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Executive Director to Graduate CAIR-Chicago

Yaser Tabbara, CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director is set to vacate the position effective April 1st, 2006. Yaser has been in the position since August of 2004, a period which has witnessed tremendous growth and success for the organization.

Tabbara joined the organization as its only staff member when it was operating out of a small room in Hickory Hills. Today, the organization is housed in a spacious downtown office and is comprised of 6 fulltime staff members, 22 interns, and over 30 active volunteers. CAIR-Chicago’s annual budget has expanded considerably to help the staff meet the growing need of the community’s civil rights, media, governmental relations, and outreach work.

“I fully agree with Yaser when he credits our rapid success to the support of the community, after the grace of God,” said Ahmed Rehab, current Director of Communications and incoming Executive Director, “but I would be remiss if I failed to recognize Yaser’s unique contribution to this success in the form of his unflinching leadership.”

“Yaser has long advocated building institutions that last beyond individuals. He has been a vociferous advocate of cultivating the right talent for the right job within an organizational business model that is self-sufficient, systematic, and robust.”

“During the past year and a half, Yaser has inspired me and others with his vision and resolve,” said Rehab. “Since we joined forces with Safaa Zarzour, Chairman of the Board, and the CAIR-Chicago team, we have made it our goal to build a professional institution with streamlined processes and measurable, attainable milestones. Yaser has helped us do just that, and now he feels it is time for him to move on. It has been a great run.”

An attorney by trade, Tabbara brought to CAIR-Chicago a solid track record of community activism. 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.

“Our community is fortunate to have committed members like Yaser Tabbara who put every iota of their concentration into the professional activism that they administer on its behalf,” said Safaa Zarzour. “When we hired Yaser, he made it clear, that his goal was to help get the institution up on its two feet and then move on, and I have watched him work tirelessly towards that end. On behalf of our board, staff, and constituents, I thank him for his invaluable services.”

Tabbara will remain on CAIR-Chicago’s board; he has not yet decided what his next professional move will be.

Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah

On Monday March 6th, CAIR-Chicago and community members attended a vigil at the Chicago Federal Plaza to peacefully protest the closed hearings determining the admissibility of torture induced confessions in the Muhammad Salah case. Over one hundred participants attended, showing their support for Muhammad Salah and his family despite the cold and wet conditions outside during the weekday vigil. The vigil took place from 10am to Noon, as community members and activists walked silently around the center of the plaza carrying signs of protest and white balloons.


In the News
  • The State Journal Register: Another leaves hate crime panel
  • March 9, 2006

  • Associated Press: Hamas case testimony continues out of eye of public, press
  • March 8, 2006

  • Bozeman Daily Chronicle: We're obliged to protect the fundamental right of free speech
  • March 8, 2006

  • Socialist Worker Online: Protesting anti-Muslim cartoons “Standing up against hatred”
  • March 8, 2006

  • Who CAIRs about non-Muslim typecasting onscreen?
  • March 2, 2006

  • In The Loop: Prophet Cartoon Controversy Addressed at John Marshall
  • February 26, 2006

  • Kerala News: Sensitivity cannot always ordain silence
  • February 26, 2006

Media Response System [visit center]
Press Center
  • Press Statement on Muhammad Salah's Case
    March 3, 2006

  • Muhammad Salah Press Conference
    March 2, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Participates in Public Truth Hearing for Muhammad Salah
  • March 11, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Promotes Active Civic Participation
  • March 11, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Meets with DHS
  • March 10, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Assists Muslim Immigrant Detainee
  • March 9, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Attends Candidates Forum for Illinois 3rd Congressional District Primary Elections
  • March 9, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Meets with 6th Congressional District Democratic Candidate Christine Cegalis
  • March 7, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Helps With Racial Profiling Legislation
  • March 6, 2006

  • Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah
  • March 6, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Represents Woman at Unemployment Benefits Hearing
  • March 3, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Delivers Qurans for Muslim Detainees at McHenry County Jail Interview
  • February 28, 2006

  • Chicago Muslims Meet with Ambassador of Denmark to the United States
  • February 27, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Meets with Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • February 24, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Files Complaint with Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Alleging Bias
  • February 24, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Represents Muslim Man in FBI Interview
  • February 24, 2006

Recent Events

  • Public Truth Hearing

    March 11, 2006

  • ICNA Save the Family Conference

    March 11, 2006

  • March against H.R. 4437

    March 10, 2006

  • Understanding Islam: Presbyterian Church of Western Springs

    March 8, 2006

  • Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah

    March 6, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Communications Director to Give Khuthba At DePaul University

    February 24, 2006

  • Understanding Islam: Second Unitarian Church of Chicago

    February 23, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Director of Communications to address Legal and Logical Considerations of the Prophet Cartoons

    February 21, 2006

  • Citizenship Delay Workshop at Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs

    February 19, 2006

  • Public Hearing for the Governor’s Racial Profiling Taskforce

    February 18, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago to Hold Voter Registration at Mosque Foundation

    February 17, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Externship Recruitment at John Marshall Law School

    February 15, 2006

  • Director of Communications to address UIUC Cartoon Controversy Forum

    February 14, 2006


Civil Rights Update – 3/10/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 365 cases documented in which 137 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.


  • A Muslim woman employed at a local residential home has experienced discrimination and harassment from co-workers. The woman has experienced comments such as “Where is Saddam?” from fellow co-workers. Conversations with her direct supervisors have not led to any change in her treatment. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action deemed necessary to resolve the issue.
  • A Muslim man has reported discrimination as he has been overlooked several times for different promotions. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action appropriate to resolve the issue.
  • A Muslim woman reported harassment by co-workers and supervisors at her job. The woman reported the harassment to the CEO of her company, but so far nothing has been done in response to her complaint. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the woman’s complaint and will advise her as to her available options.

  • A Muslim man reported disparaging portrayal of a family member by a local station. The local station aired a story about the man’s family member, linking him to terrorism. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action appropriate to resolve the issue.
  • A Muslim man experienced harassment from security guards at a hospital. The security guards treated the man as a security threat from the moment he stepped inside the building. CAIR-Chicago is investigating the complaint and will take whatever action appropriate to resolve the issue.
  • CAIR-Chicago received a copy of a union newsletter sent out to correctional officers, in which an article expressed racist attitudes about Arabs and Muslims. CAIR-Chicago has requested more information from the complainant and will work to resolve the issue to ensure that correctional officers are not acting out of bias toward Muslim inmates or other Muslim correctional officers.
  • Twelve 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 due to pending background checks. CAIR-Chicago is incorporating these two cases into the Citizenship Delay Project. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below.
  • Several police officers entered the apartment of four Muslim men, first announcing themselves as police officers in search of a former roommate. The officers entered at 5:30 in the morning, while some of the men were in the middle of their morning prayers. One of the officers pulled a resident out of his prayer, insisting to speak to him right at that moment, unwilling to wit until the gentleman finished his prayer. One of the police officers then identified himself as an immigration officer, and proceeded to ask the residents questions about their immigration status. The officers searched the home and confiscated some materials, not having presented any warrant. Some of the documents taken were later found outside of the apartment building in a paper bag with the name of one of the residents written on it, but not all of the items taken have been returned. CAIR-Chicago called the officer claiming to be an immigration officer and discussed the matter with him. CAIR-Chicago has also filed a complaint with the police department. The incident is currently under investigation. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take whatever action deemed necessary to resolve the issue.
  • A fourteen year old high school student wearing the Muslim skullcap (kufi) was attacked by another student at his high school. The attacker has been disciplined by the school. CAIR-Chicago is currently working with the school to conduct sensitivity training sessions for the faculty.
  • Muslim female students at a local high school are not being accommodated in gym class. Many of the students wear jilbab, a Muslim woman’s dress, along with the headscarf (hijab). CAIR-Chicago will reach out to the school and offer sensitivity training to its faculty and staff.


View reports of ongoing progress for cases with the Civil Rights Department in the “Progress Report” section.


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

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 .

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.

  • Volunteers Needed on Election Day!

    March 21, 2006

  • Help Mobilize the 3rd Congressional District!

    March 16, 2006

  • Early voting is here!

    March 06, 2006

  • Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah

    March 06, 2006

  • Help Mobilize the 3rd Congressional District!

    March 16, 2006

  • Volunteers Needed on Election Day!

    March 21, 2006

  • Understanding Islam: St. John's Episcopal Church

    March 26, 2006

  • Discussing the Controversy of the Danish Cartoons

    April 4, 2006

Job Announcement: Communications Coordinator  

CAIR-Chicago is seeking a motivated, eloquent self-starter to fill the fulltime position of communications coordinator which is available immediately - opportunity for job growth within two years depending on performance.

Job Responsibilities Include:

The new hire will work closely with the Executive Director on matters relating to the media, message marketing, and public communication. S/he will be responsible for maintaining and further cultivating relationships with media personnel, drafting and sending press releases and action alerts, as well as maintaining active databases and an online archive of communiqués. S/he will also coordinate letters-to-the-editor and commentaries, and conduct interviews and press conferences.

Minimum Qualifications:

A college degree (Communications/Public Relations/Journalism or related field preferred), detail-oriented, good interpersonal and organizational skills and the ability to work in a team. The ideal candidate will possess superior communication (both verbal and written) skills, a solid understanding of issues relating to Islam, and an outgoing and proactive disposition. IT savvy candidates with a working knowledge of HTML are strongly preferred.


  • CAIR-Chicago provides a vibrant work environment that operates within the cutting-edge paradigm of professional Muslim activism.

  • CAIR-Chicago offers complete health and dental benefits for its full-time employees. Salary range is based on education, skills and experience.

  • Applications will be accepted thru March until position is filled.

All those interested and eligible to work in the US (citizens or proper work visa holders) are encouraged to apply with a comprehensive resume stating education, work history, references, along with copies of relevant academic certificates to:

Human Resources
28 E. Jackson Ave – Suite 1410
Chicago, IL 60604

PHONE: 312 212 1520
FAX: 312 212 1530

(When applying via email please ensure to write the position title in the subject of the email.)

Volunteers Needed on Thursday, March 16!
Help organize & mobilize the Muslim community! The Illinois Primary elections are on March 21 and the races are heating up! CAIR-Chicago has one week more to continue to mobilize the Muslim community.

We need 8-10 volunteers to take part in a mass phone banking effort on Thursday, March 16 from 6 PM- 9PM at the CAIR-Chicago office.

Come make a difference, remind people to cast their ballots, and enjoy free food!

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, contact Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at or at 312-212-1520.

Volunteers Needed on Election Day!
Volunteers are also needed to knock on doors on Election Day! This year’s primary is very important for the Muslim community and we need to mobilize to and get out to the polls! CAIR-Chicago’s Governmental Relations Department is looking for volunteers to encourage people to vote on Tuesday, March 21, 2006!

Interested individuals, please contact Sadiya Ahmed at or at 312-212-1520.

CAIR-Chicago Welcomes New Activists to the Team

Sumiah Aduib is a senior at Columbia College Chicago where she is pursuing a bachelors degree in print journalism and a minor in Literature. As an aspiring journalist, she has joined the CAIR team as a Communications Intern to get exposure and experience in her field of study. Sumiah is an avid reader who enjoys working out, writing, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband of two years, family, and friends. She is also an active volunteer at the Mosque Foundation as well as the Muslim Youth Center in Bridgeview.

Nathan Wells is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago as an undergraduate student majoring in political science with a minor in international studies, and is considering a legal career in International Law. He is also completing his seventh year as a Sergeant in the Army National Guard after a 15 month deployment to Iraq. Nathan has joined CAIR-Chicago as a Civil Rights Intern because of his interest in the Islamic faith and to take an effective role in countering the mistreatment of the Muslim community caused by misinformation and stereotypes. Nathan plays the violin, breakdances, DJ's, plays percussion, competes in mixed martial arts, tries to learn Urdu and is often referred to as a funny guy.

Become a Political Organizer & Earn Class Credit!

Want to help mobilize the Muslim community? Want to gain experience in the political field? Want class credit for doing what you like?The Governmental Relations Department is currently recruiting interns and volunteers for the historical political mobilization initiative, Project O. If you would like to help organize and mobilize the Muslim community or learn more about Project O, contact Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at

Are you a Law Student Looking to Earn Credit While Externing at CAIR?
Extern will work closely with CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director and Civil Rights Coordinator on the following:

  • Assist in documenting incidents of religious discrimination by counseling and interviewing complainants regarding their incidents

  • Research laws and policies on employment, student conduct, and immigration procedures, as well as criminal offenses and other areas as seen fit

  • Legal writing: drafting arguments, memos and complaints

  • Participate in representing complainants in dispute resolution, EEOC mediation, filing complaints and law suits

  • Assist in maintaining the Civil Rights Online Center

  • Updating databases containing information about abuses reported to CAIR-Chicago The ideal candidate should be organized and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks. The ideal candidate will possess excellent written communication skills and a commitment to serving the community.

  • This is an unpaid externship. Open to all law students.
    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: .

    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

Executive Director
Yaser Tabbara

Director of Communications
Ahmed Rehab

Civil Rights Coordinator
Christina Abraham

Governmental Relations Coordinator
Sadiya Ahmed

Outreach Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Operations Coordinator
Sabah Ahmed

Legal Advisor
Maria Mozaffar

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


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: , Website:

Please email your comments and suggestions to If you have received this email directly from
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The Chicago Activist is a publication of CAIR-Chicago
17 N. State St., Suite 1500, Chicago IL 60602
Phone: 312-212-1520, Fax: 312-212-1530
Email: , Website: