The Chicago Activist | | CAIR-Chicago

CAIR-CHICAGO NEWSLETTER



Professor Sulayman Nyang to Speak At CAIR-Chicago's Annual Event 2006
    Since its re-launch 15 months ago, CAIR-Chicago has grown from a start-up into a fully-functioning institution with well-defined goals, time-tested strategies, efficient processes, and reputable community partners. It has expanded from a staff of one to a full-time staff of six assisted by dozens of interns and volunteers. Since its humble beginnings in a one-room office in Hickory Hills, CAIR-Chicago has moved its office three times in an attempt to keep up with constant growth.

    CAIR-Chicago has been featured, reported on, or quoted over 90 times in local, national, and international newspapers and magazines that include the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-times, the Daily-Herald, the Economist, Ms. Magazine, and the Milwaukee Sentinel; over 20 times in local and national radio stations that include WBEZ (NPR), WBBM, and Pacifica Radio; and over 25 times in local TV stations that include CBS, NBC, ABC, WGN, and FOX.

    Our Media Response System places a close watch on local media coverage of Islam and Muslims and flags bias or unfair reporting. Egregious cases are challenged on a case by case basis. Patterns are identified and discussed at meetings with editorial boards.

    Our Civil Rights department files tens of intakes each week and maintains extensive databases year round. In the past year, over 250 civil rights cases have been handled ranging from employment discrimination and citizenship delays to prison abuse and hate crimes. Our civil rights advocacy is aggressive yet reconciliatory in that we seek to rectify rather than reciprocate and educate rather than retaliate. In addition to defense and advocacy work, the department implements a proactive, forward looking agenda towards a comfortable assertion of our American identity.

    As a local chapter of the nation’s largest Muslims civil rights organization that serves a teeming metropolis of 400,000 Muslims, CAIR-Chicago has established relations with over 30 local Mosques and community centers. In an effort to increase understanding and diffuse misconceptions of Islam and Muslims, CAIR-Chicago also reaches out to non-Muslims via frequent Church talks, educational and cultural seminars, sensitivity trainings, and university lectures. Our new Church Outreach program will establish educational dialogue with over 300 Illinois Churches, Synagogues, and temples in the coming three years.

    Our political organization initiative known as ‘Project O’ compiles an all-inclusive database of Chicagoland’s Muslim registered voters. Our Governmental Relations departments seek to organize our communities around the issues that matter to them. Educating our community on civil engagement and participation is therefore a key aspect of the project.

    CAIR-Chicago invites you as an honored guest of our Annual Fundraising Banquet. This banquet marks the biggest event for the largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group in Illinois attended by community members, leaders and representatives of more than 30 Islamic & Community Centers in the area.

    Our banquet, to be held February 4th, 2006 at The Sabre Room in Hickory Hills, is our main source of funding and is expected to draw 1,000 attendees this year. The banquet is also an event in which inter-ethnic and inter-faith relationships are strengthened and celebrated. Invited speakers and guests include various religious leaders, local politicians, law enforcement leaders, and coalition partners.

    Recent participants and speakers at CAIR-Chicago events have included Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, Congressman Danny Davis, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and other political representatives, community leaders and academics. This year, the keynote speaker will be Professor Sulayman Nyang of Howard University.

    We hope to see you there.





In the News Media Response System [visit center] Press Center






RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 12/16/05

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 269 cases documented in which 99 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.

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 due 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.

Criminal:
  • A Muslim owned restaurant with an attached mosque was vandalized. “Viva Mexican. Isan Diablo,” was written in red marker more than 30 times all over the walls of the room where many Muslims come to pray. Qurans and Islamic books were also found in trash bags. The incident was initially being investigated as a criminal defacement of property. However, after CAIR-Chicago contacted the local FBI and Chicago Police Hate Crimes Unit, the vandalism is now being investigated as a hate crime. CAIR-Chicago will continue to follow up with investigators.
  • A Muslim high school student was brutally attacked by another student during school hours. Although criminal charges have been pressed against the attacking student, CAIR-Chicago is investigating the possibility that the attack was a hate crime. CAIR-Chicago will seek to have charges upgraded to a hate-crime if it is determined that the attack was racially motivated.
School:
  • A Muslim female university student wearing a face veil (niqab) was required by her instructor to take off her face-veil in his presence so that he could verify her identity upon turning in her exam. The instructor refused to allow the female Teacher’s Assistant to verify the student’s identity, and became hostile to the student’s attempt to resolve the issue without having to take off her niqab in the male professor’s presence. Administrators within the department were also uncooperative. CAIR-Chicago will contact the school regarding this refusal to accommodate the female student’s religious beliefs and seek a positive resolution for the student.
  • A Muslim graduate student is having trouble finding funding and is being threatened by his school to have his tuition fellowship taken away. The student has reason to believe that a dean and a few professors in his department are discriminating against him as there have been anti-Muslim comments made to him by department faculty and administrators in the past. CAIR-Chicago will investigate the complaint and take whatever action deemed necessary to resolve the issue.

ONGOING PROGRESS:

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

ACTION ALERTS:

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.

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.

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 at The Sabre Room in Hickory Hills. Please mark your calendars and show your support by attending that day. Reserve your ticket today by going to: http://www.cairchicago.org/fundraiser2006.php. Tickets are $45 bought in advance, or $75 at the door.

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 Civil Rights Volunteer


Sabih Quadeer completed his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sabih is a recent graduate of John Marshall Law School - Chicago. He is a licensed attorney in Illinois and is allocating his free time to CAIR-Chicago's Civil Rights Department. With his legal background and personal interest, he is excited to work with CAIR-Chicago on protecting the civil liberties of members of the Muslim community.


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

Governmental Relations Coordinator
Sadiya Ahmed

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