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Civil Rights Update – 9/23/05

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 198 cases documented in which 98 cases are active and are being pursued by department personnel. Below are the cases that were reported to CAIR-Chicago within the last two weeks.


  • The tires of three vehicles were slashed in the parking lot of a local mosque last week. The local police department was called immediately and is currently investigating. CAIR-Chicago has contacted the FBI to inform them of the possible hate crime and will follow up with investigators on the matter.
  • A Muslim woman reported a delay in obtaining her social security number from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CAIR-Chicago referred the woman to the Midwest Immigration and Human Rights Center (MIHRC), and she has since then received her social security number as a result of a letter sent by a congressman on her behalf.
  • The president of the town council of a local town referred to a Muslim consulting engineer as a “camel jockey” and stated “you had to be able to speak ‘camel’ to make him understand anything.” The town planner witnessed the racist comments and issued a statement verifying these and other derogatory comments about various minority groups. CAIR-Chicago is working to have a suit filed against the president of the town council and will take any other action it deems appropriate.
  • A Muslim man is experiencing a delay in obtaining his Green Card. CAIR-Chicago is helping the man obtain legal representation to resolve the issue.
  • A Muslim man was arrested by United States Citizenship and Immigration Officers (USCIS) for paperwork issues. CAIR-Chicago contacted MIHRC’s detention project and will follow up with the family to monitor the outcome.
  • Three more Muslims have reported delays in their citizenship process, having applied for their citizenship and passing all necessary USCIS requirements, but have been waiting for citizenship status do to pending background checks. The cases are being dealt with as a part of a nation-wide CAIR project in collaboration with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). For more information on this project, see the “Religious Discrimination Delays Citizenship Process” action alert below.
  • A Muslim man with a pending immigration status is being investigated and contacted CAIR-Chicago for advice regarding the process. CAIR-Chicago put the man in touch with MIHRC for legal advice and assistance.
  • A Muslim student at a local college was refused the opportunity to observe the Muslim holiday of Eid without being penalized for an unexcused absence. The student contacted the Dean of Students of the college, who informed her that it was a “non-issue” since she was afforded more than one unexcused absence. CAIR-Chicago is contacting the college’s administration to resolve the issue in a manner that will foster a more positive relationship between the school and its Muslim students.
  • A Muslim man was denied a professional license due to the failure of an independent credentials agency’s failure to submit his review on time. The professional board required the use of a particular credentials agency, and because of their substantial nine month delay in submitting his request, the man was denied a license. CAIR-Chicago is contacting both the professional board as well as the credentials agency in order to resolve this issue.

Muslim Americans Detained and Questioned When Traveling Outside of the U.S.:

As part of a potential class action law suit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and CAIR-Chicago is asking anyone who has been detained and questioned at the U.S./Canadian border to please contact

The facts of the above case are as follows:

A Muslim American man says he has been searched and questioned four times while trying to re-enter the country from trips abroad, even though he had proper identification. The man was held for six hours last month as officials at a U.S. checkpoint in Canada questioned him about the September 11th terrorist attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing the man and says they have heard similar complaints from other Muslim Americans.

Religious Discrimination Delays Citizenship Process:

As a joint effort with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), CAIR-Chicago is asking individuals who passed a citizenship examination and have been waiting for over 90 days, or have been waiting for a Green Card for permanent residence for over 90 days to contact us at either or

Religious Discrimination at Standardized Testing Centers:

As part of a potential class action law suit, CAIR-Chicago is asking for anyone who has experienced any form of religious discrimination at a testing center to please contact us at An example of a possible form of religious discrimination includes requiring or requesting the removal of a headscarf for searches, or discriminatory remarks made by employees about Muslims or Islam.

The facts of the above case are as follows:

A Muslim student was asked to remove her headscarf on two separate occasions at a testing center before she began a standardized test required for graduate school. The supervisor and employees of the testing center refused to show her a written copy of the policy requiring Muslim women wearing a headscarf to be searched. A witness at the testing center also observed the employees making discriminatory remarks about Muslims while the victim was taking the test.

Please let us know if you or someone you know have experienced a similar incident and would like to take action to prevent such forms of religious discrimination at standardized testing centers in the future.

Vandalized Property in the North-Side

In the past several months several Muslim families from the north-side of Chicago and the northern suburbs have had property vandalized by unknown perpetrators in the late hours of the night. If you or someone you know has had property vandalized, and feel that you may have been the target of a hate crime, please contact

Our young Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow

Special thanks is due to the student representatives of the various University MSA's and Muslim Organizations who participated in CAIR-Chicago's Young Muslim Leader Symposium last weekend. Your dedication is heartwarming, and your intellectual inquisition gives much reason for hope in a bright future for the Muslim community. Attaining prosperity begin with mundane but necessary steps, some such steps may include waking up early on a Saturday Morning and driving downtown to attend workshops on how to systemize Muslim-American activism and how to render it professional. We thank each and every one of you for making the event a learning experience for us no less.

- CAIR Chicago Team

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IT Talent Wanted
If you have strong HTML skills, good graphics skills, and are interested in web development, please contact us at 312 212 1520 or email us at Please specify if you are interested in volunteering (2-10 hours) or interning (10-20 hours).
Journalism Talent Wanted
If you are a journalism student or someone who is interested in covering news, commenting on issues, or interviewing people, then please contact us at 312 212 1520 or email us at CAIR-Chicago can provide you with a heavily-visited forum through which you can share your work. Please specify if you are interested in volunteering (2-10 hours) or interning (10-20 hours).

Executive Director
Yaser Tabbara

Director of Communications
Ahmed Rehab

Civil Rights Coordinator
Christina Abraham

Outreach Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Operations Coordinator
Shyema Azam

Board of Directors
Shakeela Hassan, MD
Alim Elliott Khan
Mazen Kudaimi, MD
Alif Muhammad
Ahmed Rehab
Zaher Sahloul, MD
Hina Sodha, Esq.
Yaser Tabbara, Esq. - Secretary
Safaa Zarzour, Esq. - President

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For more information, please contact:

CAIR-Chicago (A Chapter of The Council On American-Islamic Relations)
28 E. Jackson Blvd, Suite 405, Chicago IL 60604
Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
Email:, Website:

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