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CAIR-Chicago Joins "Hotel Workers Rising!" Campaign
August 9, 2006

The Chicago Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced today that it is joining UNITE HERE's bi-national grassroots campaign to generate better working conditions for impoverished workers in the hotel industry.

The campaign, "Hotel Workers Rising!" represents an effort to empower thousands of hotel workers in hundreds of hotels in cities across the United States and Canada as they work to improve their jobs and secure better lives for themselves and their families.

These workers--largely minority and immigrant women--work hard to create a welcoming home away from home for business travelers and tourists. But many are suffering serious physical injuries from the workloads imposed on them by large multinational companies. Severe understaffing coupled with an increase in room amenities like heavier mattresses and linens are hurting these workers.

"When injustice singles out any group of people, the rest of the community should stand in solidarity with that group and protest in one voice," Sabah Ahmed, CAIR Chicago's Operations Coordinator said. "The plight of hotel workers is particularly important to Muslims as hospitality is an honored Islamic tradition; as such, we value those whose daily job it is to provide hospitality for total strangers."

"Working towards social justice was a dominant theme in the Prophet Muhammad's life and is a main cornerstone of the Islamic spirit," Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director said. "For us as Muslim-Americans, standing up for social justice down the street is no less an obligation than fighting for justice in the Middle East," Rehab added.

"Hotel Workers Rising!" will publicly launch the clergy support campaign at an interfaith breakfast immediately followed by behind-the-scenes meetings with union hotel workers on the job. The date is Friday, August 18th, from 9:00-11:30AM beginning at The Signature Room atop the Hancock Tower. R.S.V.P. mandatory by Aug. 13th. Both Rehab and Ahmed are slated to attend with an assembly of religious leaders who will carry a strong moral message in support of hospitality and human dignity.

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