Building Coalitions for Community Values
CAIR-Chicago, ICIRR, and the Campaign for Community Values
By Sandy Abdallah
Civil rights and immigration reform remain as major issues at the forefront of community concerns as the national election campaigns near their first party caucuses. CAIR-Chicago is proud to join the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) along with the Campaign for Community Values in addressing these issues. ICIRR works to promote the rights of immigrants and refugees in order to achieve full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of the United States. CAIR-Chicago advocates for the civil rights and political empowerment of Muslims and communities facing similar grievances. Together, both organizations have strengthened the voices of the communities they advocate for.
CAIR-Chicago was chosen to represent the Chicago community as well as ICIRR at the Heartland Presidential Forum, Saturday, December 1, 2007. Sponsored by non-profit organizations, the forum created the rare opportunity for direct interaction between the presidential candidates, grassroots organizations, and community members. Passionate stories and questions regarding civil rights, immigration, healthcare, corporate America, the economy, and the environment were discussed between the people and the candidates.
“It’s an amazing thing,” said CAIR-Chicago executive director, Ahmed Rehab. “Regular people and community values often take a back seat during political functions, but this forum gave the people a chance to question the politicians, one-on-one, on what matters most to them.”
Based on the principle that local and national leaders have a civic responsibility, the coalition works to ensure that these leaders address the people they intend on serving. The coalition helps create and maintain paths of dialogue between the community and its leaders. CAIR-Chicago and ICIRR work to ensure that voices are heard and progress is made.
CAIR-Chicago has worked with ICIRR over three years now; CAIR-Chicago’s executive director, Ahmed Rehab, currently serves on the ICIRR executive board.
By Shireen Pishdadi
Operations Coordinator, Taqwa Eco-Foods
The Food Crisis in the World
and the Current Sell-Out of Halal Selling and Labeling
IMAGINE SITTING AT an abundant tablespread of delicious food, the host describing the way it was acquired. Some of it was stolen from the neighbors. Some bought with money fraudulently taken from a poor single mother, her whole lifesavings, in fact. Other foods were procured violently, so that people were killed. Some of it is even laced with toxins. But today, you can eat of it freely, as much as you like. The price will be your children's inheritance.
Would you eat that food? Or would you depart and find other provisions, even if it meant discomfort in the meantime?
I believe most people would choose to leave that table. I also believe that Islam dictates to us beyond any doubt that we must.
I have both bad news for you and good. The abundant and cheap food available to most of us today is not much unlike the scenario above. Yet the time is ripe for a rejuvenation of Islam's divine laws regarding food and its production and consumption, and the reintroduction of its strongly humane and conservationist ethics. It is as simple as joining forces with your nearby farmers and the "sustainable food" movement to develop local food infrastructures. If it sounds archaic, you'll see just how profound its beneficial effects can be, if you read on.
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