of the night. If you or someone you know has had property vandalized, and feel that you may have been the target of a hate crime, please contact civilrights@cairchicago.org.







July is "Help the Needy" Month:

As part of Muslims Care (www.muslimscare.org), a national campaign promoting community service, CAIR-Chicago is organizing a volunteer opportunity for enthusiastic Muslims in the Chicagoland area. Volunteers are needed to prepare and serve meals to residents at Hilda’s Place, an Evanston-based homeless shelter.

Hilda’s Place, a branch of Connections for the Homeless, provides meals and shelter to individuals in need and offers extensive support services that assist in the transition to independence. [For more information on Hilda's Place, please visit: http://www.cfthinc.org/hildas_place.htm]

WHEN: Saturday, July 30th, 5:00-8:00pm

WHERE: Lake Street Church basement, 1458 Chicago Ave., Evanston [From the El: walk north from the Purple Line Dempster stop]

HOW: Contact Dina Rehab at outreach@cairchicago.org or 312-212-1520

Cafe Finjan:

Join us for an evening of local Jewish and Muslim poets, storytellers, and singers at our upcoming Cafe Finjan event.

When: Thursday, July 14, 7:00 pm
Where: Che Cafe, 1058 W. Taylor St., Chicago
Donation: $7.00 per person

Follow this link: [www.evite.com/info@campnet.net/cafefinjan] and click on "PayPal" to pre-register and pay by credit card. Space is extremely limited and we highly encourage pre-registration!

CAFÉ FINJAN is a series of interfaith arts exchanges, begun in 2004 by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs as part of its Jewish-Muslim Community-Building Initiative. The series creates spaces for Chicagoland Jews, Muslims, and others of diverse backgrounds to come together and give voice to their identity and experience as part of a larger community.

"Finjan," a word in both Arabic and Hebrew, is a metal pot for brewing coffee in the traditional Middle Eastern style, not only in the home, but also on a campfire, with comrades gathered around for warmth.

Sponsors (in alphabetical order):

Council on American-Islamic Relations – Chicago (CAIR-Chicago)
Council of American Muslim Professionals – Chicago (CAMP)
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs – (JCUA)
Muslim Bar Association of Chicago – (MBA)










CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Operations Intern Coordinator
 
Aminah Malik, a sophomore at Mt. Holyoke College and an International Relations major, has recently begun interning at CAIR-Chicago's operations department. She intends to complete a Middle East Studies Certificate as well as a minor in French.




CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Outreach Intern
 
Shahenaz Abdelrahim is a junior at Northeastern Illinois University majoring in Special Education. She hopes to become a special educator upon her graduation. Shahenaz has joined CAIR-Chicago's outreach department and will be interning with Dina Rehab.




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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)
28 E. Jackson Blvd, Suite 405, Chicago IL 60604
Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
Email: info@cairchicago.org, Website: www.cairchicago.org


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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