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RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 11/04/05

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 242 cases documented in which 92 cases are active and are being pursued by department personnel. Below are the cases that were reported to CAIR-Chicago within the last two weeks.

Employment:

  • A Muslim professional clinical pharmacist who has been practicing for over 30 years with an outstanding attendance record at his current hospital is not being allowed to take days off for Hajj. His supervisors continue to avoid giving him a confirmation on his request. CAIR-Chicago will investigate the incident and take any action necessary to assist the man in getting his requested days off for Hajj.

  • A Muslim woman submitted a request for time off for Eid. She was told by her supervisor to find someone to cover her work on the days she requested off. However, when she notified her supervisor that she had found someone to cover her work while she was off her supervisor still denied her request. CAIR-Chicago will file a complaint with the appropriate organization in order to investigate the incident and take whatever legal action deemed necessary to resolve the issue

  • A Muslim man was interviewed for substitute teacher position and was told that he was hired and that the only thing needed was to submit his fingerprints for a standard background check. He was later he was refused employment, being first told that there were no openings, and then told that he wasn't qualified and that he did not have enough experience, despite a long history of experience substitute teaching and proper certification. A complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been filed against the school district and CAIR-Chicago will assist in having the man represented in an EEOC mediation session.

  • A Muslim man’s new manager asked him if his name was Muslim. The manager then told the man that he had read the Quran and began to criticize it. The manager asked the man how he felt working with women because in Islam women are supposed to stay at home and asked him if his wife wore a burka. He then asked the man if he was “extreme or in the middle.” The man was later given poor reviews by his manager, although his prior work history was excellent. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the incident and will take whatever action deemed appropriate to resolve the issue.

Government:
  • Two more Muslims have reported delays in their citizenship process, having applied for their citizenship and passing all necessary USCIS requirements, but have been waiting for citizenship status do to pending background checks. CAIR-Chicago is incorporating these two cases into the Citizenship Delay Project. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below, as well as the current update in the “Progress Report” section.

  • A Muslim woman was asked to remove her headscarf (hijab) at the immigration counter of O’Hare International Airport. CAIR-Chicago will contact the appropriate authorities and take whatever action deemed necessary to resolve the issue.

  • Muslim congregants of a local mosque have observed unfair targeting by police officers in the area around prayer times. The congregants believe that bias based policing is the motive behind the excessive presence of police at their mosque. CAIR-Chicago will incorporate this case into the Racial Profiling Project it has initiated and will take whatever action necessary to resolve the incident and confront the issue of bias based policing.

  • A young man was detained by DHS when his van was stopped by DHS officers. The officers asked to see the immigration papers of all 10 people in the van. The young man was detained because his papers had not yet cleared. CAIR-Chicago requested to speak to the family of the young man and will refer them to the Midwest Immigrants and Human Rights Center for immigration legal services.

School:
  • An employee of an area public school system came to a school to give a presentation on gang prevention to the faculty and staff of the public school. The employee then began talking about the Quran, and how some gang members recite verses of the Quran and base their hierarchy on the Quran. He also said that these gang members sell Qurans on the street. A Muslim staff member of the school was made to feel awkward because presentation made it seem as though Islam promotes gangs and violence, and none of the content pertained to the original purpose of the presentation, which was gang prevention. CAIR-Chicago will contact public school system’s administration to resolve the issue immediately.

  • Muslim students reported an art exhibit at a local college that depicted women with hijab on completely nude bodies. The MSA protested the exhibit and the college has since then closed the exhibit. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the MSA to see if there anything else we can help with.

  • A Muslim reported that there were no Muslim holidays represented in a calendar sold by her school, although other religious holidays were represented. CAIR-Chicago will follow up with the school to encourage incorporating Muslim holidays into the calendar of recognized holidays.

ONGOING PROGRESS:

View reports of ongoing progress for cases with the Civil Rights Department in the “Progress Report” section.

ACTION ALERTS:

Muslim Americans Detained and Questioned When Traveling Outside of the U.S.:

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. It is important for Muslims who have faced this type of treatment to join the lawsuit so as to show that it is not an isolated case. The more people that join the case the more strength it will have to force positive changes in how Muslim Americans are treated in the future at our borders.

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.

Have a Complaint Against DHS?:

CAIR-Chicago will be meeting with representatives of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Attorney General’s Office as a part of periodic Community Leadership Liaison Group meetings. If you have any issues or incidents pertaining to the DHS, FBI or Attorney General’s Office that you would like presented at this meeting, please contact Christina Abraham at "a href="mailto:civilrights@cairchicago.org">civilrights@cairchicago.org or 312-212-1520 as soon as possible.

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.










CAIR-Chicago's Annual Event Set for February 4th!

Our Annual Event is set to take place Inshallah on Saturday, February 4th, 2006. Please mark your calendars and show your support by attending that day. We are still recruiting volunteers to help with this event. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Shyema Azam at operations@cairchicago.org.

Be part of helping a chapter of the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in the country!




CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Community Service Intern


Jumana Azam, a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a business management and marketing major. She has joined CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Department as a Community Service Intern. She will be interning with Outreach Coordinator, Dina Rehab, and will be assisting with recruiting volunteers as well as organizing outreach and community service events.

Jumana has already successfully coordinated our Oct. 22nd event at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, where volunteers assisted in sorting and repackaging food for those in need. Jumana will also be working on maintaining and updating our volunteer database.


IT Talent Wanted
 
If you have strong HTML skills, good graphics skills, and are interested in web development, please contact us at 312 212 1520 or email us at communications@cairchicago.org. Please specify if you are interested in volunteering (2-10 hours) or interning (10-20 hours).
 
Journalism Talent Wanted
 
If you are a journalism student or someone who is interested in covering news, commenting on issues, or interviewing people, then please contact us at 312 212 1520 or email us at communications@cairchicago.org. CAIR-Chicago can provide you with a heavily-visited forum through which you can share your work. Please specify if you are interested in volunteering (2-10 hours) or interning (10-20 hours).
 










Executive Director
Yaser Tabbara

Director of Communications
Ahmed Rehab

Civil Rights Coordinator
Christina Abraham

Outreach Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Operations Coordinator
Shyema Azam

Board of Directors
Shakeela Hassan, MD
Alim Elliott Khan
Mazen Kudaimi, MD
Alif Muhammad
Ahmed Rehab
Zaher Sahloul, MD
Hina Sodha, Esq.
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