(CHICAGO, 08/30/10) — The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today filed a discrimination complaint in federal court against the Illinois State Police (ISP) on behalf of Kifah Mustapha, a leading Muslim religious leader (Imam) based in Chicago.
The ISP had previously hired Imam Kifah as the first and only Muslim chaplain for its workforce after the completion of a thorough background check. Shortly after news of Imam Kifah’s hiring, the ISP revoked its decision citing a dubious Internet report attacking Imam Kifah. The report was written and distributed by Steven Emerson, an anti-Muslim blogger notorious for fighting against American Muslim civic participation.
SEE: Steven Emerson’s Crusade
Among other false allegations, Emerson’s report claimed that Imam Kifah served on the “Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood,” when no such committee exists.
CAIR-Chicago’s lawsuit alleges discrimination based on race, religion and national origin. The suit also cites the denial of Imam Kifah’s First Amendment right to freedom of association, which bars the government from imposing guilt by association.
“Imam Kifah is an upstanding citizen who has served this country and his community time and again,” said Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago’s Civil Rights Director. “It is time to put an end to the fear-mongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has senselessly engulfed our nation.”
“The ISP’s actions here are reminiscent of the Red Scare in the 1950s, when our nation smeared individuals based on suspicion and paranoia rather than evidence of wrong doing,” said CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney, Kevin Vodak. “The McCarthy era taught us that our government cannot engage in guilt by association.”
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its 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.
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