Newsletter: September 26th, 2019


Newsletter | September 26th, 2019

Have You Registered to Vote?


This past Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote in Illinois? Ensure you are by clicking this link!

Voting is the right of all US citizens age 18 and above. It is the first line you have to invoke policy change. In the last election, only 61.4% of eligible voters exercised their right. Be sure to increase that number by registering!

Click here to register!

CAIR-Chicago to Host Discrimination Focus Groups

CAIR-Chicago, in collaboration with the Chicago Commission for Human Relations, will be hosting a number of focus groups aimed to learn more about the discrimination faced by Chicago’s Muslim community. City of Chicago Ordinances prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, age (over 40), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, military discharge status, and source of income.

If you are a Muslim and have experienced discrimination based on any of the those protective classes, we encourage you to participate in our focus groups. Please fill out this survey to express interest. Focus groups will be held in November. Dates/times will be confirmed based on interest and availability.

We look forward to working with you. For any questions, please contact Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel at

Civil Rights Report

Civil Rights intakes from the weeks of September 12th to September 26th

  • Woman asked to remove hijab at airport customs checkpoint.

  • Child bullied at school, later asked about his ethnicity and travels by administration

  • Muslim family repeatedly harassed by neighbors using racial epithets, monitoring them with cameras.

  • Anonymous tip law enforcement officer was reposting discriminatory statements on facebook

  • Woman with valid travel visa detained at airport for unspecified reasons

  • US citizen repeatedly detained while traveling for unspecified reasons

  • Muslim woman singled out and kicked off an airline flight

CAIR-Chicago Hosts Multinational Interfaith Delegation with the U.S. State Department

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On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, longtime partner WorldChicago invited CAIR-Chicago to host a delegation from 17 countries focused on interfaith, representing Abrahamic traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The delegates are alumni of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) under its initiative “Let Leaders Lead – IVLP Exchange Alumni Advance Interfaith Relations”.

CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson and Communications Coordinator Hannah Faris met with the delegation at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Hankerson, an UIC alum, highlighted the university’s long history of interfaith engagement among its student body along with its community outreach efforts from its faculty and administration.

Discussions focused on CAIR-Chicago’s efforts to provide civil rights for the local Muslim community and specific challenges amid the current sociopolitical climate under the current White House administration. Of special note, there was extensive talk on the dangers of the federal national security known as Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) now known as the Terrorism Prevention Program (TPP) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

CAIR-Chicago would like to thank Caroline Swinney, UIC’s Assistant Vice Provost of Diversity and Community Engagement Office of Diversity, who welcomed and provided the space for CAIR-Chicago and the IVLP interfaith delegation to meet.

CAIR-Chicago Deputy Director speaks at IGA Diversity event


Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel participated on a panel hosted by the Illinois Green Alliance. He, along with several other Chicagoland leaders spoke on their work in addressing bias experienced by members of their communities. Sohel also spoke about overcoming our own biases and the importance of communities to be intentional about working together to combat rising hate.

Sohel reflected, “I appreciate the IGA being so intentional about examining themselves and identifying shortcomings they may have in serving a diverse city. The conversation was inspiring and I am excited to see their work evolve and their services expand.”

Outreach Coordinator Speaks on Islamophobia at Town Hall Forum on Racism

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CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson presented on Islamophobia at the Town Hall on Racism in Palos Township. The event, organized by TAKE ON HATE Chicago, was held at Moraine Valley College.

Hankerson discussed alarming trends of reported hate crimes targeting Muslims, particularly the numbers reported by all CAIR offices nationwide. In addition, there was a significant spotlight on the Islamophobia industry that fueled over $1.5 billion to prevent Muslims from exercising their religious freedom without a threat to their safety and livelihood.

These stats are covered in the annual Islamophobia reports released by CAIR on

CAIR-Chicago Fellow recognized by AABA


CAIR-Chicago is proud of our Legal Fellow Marwa Jumma for being recognized at the Asian American Bar Association’s (AABA) annual Installation and Awards ceremony for her Public Interest Fellowship. Each year, the AABA funds law students and graduates to work at a non-profit and community organizations; Marwa was selected by CAIR-Chicago to be one of this year’s recipients.

Marwa is a law student from Syria who completed an JD from Chicago Kent College of Law where she also earned her LLM Degree in U.S. International & Transnational Law. She came to the United States through the 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives Jusoor Award in 2016, which was granted to 15 Syrian women to pursue educational opportunities in the U.S and Canada. Marwa earned her Bachelor’s in Law from Damascus University of law and worked as a lawyer at her father’s practice in Damascus.

We are so proud of Marwa. She has been an instrumental member of our legal team and we are excited for her as she continues her legal career!

Apply for Our Internships!


CAIR-Chicago is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2019 term! All departments are accepting. Internships also can be used for class credit (dependent on university). Check out more info below!

Click here to go to the Intern Center.