Ahmed Rehab is Executive Director of the Chicago Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group. He also serves as CAIR’s National Strategic Communications Director.
Rehab was born in Cairo, Egypt to a Chemical Engineer and a Russian Interpreter, and grew up between Cairo and Manchester, England.
Rehab moved with his parents to the United States in 1992 where he attended high school at Senator Hillary Clinton’s Alma mater. He completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his graduate studies in Software Engineering from DePaul University.
While in college, Rehab taught ACT and SAT classes. During his second year in graduate school he was recruited by Arthur Andersen LLP – a global consulting firm – where he remained for three years.
Upon his departure from Arthur Andersen, Rehab spent his time between managing his private computer business and traveling. It was during a trip to the highlands of Kericho, Kenya as part of the U.S. delegation from the “Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions” that he felt a social awakening. The group of faith leaders and activists had set out to explore the dual issues of refugee resettlement, and debt relief for impoverished nations.
Rehab came back to the U.S. with a new found appreciation for the concept of “simple and profound” solutions which he sought to apply to his next cause: organizing and empowering Chicago’s Muslim-American community.
Appalled by the growing prejudice and hatred against Muslims in the years since 9/11 and motivated by the drive to do things differently, Rehab joined forces with long-time friend, and Chicago attorney, Yaser Tabbara with a resolve to implement a precise vision for “a different kind of organization.” Together, they helped launch a new era for CAIR’s Chicago office which had been struggling for the two years since its incorporation in 2002. Under their stewardship and in a little over a year, the one-man franchise blossomed into a vibrant full-blown institution that continues to foster cutting-edge professional activism.
A prolific writer and lecturer on contemporary social issues including civil rights, media relations, and Islam-West relations, Rehab has spoken at various University campuses in Chicago and around the nation.
Rehab comments regularly as a guest on various local, national, and international TV and cable news programs, as well as on radio stations. He has been interviewed over 150 times by news publications such as the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Herald, the Washington Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Economist, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, Crain’s Business Magazine, Germany’s Die Zeit, the BBC and many more. His Op-Ed’s have been published in numerous newspapers around the country.
Rehab is an avid media activist who works on a daily basis with Chicago’s media establishments – publishers, editors, producers, reporters, and broadcasters – in an effort to bring about more fair and accurate coverage of Islam and Muslims.
Rehab, an alumnus of the FBI Citizen’s Academy, leads local efforts to foster positive relations with law enforcement officials, elected officials, political appointees, and representatives of various governmental agencies.
Rehab serves as a board member of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). He is a board member and secretary of the Egyptian American Society, a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ (CCGA) Muslim task force, and an Eisenhower Fellow of the American Assembly. Previously, he served as image consultant for Chicago’s Niagara Foundation, a cutting-edge interfaith organization that promotes interactive dialogue, and as Saturday night host for a local Radio Program on Chicago’s AM dial. He is the founder of two companies, Ibex Computers and Amrex Media.
Rehab is an ardent soccer fan; his hobbies include chess, painting, sculpting, swimming, and backpacking. He is single and resides in Oak Park, IL.