MODERATE VOICES
By Ahmed Rehab

June 1, 2006

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0606010011jun01,1,3214523.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Congratulations to Michael Tackett, the Tribune's associate managing editor in Washington, on his wonderful piece "Melting ice with Westerners" (News, May 10). As a Muslim-American activist who spends most of his waking hours "melting ice" with fellow Westerners, I am very appreciative of an article that brings forth the moderate and refreshing views of credible mainstream leaders from the Muslim world.

I have grown tired of hearing my religion in the media attributed solely to nutcases such as Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. More often than not, I find that media venues are all too keen to echo opinions and statements of extremist Muslims of the lunatic fringe, while overlooking the moderate and far-reaching voices of mainstream Muslim leaders.

Tackett's fair and insightful reporting has broken through the very ice we can only hope to melt.

I hope that the Tribune continues to lead the way in presenting Americans with an accurate representation of the reality of Islam and Muslims in order that we continue to melt ice together.

Click here to read Michael's Tackett's article


Copyright © 2006 Chicago Tribune




CAIR-CHICAGO TAKES PART IN THE U OF C'S UNDERSTANDING ISLAM IN THE MODERN WORLD FORUM

May 25, 2006

On Thursday May 25, CAIR Chicago’s Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, participated in a University of Chicago panel with a notable group of Chicagoans including Dr. Aminah Beverly McCloud, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Islamic World Studies at DePaul University; Tim McNulty, Chicago Tribune Public Editor; and Margaret Holt, Chicago Tribune Senior Editor for Standards and Staff Development.

The panel, sponsored by the Office of Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities, and the Muslim Students Association, was put together to provide a forum for education and discussion concerning complex cultural and religious questions that have bearings on how the media portrays Islam and Muslims.

The event began with welcome remarks from William Michel, Asst. Vice President for Student Life and Assoc. Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago official, as well as M. Hasan Ali, outgoing MSA President.

The capacity room, packed with attendees and representatives from a diverse cross section of local Muslim communities, inter-faith communities, professors, students, and activists were on hand to participate in the dynamic program. Among those present in the audience were Dr. Scott C. Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam and Program Director in Catholic-Muslim Studies of the Catholic Theological Union; Imam Frederick Al Deen of Oak Park; Minister Marcus Muhammad, Benton Harbor Representative of the Nation of Islam; and Nation of Islam Latino student Minister Abel Muhammad.

The spirited open dialogue provided concrete advice for Muslims seeking accurate media representation and allowed Muslim community members an opportunity to offer feedback to the Tribune editors as to how the Muslim image may more fairly be covered. Rehab stressed the need for Muslims to forgo self-imposed censorship and to actively engage the media. He asserted that, for the most part, the American media does not bear an inherent bias against Islam and that members of the media are diverse and non-monolithic, like Muslims themselves. Rehab further explained that he believed Islam and Muslims are unfairly portrayed in the media, but that more often than not, it is a result of ignorance and not malice, “that’s all the more reason for Muslims to reach out to their local media,” he said.

Event Photos
Event Details


CAIR-CHICAGO CONGRATULATES YASER TABBARA ON RECEIVING COMMUNITY BUILDERS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY SERVICE.

CAIR-Chicago is pleased to announce that Yaser Tabbara Esq, retired Executive Director of CAIR Chicago, was named the recepient of the 2006 Community Builders Award for Excellence in Community Service. The award was presented at the Community Builders Annual Banquet held Saturday, May 27, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel O'Hare.

The following is a text of Community Builders proclamation accompanying the Award.

"After taking over as Executive Director of CAIR Chicago about 2 years ago, Yaser Tabbara was instrumental in revitalizing that chapter by bringing new talent and resources into it. Shortly thereafter CAIR Chicago became the concience of troubled Muslims and the leading voice for Muslim civil rights in the Chicago area. Through his quiet demeanour, his determined resolve and his fearless pursuit for fairness and justice, he earned the love and admiration of both his colleagues at work and the community he served.

Yaser Tabbara was CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director for a relatively brief time. But in that short time was packed the accomplishments that would by most standards be labeled amazing.

Yaser is a Chicago attorney with an established record of serving the community. Previously, Yaser was the coordinator of the Iraq project at DePaul University College of Law, where he worked on rebuilding the legal education system in Iraq under the direction of Prof. M. Cherif Bassiouni. Prior to that, Yaser initiated the Post 9/11 Immigrant Legal Rights Project at the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center, where he provided free and low-cost legal representation, as well as outreach and education on immigration law and civil liberties to our community.

Throughout his work in the public domain, Yaser has exemplified for us excellence in planning and excellence in execution, so essential for us to emulate, in order to obtain successful outcomes in our own fields of endeavour. Powerful lessons from a powerful leader.

As we honor him with the "2006 Community Builders Award for Excellence in Community Service", we wish him continued success in the future and invoke the blessings of Allah upon him."


Community Builders
www.mycommunitybuilders.com

See Event Photos


PLEASE STEP DOWN, MR. RUMSFELD

By Sultan Muhammad

June 2, 2006

"My daddy tried to open the door to let the Americans in, but he was immediately shot in the head and body," Safa said.

"I heard Younis speaking to the Americans, saying: 'I am a friend. I am good,' “Fahmi said, "but they killed him, and his wife and daughters."

"I was the only one who survived. I watched them kill my entire family. I am all alone now," Safa said, crying.

Twenty four innocent and unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed unjustifiably by US Marines on November 19th, 2005. The brutally slain civilians included children and the women that were trying to shield them.

“The girls killed inside Khafif's house were ages 14, 10, 5, 3 and 1, according to death certificates,” reports the Washington Post.

As these most recent allegations unfold – and with the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo incidents as a backdrop - the moral supremacy and self-righteous rhetoric of this administration seem more and more as an invitation for lawless lash outs that range from torture to the massacre of innocents.

Blanket signifiers procured by this administration like the “Axis of Evil,” and other sensational expressions used by the administration, imbue U.S. troops with a certain psychological reductionism that lends itself to dehumanizing the other.

When a soldier dons the emblematic T-shirt, “Property of the U.S. Army,” or “Property of the U.S. Marines,” it is a testament to the contract that is signed by every soldier upon recruitment. When things go wrong, should not the property holder bear the brunt of the responsibility?

Our soldiers also don “dog tags.” When we walk that loving puppy in someone else’s yard and it defecates… who cleans the mess?

Faulty intelligence led to the waging of this illegal war; misleading explanations have been construed to absolve.

Both have now been replaced with outright cover-up.

As we speak, Saddam Hussein is rightfully being tried for the murder of innocent Iraqi civilians amongst other crimes.

Are Iraq’s civilians any less innocent now that they are being killed by American soldiers in the name of erecting democracy and freedom, rather than by Baathist soldiers operating under a dictatorship? If not, then I ask that Mr. Rumsfeld be tried for the brazen murder of Iraqi civilians on his watch and under his failed leadership.

Until that day comes, please step down Mr. Rumsfeld.





In the News Media Response System [visit center]



Recent Events




RECENT CASES:

Civil Rights Update – 06/05/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 459 cases documented in which 208 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.

Government:

  • Due to the overwhelming response to the last Citizenship Delay event at the Mosque Foundation, 19 more Muslims have reported delays in their citizenship process. These Muslims have applied for citizenship and passed all necessary U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements, but have been waiting for citizenship status due to pending background checks. CAIR-Chicago is incorporating these cases into the Citizenship Delay Project. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below.
  • A Muslim man has experienced a delay in obtaining his green card for permanent residency. CAIR-Chicago has referred the man to the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center (MIHRC) for legal assistance.
  • A Muslim man has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for violating a voluntary departure order. The man agreed to voluntary departure after complying with USCIS special registration requirements in 2003. CAIR-Chicago has referred the case to the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center (MIHRC) for legal representation.
  • A Muslim man was arrested by ICE officers and detained. CAIR-Chicago took steps to determine whether a bond hearing had been set up for the man and referred the family to an immigration attorney that could represent the man.
  • A Muslim man was arrested by ICE officers for allegedly violating his student visa, although his student visa was still valid. CAIR-Chicago referred case to an immigration attorney for legal representation.
Employment:
  • A Muslim woman has experienced discrimination at her place of employment after beginning to practice wearing the headscarf (hijab). Shortly after she began wearing the hijab, the new manager who oversaw her district terminated her for practices commonly used by employees and not against company policy. The woman has filed an Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) charge of discrimination, which has made a positive initial finding. CAIR-Chicago is looking into the matter and will take whatever steps necessary to advocate on the woman’s behalf.
Prison:
  • An inmate a state prison complained that after he had converted to Islam, the chaplain of the prison attempted to talk him out of conversion. Additionally, after the inmate continued with his decision to convert, the inmate experienced retaliation by the chaplain and another officer. The inmate was not accommodated for his new religious practices, and was issued reprimands for carrying a towel to pray on when he did not have a prayer rug. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint along with other complaints from Muslim inmates at the prison and will take whatever action necessary to resolve the situation.
School:
  • A Muslim high school student was continually verbally and physically attacked because he is a Muslim and a refugee from another country. Despite repeated complaints, the school took no action. After the latest altercation between the two boys, the Muslim student was given a one year suspension and the other student a 2 day suspension. CAIR-Chicago is representing the student at a school board meeting to address concerns over the disciplinary action issued in addition to the greater problem of intolerance at the school.
ACTION ALERTS:

Citizenship Delay Project - 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 mennakhalil@gmail.com

Travel Free Project - 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 on return to the US at any border crossing (land or airport) to please contact travelfree@cairchicago.org.

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 civilrights@cairchicago.org. 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.















director@cairchicago.org



CAIR-Chicago Welcomes Three New Activists to the Team

Ahsan Latif joins CAIR-Chicago as a summer intern in the Communications Department. Ahsan is currently enrolled in Northwestern University’s School of Law and hopes to one day conduct complex litigation even he cannot begin to understand. Known to often carry the diploma for his B.A. in English Literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in his back pocket, Ahsan is currently engaged and will be wed in August. Throughout his undergraduate career he wrote and edited the campus newspaper, occasionally landing himself on the nightly news or the Missouri State House of Representatives. In addition to discovering every Arab themed restaurant in Chicago’s metropolitan area, he plans to make the most of the coming weeks by indulging his interest in sports, obscure music and writing. He fully expects that after August he will no longer be afforded such luxuries. When asked why he joined CAIR: “I desperately wanted to be a part of a homonym.”

Susan Safiya Stoffel has recently joined CAIR-Chicago to work on the Cafe Finjan program. Cafe Finjan is a series of interfaith arts exchanges between the Jewish and Muslim communities in the Chicagoland area. Safiya converted to Islam in high school and attended Depaul University from 1993 - 2003 on a track and field scholarship. Safiya will be pursuing a Masters in Social Work next spring at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also an active volunteer for both the Special Olympics and the Chicago Boys and Girls club.

Shazia Bux is a first year law student at the Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb. She recently joined CAIR Chicago as an intern in the Communications Department. Shazia was born in India but has been raised here in the US. She has lived all over the country but primarily grew up in upstate New York where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Shazia would like to practice civil rights and public interest law after graduating from law school. She currently lives in DeKalb with her husband and three children.



Are you an Undergraduate or Graduate Student Looking to Earn College Credit While Interning at CAIR-Chicago?
 
CAIR-Chicago is currently offering 11 internship opportunities. All internships are unpaid, but students may receive college credit. Applicants need to email a resume and cover letter to Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator, at: outreach@cairchicago.org.

CAIR-Chicago is offering the following positions for internships:

  • Civil Rights Intern
  • Communications Intern
  • Community Service Intern
  • Governmental Relations Intern
  • Grant Research Intern
  • Marketing Intern
  • Operations Intern
  • Public Education Intern
  • Public Relations Intern
  • Church Project Intern
  • Faith Core Online Magazine Intern


  • Please Contact the Outreach Coordinator for more information on the tasks and duties of specific internships. Call Dina Rehab at 312-212-1520 or at outreach@cairchicago.org
     











    Executive Director
    Ahmed Rehab

    Civil Rights Coordinator
    Christina Abraham

    Outreach Coordinator
    Dina Rehab

    Governmental Relations Coordinator
    Sadiya Ahmed

    Operations Coordinator
    Sabah Ahmed

    Communications Coordinator
    Sultan Muhammad

    Staff Attorney
    Heena Musabji, Esq.


    Board of Directors
    Alif Muhammad
    Ahmed Rehab
    Zaher Sahloul, MD
    Hina Sodha, Esq.
    Yaser Tabbara, Esq. - Secretary
    Mazen Kudaimi, MD - Vice President
    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 1410, Chicago IL 60604
    Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
    Email: info@cairchicago.org, Website: www.cairchicago.org


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