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CAIR-CHICAGO NEWSLETTER




CAIR-CHICAGO VOLUNTEERS FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
August 29, 2006

Dina Rehab, CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator, participated in a Habitat for Humanity event organized by JFG Mortgage (www.jfgcorp.com).

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, which seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Volunteers were assigned specific tasks to help build a home on Chicago's south side.

Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. The organization has built more than 200,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1,000,000 people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple and decent houses.

MORE


copyright © 2006, cairchicago.org





CHICAGO TRIBUNE: THE FLAWS OF RACIAL PROFILING
By Christina Abraham
August 21, 2006

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0608270276aug27,1,4258513.story

While proponents of racial profiling such as Jonah Goldberg argue that racial profiling "makes sense" and therefore should be allowed into the policies of law enforcement officials, in actuality, racial profiling is inefficient in terms of security, and illegal in terms of law. In his article "Face it: Profiling makes sense; Race should be factor in detaining travelers," Goldberg argues that U.S. Customs and Border Protection should allow its officers to racially profile Middle Eastern and Asian travelers, instead of investing in technology that would more accurately detect possible transgressors.

Goldberg’s argument is flawed for several reasons. First, though proponents of racial profiling can’t seem to grasp it, racial profiling is simply not efficient as a method of detecting possible violators of the law. By adopting a policy of racial profiling, law enforcement would limit their scope to a narrow group of people. Would-be transgressors would merely need to make sure that the people carrying out the mission do not fit the profile.

Second, and more importantly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers do not only have to watch out for potential terrorist threats. CBP must be able to detect kidnappers, drug traffickers, weapons smugglers, and other violators of U.S. and International Law. The task of the CBP officer is to detect any illegal activity involving travel. In order to better help them do their job, and minimize officers violating the civil rights of travelers, better technology is needed to be able to efficiently and accurately detect the real threats – not people who look like they fit the stereotype of the person who should be suspected of being a threat.

Perhaps the neoconservatives would argue that racial profiling is acceptable even then. What we would essentially end up with is security policy based on stereotypical attitudes put forth against a wide array of minorities in the United States. Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Middle Easterners would all be affected by such policies, and nobody would be any safer.

The main flaw with the neoconservative argument is that it completely fails at cutting to the root cause of the problem. The neoconservative policies of racial profiling are in themselves part of the problem; those policies actually contribute to fueling the security threats that currently face this country. It is also those same policies that sometimes make Middle Eastern and Asian Americans feel they are being targeted and discriminated against by the law enforcement officials they are supposed to entrust to protect them.

Indeed, Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans often feel that they are the targets of hostility in an otherwise tolerant atmosphere. Indicative of the hostility towards them in American policy is Goldberg’s very comment that "100 percent of them [terrorists] are Muslim," [his emphasis]. Neoconservatives such as Goldberg put forth such racist assertions as fact, which are then used as evidence to promote their arguments. When an intoxicated Mel Gibson made the statement that all of the world’s wars are started by the Jews, even the neoconservatives were quick to denounce his comment as racist and completely inappropriate. A (presumably) sober Goldberg, however, makes the statement that all terrorists are Muslim and his hypocrisy completely escapes him.

Proponents of the theory that terrorism is exclusively a Muslim proprietorship part with history’s rendition of the facts. A cursory survey of the history of terrorism lists various groups with diverse backgrounds and motivations. Terrorism is a military tactic that was documented as early as the French Revolution. The founders of the State Israel resorted to such tactics against the British as did Irish, Basque, and Tamil separatist groups, some of whom remain active today.

More importantly, to advocate racial profiling would be to show utter disregard for U.S. law, and the rights guaranteed to every individual living in this country by the Constitution. Applying uniform policy in passenger screening, and every other area of law enforcement, is not discriminatory, as neoconservatives like Goldberg assert. It is upholding the tenets of American justice, as put forth by the Constitution and other legislative acts.

It is disturbing to note the ease by which those in the neoconservative right seem to do away with the rule of law in furtherance of their narrow political goals, which, ironically, they always claim is the preservation of American values. But at the core of American values is a fundamental belief in the rule of law, and thus the essential hypocrisy of the neoconservative paradigm becomes evident.

Christina Abraham is CAIR-Chicago's Civil Rights Coordinator, she can be reached via email at civilrights@cairchicago.org


copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune





FALL 2006 INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AT CAIR-CHICAGO

CAIR-Chicago, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is currently offering 17 new internship opportunities. CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization. The organization’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

All internships are unpaid. Internships last one semester and include a 12-hour/week commitment. Applicants should email a resume and cover letter to Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator, at: internships@cairchicago.org.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES:
clearly indicate which internship opportunity you are applying for in your cover letter. If you are applying for more than one position, please list in order of preference. All fall applications are due by August 28th (please note: fall internships run from August/September through December/January). Applications that do not list the above information will not be processed. If you have any questions, please email all inquiries to internships@cairchicago.org. Students interested in receiving class credit, should indicate so in their cover letters. Credit will be arranged during the first week of the academic semester.

Listing of all internships by department:

Civil Rights:
CIVIL RIGHTS INTERN
LAW CLERK (Open to Law Students Only)

Communications:
COMMUNICATIONS INTERN
CHURCH PROJECT INTERN
FAITH CORE ONLINE MAGAZINE INTERN

Governmental Relations:
GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS INTERN
COMMUNITY ORGANIZING LEAD INTERN
VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT INTERN
POLICY RESEARCH INTERN

Operations:
OPERATIONS INTERN
RECEPTIONIST
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INTERN
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT INTERN

Outreach:
PUBLIC RELATIONS INTERN
PUBLIC EDUCATION INTERN
HUMAN RESOURCES INTERN
MUSLIMS CARE PROJECT INTERN

Dina Rehab is CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator, she can be reached via email at outreach@cairchicago.org





AREA MUSLIM LEADERS WORKING WITH FEDERAL OFFICIALS
By Leah Hope

August 11, 2006

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section= local&id=4454146

See Video

Opinions are divided in the Chicago-area's Muslim community about the impact of the terror plot arrests. Some fear a backlash. Others are more hopeful.

Comments made by President Bush Thursday have upset some local Muslim-Americans. They say fear can build on misconceptions. But there is an avenue for understanding already forged between federal officials and local leaders.

Friday prayers at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview draw hundreds of Muslims. Since 9/11, many Muslim-Americans have endured ridicule, abuses even hate crimes. While there is concern about a possible backlash after an apparent terror plot in England, some see this as an opportunity.

"Another opportunity for us to reach out and open the discussion," said Aisheh Said, Chicago Roundtable participant.

Aisheh Said is among the community leaders involved in the Chicago Roundtable Discussion. It is a regular meeting of Muslim-Americans leaders and federal officials, including the FBI's special agent in charge.

ABC7 spoke with Rob Grant last week about the importance including community in law enforcement.

"It's just not a police responsibility, it's also a local political responsibility to know their communities, understand their communities and be sensitive to things around the world that may affect them that would not affect the rest of us," said Grant.

Community leaders say the discussions build relationships that are good for everyone. Ahmed Rehab is the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago.

"The American Islamic community is proud to be American as it is proud to be Muslim and we recognize the responsibility of working with governmental agencies in making this country safe and secure for all," said Rehab.

The roundtable discussions deal with a variety of issues including delays in citizenship, treatment of Muslims at airport checkpoint and security. The Mosque Foundation's president says the discussions increase awareness and sensitivities.

"Four out of 10 Americans have negative views against Muslims, and that's why we have to have good relationship with our law enforcement agencies because we need to protect our community," said Dr. Mohammed Sahloul, Mosque Foundation.

The roundtable meets every two months and it set to meet in a couple of weeks. Among the discussion is the fall out after the British arrests.

Those involved feel the roundtable has been a step in the right direction and there is an effort to bring the type of roundtable to the national stage.


Copyright ©2006 ABC Inc., WLS-TV Chicago





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



Recent Events




RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 08/30/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 562 cases documented in which 256 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 university professor was terminated after holding certain opinions about issues involving Muslims and Islam. CAIR-Chicago is investigating this complaint and is incorporating this case into its Academic Freedom Coalition.
  • A woman experienced adverse treatment at the workplace and was eventually terminated after having converted to Islam and after having begun practicing wearing the Muslim headscarf (hijab). The woman was also told by a former co-worker that the management did not think it appropriate that customers would come in and see the woman wearing hijab at their establishment. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action necessary to represent the complainant’s best interests.
Government:
  • A Muslim man reported being detained at the airport while trying to travel domestically. CAIR-Chicago is incorporating this complaint into the Travel Free Project and will assist the man in going through the necessary procedure to become safe-listed by the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA).
  • Four 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 four cases into the Citizenship Delay Project. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below.
  • A Muslim family experienced rude treatment from a police officer after a traffic accident. CAIR-Chicago will assist the family in filing a complaint with the police department regarding the officer’s behavior.
  • The Zakat Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, had nearly 11,000 mailings returned by the post office, in the same sequential order they were sent out, with a message that read “Not deliverable as addressed.” After having received the returned mail, the organization ran many of the mailings in the post office’s computer system. The overwhelming majority of the mailings run through the system showed that the addresses were valid. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the matter and is exploring the legal options of the Zakat Foundation.
  • A Muslim man was contacted by federal law enforcement authorities for an interview. As is our general advice, CAIR-Chicago recommended the man obtain legal representation if he decides to go ahead with the interview.
Public Accommodation:
  • Three Middle Eastern men were forcibly removed from a McDonalds by security officers employed at the McDonalds. As security officers were removing the men, they made derogatory statements at them such as “terrorists” and “go back to your country.” CAIR-Chicago is investigating the incident and will take whatever action necessary to rectify the situation.
  • A Muslim man was on a train and was escorted off by police officers making derogatory comments toward him. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action necessary to resolve the incident.
School:
  • A Muslim college student was denied a place to pray on campus by school administrators. CAIR-Chicago is advising the student on how to approach the school administration about his request for religious accommodation.
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 civilrights@cairchicago.org or 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 immediately. 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.

Also, if you are being consistently delayed, detained, or have otherwise had your rights violated while traveling, 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.



















ABC 7 PRESENTS "911: HOW WE’VE CHANGED," A COMMERCIAL FREE HALF-HOUR SPECIAL HOSTED BY RON MAGERS, KATHY BROCK AND CHERYL BURTON, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10 AT 10:35 P.M.

... ABC 7 special reports will be followed by a panel discussion examining post-9/11 changes. Panelists scheduled to appear include: Cortez Trotter, city of Chicago chief emergency officer; Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, governor’s deputy chief of staff for public safety and homeland security; Ahmed Rehab, executive director, council on American-Islamic relations, Chicago; John Allen Williams, Ph.D., Loyola professor and national security policy and strategy expert; Matthew Lippman, Ph.D., criminal justice professor and expert on homeland security.

MORE


POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: 2007 EVENT PLANNER


CAIR-Chicago is seeking a qualified volunteer to assist as the Event Planner for our 2007 Annual Event. The Event Planner will head CAIR-Chicago’s Annual Fundraiser Committee as the Chairperson, and will work closely with CAIR-Chicago’s Operations Coordinator, Board, and staff. This position is compensated.

The Muslim community, sponsors, and guests will be invited to review CAIR-Chicago’s past year accomplishments and will be asked to support our future efforts to benefit the Muslim American community in Chicago. If you are interested in serving the Muslim community as CAIR-Chicago’s 2007 Event Chairperson, please contact Sabah Ahmed at operations@cairchicago.org.

Position Details





director@cairchicago.org



CAIR-Chicago Welcomes A New Activist to the Team

Ross Zambon is in his third and final year at the John Marshall Law School, as a joint J.D./LL.M. student in taxation. He has recently joined the CAIR-Chicago team as a Civil Rights Intern, with an undecided future in the legal community. By means of his degree in finance from the University of Illinois, Mr. Zambon is interested in international business, foreign policy, and worldwide civil rights. As an avid football fan, Mr. Zambon has not missed a Bears game in 19 and one half years!


CAIR-Chicago's Muslim Activist Website



 











Executive Director
Ahmed Rehab

Civil Rights Coordinator
Christina Abraham

Outreach Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Governmental Relations Coordinator
Sadiya Ahmed

Operations Coordinator
Sabah Ahmed

Communications Coordinator
Sultan Muhammad

Staff Attorney
Heena Musabji, Esq.

Legal Advisor
Maaria Mozaffar

Community Organizer
Haady Taslim

Board of Directors
Alif Muhammad
Ahmed Rehab
Hina Sodha, Esq.
Yaser Tabbara, Esq. - Secretary
Mazen Kudaimi, MD - Vice President
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 1410, Chicago IL 60604
Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
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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