Mustapha is the well-known leader at one of the nation’s most popular mosques and is a national figure in American Islam.
So considering his civic stature, it isn’t surprising Imam Mustapha was invited by FBI officials in Chicago to attend this summer’s Citizens’ Academy with about 25 other local notables.
CAIR-Chicago filed a discrimination complaint in federal court this week against the Illinois State Police (ISP) on behalf of Kifah Mustapha, a leading Muslim religious leader (Imam) based in Chicago. The ISP revoked his chaplaincy position citing a dubious Internet report attacking him. The report was written by Steven Emerson, an anti-Muslim blogger notorious for fighting against American Muslim civic participation. See media coverage of the lawsuit
Ahmed Rehab says the position was revoked because of a false anti-Muslim blog attacking Kifah.
“There was nothing that would prevent him from fulfilling this role. Except for the fact that somebody out there wished to smear him and the ISP was either too lazy or incompetent to actually sift through the smears and figure out that they were smears. And instead decided to drop him to avoid any controversy. That’s unacceptable,” said Rehab.
“Constitutionally a person can only be held responsible for their own activities, their own conduct,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham.
“And if Imam Kifah has never committed a crime – then what is he being denied for? That’s an answer we never received from the Illinois State Police.”
In December, community and religious groups hailed Mustapha’s appointment as a nod to the growing diversity among the agency’s nearly 2,000 officers. Since 2002, Mustapha has been an imam and director at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, one of the Chicago area’s oldest and largest mosques. He also served as a designated chaplain with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, helping to counsel Hurricane Katrina victims.
The lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago chapter alleges discrimination based on race, religion and national origin. The suit also says Mustapha was denied his First Amendment right to freedom of association, which bars the government from imposing guilt by association. It calls for Mustapha’s immediate reinstatement.
“Imam Kifah [Mustapha] is an upstanding citizen who has served this country and his community time and again,” Christina Abraham, civil rights director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, said in a release.
“It is time to put an end to the fear-mongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has senselessly engulfed our nation,” she said.
CAIR-Chicago filed a discrimination complaint in federal court today 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.
The Illinois State Police has revoked the appointment of the agency’s first Muslim chaplain, citing only information revealed during a background check. A national Muslim advocacy group Wednesday blamed the move on Islamophobia.
A Bridgeview imam will file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Illinois State Police, his lawyer said Wednesday, alleging that police force fired him based on misleading and anti-Islamic media reports.