The Chicago Activist | | CAIR-Chicago


Azhar Usman to emcee CAIR-Chicago's
Annual Event on Feb 4th

Popular Muslim-American comedian and activist Azhar Usman will emcee CAIR-Chicago's annual event next Saturday February 4th at the Sabre Room in Hickory Hills. Azhar has spent the past few years tirelessly touring inside and outside of the United States, delighting audiences with his hilarious and thoughtful unique brand of Muslim-American comedy. See below for event details.

Nihad Awad to address CAIR-Chicago's
Annual Event on Feb 4th

Having returned safely home to his family from his recent mission to Jordan and Iraq where he lobbied for the release of US journalist Jill Carroll, Nihad Awad is now preparing to travel to Chicago next week to address CAIR-Chicago's annual event. He will be joining keynote speaker, Professor Sulayman Nyang of Howard University.See below for event details.

CAIR-Chicago's Annual Event Details - 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: 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

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

In the News
  • Ahmed Rehab on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight (PBS 11)

    CAIR-Chicago Director of Communications, Ahmed Rehab, recently appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight with Phil Ponce on PBS 11 along with MAS Executive Director, Mahdi Bray, and IFYC’s Umnia Khan to talk about the hot and current Muslim-American issues. Rehab argued that there remains a disparity between the image of Muslims and Islam, as perceived by mainstream America, and the reality of Muslim Americans who are doctors, lawers, teachers and are contributive members of society. Rehab also argued that Muslims have been the largest victims of international terrorism, number wise, and that Muslims are the most natural allies to the US in fighting terrorism.

    Also on the show was Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

    If you wish to receive a copy of the program, please contact CAIR-Chicago.

  • Medill News Service: "Looking for Comedy" may not have found any, Muslims say
  • January 17, 2006

  • Southwest Daily Herald: Feds Secretly Search Mosques
  • January 04, 2006

  • Chicago Tribune: Activist Theater - Silk Road's Goal: To Give a Voice to the Voiceless
  • December 22, 2005

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Recent Events


Civil Rights Update – 01/27/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 282 cases documented in which 112 cases are active and are being pursued by department personnel. Below are the cases that were reported to CAIR-Chicago within the last four weeks.


  • A Muslim family filed a complaint with CAIR-Chicago for issues regarding their late mother’s treatment by doctors. Specifically, doctors showed disregard for the family’s religious beliefs when caring for their mother. CAIR-Chicago has referred this case to a private attorney.

  • 8 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.
  • A Muslim man reported a delay in the process of obtaining his Green Card for Permanent Residency. CAIR-Chicago is assisting the man in having his case moved to the Chicago District so that he may pursue administrative and legal options in Chicago where he resides.
  • A Muslim man reported misconduct by local area police officers when he reported the theft of his car. CAIR-Chicago will investigate the incident and take whatever action deemed appropriate to resolve the matter.
  • Two Muslim men reported consistent delays whenever traveling internationally, most recently upon their return from holy pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). CAIR-Chicago is incorporating these cases into the Airport Profiling Project, and will seek to assist the men in being safe-listed by the TSA and exploring the legal options available to them.
  • A Muslim woman who practices wearing the Muslim headscarf (hijab) reported that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) required her to show her hair during a photograph for her Drivers License. CAIR-Chicago is researching the Secretary of State’s policies regarding photographing women wearing hijab for Drivers License photographs.
  • A Muslim man reported misconduct by police officers after an incident at a department store. The man reported that the security guard of the store followed him and his family around the store, yelled at his children, and then confronted the man in a belligerent manner in front of his children. The security guard had the man arrested by local area police. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the department store managers to resolve the incident.

  • A Muslim called for legal advice on an employment discrimination case pending in federal court. CAIR-Chicago explained to the man the different types of monetary recovery that he is entitled to ask for and advised the man to discuss the issue in more detail with his attorney.
  • An Iraqi woman contacted CAIR-Chicago after having been passed up for a promotion on several occasions where an employee with less experience was given the promotion. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the company regarding the complaint and will seek to resolve the incident amicably.
  • A Muslim man reported that his employer was not accommodating his need for prayer time during work. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the employer to inform them of their duties to accommodate the religious practices of their employees.
  • A Muslim man reported mistreatment by new supervisors at his place of employment where he has worked for 20 years. The man fears that his new supervisors are creating a hostile work environment for him because of prejudices against him for being Muslim. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint to determine the best course of action to resolve the issue.
  • A Muslim woman was terminated from her job after having had no complaints prior to a new supervisor coming in. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the woman’s place of employment to seek a resolution to the incident.
  • A Muslim man has been denied permission to attend Friday congregational prayer services (Jummah) after the company cut lunch hour for employees from one hour to a half hour. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the man’s employer to inform them of their duties to accommodate the religious practices of their employers.
  • A Muslim family reported that a family member being detained by immigration was physically attacked by another inmate while in prison. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the incident with the victim’s family and take whatever action deemed appropriate to rectify the situation.

  • A Muslim family filed a complaint with CAIR-Chicago because they felt their son and other Arab and Muslim children were being punished more harshly than other students at a suburban grammar school. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint to determine what actions to take to resolve the issue.


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


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 or

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 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 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.

Operation Coordinator moves to New York

CAIR-Chicago is sorry to part with the services of Operations Coordinator, Shyema Azam. Shyema, who is a graduate of UIUC's School of Journalism, has moved on to an exciting gig at a fashion magazine in New York where she had previously interned. Shyema will sorely be missed for her demonstrated dedication and voluminous productivity. Most of all, Shyema will be missed for her warm character and personal charm that she brought every day to the office without fail. Shyema, your important contributions to CAIR-Chicago are noted, and will not be forgotten by our board and staff. Shyema plans to stay in touch and plans to be in Chicago for the annual event on February 4th, God willing.

CAIR-Chicago Recruits New Operations Coordinator

Stepping into Shyema's shoes is another UIUC grad with enough energy to compete with ComEd. Sabah attended Rutgers University in New Jersey where he studied political science and Middle-Eastern studies before transferring to the University of Illinois to finish his Bachelor of Arts. Sabah comes to CAIR-Chicago by way of Northwestern University, where he was employed as a facility coordinator for the School of Management. Since joining us two weeks ago, it is not unusual for Sabah to stick around the office till midnight - speaking of ComEd, ouch.

CAIR-Chicago Recruits Full-Time Legal Advisor

Maaria is CAIR-Chicago's new legal advisor. Maaria founded and currently chairs the Civil Liberties Coalition of Illinois (CLCI), a coalition of 13 legal/advocacy organizations whose focus is to lobby Illinois elected representatives on the US Patriot Act and other civil liberties issues. Maaria also serves as legislative consultant for the Developing Justice Coalition (DJC), an interfaith community based coalition, on sentencing reform. In addition, Maaria serves as legislative consultant and member of Project Restore, the legislation/lobby arm of the Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Prior to her joining CAIR Chicago, Maaria clerked for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, working on low income housing and welfare issues. Maaria graduated with a JD from the University of Illinois at College of Law in 2003, and received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999.

Are you a Law Student Looking to Earn Credit While Externing at CAIR?
Extern will work closely with CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director and Civil Rights Coordinator on the following:

  • Assist in documenting incidents of religious discrimination by counseling and interviewing complainants regarding their incidents

  • Research laws and policies on employment, student conduct, and immigration procedures, as well as criminal offenses and other areas as seen fit

  • Legal writing: drafting arguments, memos and complaints

  • Participate in representing complainants in dispute resolution, EEOC mediation, filing complaints and law suits

  • Assist in maintaining the Civil Rights Online Center

  • Updating databases containing information about abuses reported to CAIR-Chicago The ideal candidate should be organized and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks. The ideal candidate will possess excellent written communication skills and a commitment to serving the community.

  • This is an unpaid externship. Open to all law students.
    Are you an Undergraduate or Graduate Student Looking to Earn College Credit While Interning at CAIR-Chicago?
    CAIR-Chicago is currently offering 11 internship opportunities. All internships are unpaid, but students may receive college credit. Applicants need to email a resume and cover letter to Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator, at:

    CAIR-Chicago is offering the following positions for internships:

  • Civil Rights Intern
  • Communications Intern
  • Community Service Intern
  • Governmental Relations Intern
  • Grant Research Intern
  • Marketing Intern
  • Operations Intern
  • Public Education Intern
  • Public Relations Intern
  • Church Project Intern
  • Faith Core Online Magazine Intern

  • Please Contact the Outreach Coordinator for more information on the tasks and duties of specific internships. Call Dina Rehab at 312-212-1520 or at

    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
    Sabah Ahmed

    Legal Advisor
    Maria Mozaffar

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

    Click Here

    Click Here

    Click Here


    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:, Website:

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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:, Website: