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CAIR-CHICAGO NEWSLETTER



CAIR-Chicago's Digest on the Prophet Cartoons:


The Danish Cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad have commanded world headlines for the past few weeks. Below is a digest of CAIR-Chicago’s community and media activism in response to this controversy:


Quad rally denounces hate
The Daily Illini
By Christine Won


A coalition of more than 15 organizations and community members at large held a peaceful demonstration on the main quad Tuesday in response to the six Danish cartoons printed in the Daily Illini last Thursday.

"The demonstration was to illustrate two points," said Reem Rahman, junior in LAS and communications director of the University's Council on American-Islamic Relations. "First to show that we were all united under a peaceful cause against all forms of hatred, and second to educate each other that all religious figures are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of diversity of faith."

Shaz Kaiseruddin, Muslim Student Association president and graduate student, said the demonstration was part of a larger initiative geared towards promoting open dialogue.

Various members from the community showed their support.

Stacy Coleman, a Christian who is a member of the Muslim Women's Outreach, said the Muslims' heart and purpose were in the right place.

"I wanted to support a peaceful effort to communicate why so much that has happened is hurtful to Muslims," she said. "Perhaps by my presence there, as someone who is not a Muslim by appearance, may cause other non-Muslims to stop and reconsider preconceptions they may have that are not grounded in truth."

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Recent Events




RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 02/24/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 338 cases documented in which 131 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:

  • A Muslim woman wearing the headscarf (hijab) was pulled over by police, and, although speaks perfect English, was told by the police officer “If you don’t speak English, you shouldn’t be driving.” CAIR-Chicago will assist the woman in filing a complaint with the Office of Professional Standards against the officer who made the comment.
  • Five 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.


Employment:
  • A Muslim woman was told by her employer, “We don’t pay you to pray.” The woman is being required to incorporate prayer time with her 15 minute break per day. CAIR-Chicago will contact the employer to clarify to the employer its responsibility to accommodate the religious needs of its employees fairly.


Prison:
  • A Muslim inmate reported issues of religious rights abuses in the prison where he is being detained. The inmate reported that the prison chaplain requires sermons for Friday Congregational Prayer Services (Jummah) to be in-line with Christian beliefs. He also reported that prison officers would consistently interrupt Jummah prayer services in a disrespectful manner to make announcements that could have waited until the end of the service. CAIR-Chicago is incorporating this case into its prison project, which seeks to guarantee the rights and humane treatment of Muslims detained in prison.
General:
  • A Muslim man reported books carried by his local library that portrayed Islam negatively and inaccurately. Among other things, the book identified those who believe that the Qur’an is the word of God are “fundamentalists,” and that Islam does not believe in having elections to choose its leaders. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the matter closely and will take whatever action deemed necessary to address the issue.


ONGOING PROGRESS:

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

ACTION ALERTS:

Citizenship Delay Project - 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 mennakhalil@gmail.com

Travel Free Project - 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 on return to the US at any border crossing (land or airport) to please contact travelfree@cairchicago.org.

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.









Don’t Forget to Vote!
 
Can’t make it out to the polls on March 21st?

For the first time this year, Illinois is giving voters the chance to cast their ballots early, beginning Tuesday, February 27. Polls will remain open until Thursday, March 16th. Make your voice heard and help create a strong Muslim presence.

The Illinois Primary elections will be Tuesday, March 21. Don’t forget to cast your ballot and effect change in the early stages.

For more information or questions about elections, or a complete list of early voting poll locations, contact CAIR-Chicago Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at gov.relations@cairchicago.org or at 312-212-1520.


Early Voting Action
 
CAIR-Chicago, in conjunction with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and other member organizations, hold early voting action on Wednesday, March 8th at 11: 00 AM on the southwest side of Chicago. Volunteers will, after a press conference, mobilize voters for both early voting and primary elections.

To volunteer or for additional information, contact CAIR-Chicago Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at gov.relations@cairchicago.org or 312-212-1520





CAIR-Chicago Welcomes New Activists to the Team


Farah Khan is a junior at Loyola University Chicago where she is pursuing a major in biology and a minor in journalism. She has joined CAIR-Chicago as a Government Relations Intern and has had experience being active in several local activist organizations and the community at large. She hopes to work with CAIR-Chicago to help give resonance to the voice of Chicago-area Muslims.


John Rush is a governmental relations volunteer at CAIR. He is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a Master's in Urban Studies (M.A.) and Wheaton Graduate School with a Master's degree (M.A.) in Biblical and Theological studies and a Master's degree (M.A.) in Religion in American Life. John served as a Pastor in a non-denominational Christian church for five years and a homeless shelter for three prior to his concentrated interests in pursuing the possibility of PhD work and/or research at the University of Chicago. Currently, John's interests are encompassed in a triad focus on religion, the academy and politics. This past summer John had the opportunity to present a paper in Cambridge on Islamic conceptions of political peace. His preparation for the presentation fostered an interest in comparative studies between Christianity and Islam. Most recently he has been working on Freud and Augustine on concupiscence and Bonhoeffer's response to totalitarianism. While John has strong inclinations towards academic work he desires to remain connected and involved in a local Christian church while also remaining active in various social and politically involved organizations (such as CAIR-Chicago) where he can engage in interfaith dialogue and assist in serving for the common good. John's interests exist within a context where they are held in relative balance with a large and growing family, his wife Debbie and seven children-- John, Timothy, Daniel, Andrew, Samuel, Sarah, and Rebekah.




Become a Political Organizer & Earn Class Credit!

Want to help mobilize the Muslim community? Want to gain experience in the political field? Want class credit for doing what you like?The Governmental Relations Department is currently recruiting interns and volunteers for the historical political mobilization initiative, Project O. If you would like to help organize and mobilize the Muslim community or learn more about Project O, contact Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at gov.relations@cairchicago.org

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: outreach@cairchicago.org.

    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 outreach@cairchicago.org
     










    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







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    CAIR-Chicago (A Chapter of The Council On American-Islamic Relations)
    28 E. Jackson Blvd, Suite 1410, Chicago IL 60604
    Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
    Email: info@cairchicago.org, Website: www.cairchicago.org


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    Email: info@cairchicago.org, Website: www.cairchicago.org