The Chicago Activist | | CAIR-Chicago

By Christina Abraham

December 4, 2006

Roosevelt University and the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) recently agreed to settle a dispute between them that was scheduled for arbitration. Douglas Giles, the adjunct professor at the center of the issue who was terminated earlier this year for teaching about Zionism in a World Religions course, cannot disclose details of the settlement but says he is very happy with it.

CAIR-Chicago considers the settlement a symbolic victory for Giles, RAFO and for academic freedom.

Giles was terminated after his department chair learned that the text book he was using to teach his World Religions class, one used widely by universities, had a section on Zionism in its chapter on Judaism. Although Zionism was not listed as a topic for discussion in Giles' syllabus, he did entertain questions and discussion by students in class about Zionism.

Giles states that the department chair later criticized him for allowing the discussion, claiming any discussion of Zionism opened Judaism up for criticism. The department chair also allegedly criticized Giles for allowing Muslim students to speak, and referred to Palestinians as "animals."

Upon learning of the incident, CAIR-Chicago began organizing on Giles' behalf. Attorney Rima Kapitan also represented Giles on matters related to his dispute with Roosevelt, working closely with union attorneys.

CAIR-Chicago will continue to advocate on behalf of students and professors whose academic freedom rights are compromised, and is reaching out to other organizations and individuals to help accomplish that goal.

copyright © 2006, CAIR-Chicago


November 30, 2006

Recently, CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, was on a "transatlantic dialogue" tour of the UK where he was a guest on the BBC World's flagship program, HARDtalk.

HARDtalk, hosted by the BBC's veteran foreign correspondent, Stephen Sackur, is a fast-paced and confrontational current affairs program that reaches hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. It is recorded live in the BBC studios in London.

The following are excerpts from the interview as well as the video and the full program transcript. Stay tuned for Rehab's UK report coming soon!

Click here to read the full Transcript (Compiled by Shadtha Blan)

Click here to watch the interview (BBC Website)

Transcript Excerpts:

"…We don't want to have special rights as Muslims living in America, but equal rights to everybody else! And that is the foundation of our civil rights work... "

"..the whole idea is for us to focus on the goal, and the goal is to respect the rule of law. As a civil rights activist - Muslim or not - my goal is to hold my government accountable where it makes mistakes to tell it: "the rule of law should reign supreme..."

"…Other communities have been challenged. But every time, the challenge has an opportunity within it. I want to take advantage of that opportunity. Each cloud has a silver lining; I focus on the silver lining – you know, the glass half full as opposed to half empty - to try to make something positive out of the situation…"

"…I think the bigger problem, both for the government and for the mainstream American society, is that they fail to differentiate between the domain of Islam and the domain of terrorism. They may intersect at certain areas, but they're definitely not concentric and the problem is when we deal with them as if they were one and the same."

"…the first thing if you want to empower your community is: to talk about shedding the victim mentality. We cannot look at the world through the lens that we are victims who have been mistreated here and there. Although that may be true, we may have suffered certain racist acts, or come from countries that suffer post-colonial economic crisis, so on and so forth, that isn't our focus. We're aware of it, but our focus is to the future... "

"I cannot look at the American flag and think only of these strategic errors in terms of foreign policy and forget that we are the leader in terms of scientific advancement, medicine, space exploration, so on and so forth - great things that we have given to humanity. I see America as a whole, and as such I can say that I am proud to be an American while reminding myself that I can challenge the problems in our foreign policy through the legal channels of America..."

Original BBC link ("A US Perspective"): hardtalk/6148652.stm

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 0330 GMT 0830 GMT 1430 GMT 1830 GMT 2330 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 0430, 2330 and 0230

copyright © 2006, CAIR-Chicago

  • HARDtalk Interview with Ahmed Rehab (Transcript)
  • HARDtalk Interview with Ahmed Rehab (Video)
  • BBC News: a US Perspective


November 27, 2006

Listen to Broadcast
(Sultan Muhammad)
Watch ABC7 News Coverage
(Ahmed Rehab)

National debate sparked concerning religious and racial profiling of American Muslims following the detainment of 6 Imams and the subsequent refusal of US Airways to allow the men to rebook flights to their destination, despite having cleared FBI security screenings on Monday November 20th.

Imam Omar Shaheen, spokesperson for the 6 Imams, and the national spokesperson for US Airways, Andrea Rader, were interviewed by Amir Haq and CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator, Sultan Muhammad, for Radio Islam.

The show aired in Chicago on Saturday November 25th, with Andrea Rader's interview pre-recorded due to scheduling conflicts. During the interview Imam Omar Shaheen commented on Rader's statements and voiced resolve concerning the profiling and discrimination toward Muslims in America, stating "enough is enough."

Saturday night's interview proved to be highly revealing. Andrea Rader, US Airway's national spokesperson, tells Radio Islam, we "messed up," the incidents were "unfortunate," and we are "very sorry that these gentlemen felt that they had been treated in an undignified or unfair way."

Radio Islam is on WCEV 1450 AM Monday through Sunday from 6pm to 7pm. Under the umbrella of Sound Vision Foundation, launched its first show December 14, 1999 with the goal of providing informative and creative Internet and broadcast radio programming.

copyright © 2006, CAIR-Chicago

  • Radio Islam: Interview with Omar Shaheen and Andrea Rader
  • ABC VIDEO: Imams detained in Minneapolis
  • 6 Imams Removed From Twin Cities Flight (AP)
  • US Airways Statement Regarding Flight 300

CAIR recently dealt with another case involving US Airways and its refusal to transport a Muslim passenger following a similar incident.
  • Detained Muslim Accuses Airport of Bias

All of the detained Imams, several of whom are from Arizona, were in Minnesota to attend a conference of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF). A representative of the FBI was invited to attend the conference. SEE:

The American Islamic Association (AIA)

By Dina Rehab

November 23, 2006

The American Islamic Association (AIA) is located in Frankfort, Illinois. The construction, built on 14 acres of land, includes a prayer hall, classrooms, a banquet hall, and a fully equipped kitchen. The AIA serves approximately 150-200 families from several suburbs, including: Frankfort, Tinley Park, Olympia Fields, Flossmore, and Orland Park.

"You can gauge attendance on days like Eid," stated Dr. Afzal Ahmad, Chairman and founding member of the AIA. "Approximately 900 people pray at the AIA on Eid. Sunday school is another way to measure attendance, which doubled from 55 students to 110 in October 2005."

Mosque congregants are predominantly of south Asian descent; with roughly 60-70% from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 20% are of Middle Eastern descent; from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. The remaining 10% are African American.

The birth of the AIA came with the need to educate the community's youth, and to provide them with a permanent place to socialize in a communal spirit. In the 1970s, 10-15 Muslim families gathered regularly at the Frankfort school gymnasium. After being denied access to the facility, the families moved their gatherings to the Tinley Park facilities. Identifying the need to locate a permanent facility, the AIA was incorporated in 1979. In 1983, the 14 acre land in Frankfort was purchased.

The first home to the AIA was a house, currently located on the 14 acre property. The house was used as the AIA's main facility from 1983-1988, when it became too small for the growing population. From 1988 to 2005, the mosque congregants convened in the hangar (a shed used for the housing or repairing of an airplane), also located on the 14 acre property. After the new building was opened in 2005, the hangar was later converted into classrooms.

The entire AIA facility cost 2.2 million, of which 1.7 million were in-house donations. The remaining balance is a no interest loan which the AIA continues to pay off.

Programs & Services
The AIA is home to a variety of services which include a Friday sermon and prayer (with approximately 150-200 attendees each week), a Sunday Islamic school (grades are per the child's level of knowledge; ages 6-17), and a monthly evening guest lecture series (with approximately 50-150 attendees).

Other programs and services include: adult Arabic language classes - once a week; adult tajweed classes (Quran recitation classes) - five times a week; Hadith (a collection of prophetic sayings and actions) and Quran classes - five times a week; food pantry collections in collaboration with IMAN, charity distribution, performance of Nikah (religious wedding ceremony) and funeral services; and an annual Mawlad Al-Nabawi (birth of the prophet) celebration.

As an institution that primarily concerns itself with the development of its youth, the AIA is holding an intensive winter retreat for high school and college students. The weekend retreat will include a variety of lectures and discussion sessions.

It's part of the AIA tradition to serve refreshments every Friday after Friday prayers. This seems to enhance the communal spirit, already present, as congregants socialize over donuts and coffee.

"It's a very pleasant experience and something I look forward to every Friday," Naila Jeddy stated while sipping her coffee. As a congregant who has been attending Friday prayers at the AIA since the building opened its doors in 2005, Naila continued: "Khutbah [the sermon] is always really good, and after Namaz [Friday prayer], they have religious classes about different issues".

"For me, it's great!" said Mohammed Sayeed who has been frequenting the AIA on and off since its early beginnings. "I get to see my family members and meet new people".

The Board
The board currently has 17 members of which 8 are life-time trustees and 9 are rotating members. Rotating members are selected every 3 years by the existing board members. The term of rotating members are staggered so that every year 3 members drop out and 3 members come in.

Current board members include: Dr. Afzal Ahmad (Chairman), Tahir Abbassi, Khalid Baig, Imtiaz Hamid, Babar Hussain, Tariq Khan, M.K.H. Mohajir, Saif Nazir, Mohammad S. Baig, Khaja Basheeruddin, Amy (Kawther) Chabaan, M. Qasim Choudry, Sakhawat Hussain, Ahmad Kamal, Khalid Mozaffar, Yakub Patel, and Ala Shalabi.

When asked about why there is only one female board member out of seventeen, Dr. Ahmad responded: "We had two female board members last year, and plan to add two more next year. It has unfortunately been our experience that the women are timid and don't come forward. Also, contribution and attendance have not been equitable in the past."

Dr. Ahmad further added that this was not true of sister Chabaan, whom he described as an active board member.

As an institution that was originally built with the children and youth in mind, AIA's short-term goals is in line with that same original spirit. "Our focus is to get our children and our youth more and more involved", said Dr. Ahmad. "We are trying to start different activities for them, such as social projects", he added.

The AIA plans on starting a day care as well as a regular elementary school where children can also memorize the Quran. A more long term goal involves building a Muslim convention center on the remainder of the 14 acres; "It's a dream", Dr. Ahmad added. (But isn't that how all realities begin?)

A passionate activist, Dr. Ahmad believes that a resourceful community, such as the Muslim community, can contribute to their own enhancement in many ways. He explained that donations, although needed, are not the only means to show support. He encouraged members of the Muslim community to contribute intellectually and to take charge of their own hopes and desires.

Although recognizing the many strengths of the Muslim community, Dr. Ahmad shared some feelings of frustration, "The community feels comfortable; with no desire to do more or to further their own agendas…very timid, very docile".

Dr. Ahmad encouraged members of the Muslim community to utilize their resources to its full potential; to inspire and be inspired; and to take action.

Those who wish to contribute to the AIA's short-term or long term plans can do so by contacting Dr. Afzal Ahmad, or by attending the AIA's upcoming fundraising dinner on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006.

The event will take place at the AIA's banquet hall, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Guest speaker is Imam Siraj Wahhaj. For more information, please call Br. Tariq Khan at 708-903-0875.

Dina Rehab is CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator; contact her at for more information on the Open Mosque series.

copyright © 2006, CAIR-Chicago

  • American Islamic Association Photos
  • Short clip from Friday prayer: November 17th, 2006
  • Official Website of the American Islamic Association

By Jill S. Browning

November 21, 2006

For many parents, the decision isn't easy

Michelle Olson isn't aware of it yet, but she's headed for a double dose of Sunday school.

The 4-month-old's mother, Susan Olson of Downers Grove, is a member of the Catholic Church and her father, Eric Olson, is a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist. As a married couple, Susan and Eric have attended services together in both churches each and every Sunday. So far, they aren't planning to change their routine just because of the birth of their first child.

Michelle was baptized in the Catholic Church, but the couple plans to expose her to both faiths, hoping to blissfully blend the Catholic CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes with Christian Science Sunday school. "We're going to teach her both and let her decide for herself what she wants," says Susan. "I don't want to force my religion on anybody."

While the Olson family has a plan in place (at least for now), the question of faith presents a common conundrum for many families. Action plans conceived at the wedding altar sometimes shift once kids become a reality, often leading parents back to their religious roots-or to a new faith entirely. No matter what kind of spirituality a family has, nurturing it can give kids a sense of community, an expanded support system and a sense of purpose outside of their own family.

Baby, bring me back

Religious leaders report that it's common for kids fresh out of high school to wander away from their faith in an attempt to explore and define their own core beliefs. Throughout college and early adulthood, many young adults aren't affiliated with any organized religion. (Saturday night fraternity parties and Sunday morning services are often mutually exclusive events.)

"But when they have kids, they discover that they want their children to be raised in a community of faith, too," says Christine Chakoian, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.

Rabbi Peter Knobel, of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, agrees. "When people have children they begin to think very differently about their own lives," he says. "The first thing they want to do is they want some kind of ritual to identify the child with their tradition and their faith." He says that having children often leads parents to think about how they will create and define a meaningful faith environment for their family.

Facing interfaith

What makes this quest for a commitment a special challenge, of course, is when you don't share the same faith as your partner-and you must decide between baptism or bris. While many manage to meet, marry and reproduce with someone who shares their same faith, love doesn't cooperate as neatly for everyone.

Lombard residents Becky and Matt Kirsh were raised in different faiths: Catholicism and Judaism, respectively. A priest and a rabbi joined forces to bless their wedding in a Catholic church, but after the glass was broken the couple wandered away from any religious affiliation until a life-changing event happened: They had a baby.

Matt's a divorce lawyer who's witnessed his fair share of broken homes, and the couple decided they needed to have religious consistency as a bond for their own kids. "A friend of ours who's a priest ... said to us one night ... 'I don't care what you raise your kids but pick-pick something. You've got to give them something,' " Becky recalls.

They took his advice and, since Becky was deemed more committed to her faith, the first three kids were baptized Catholic. After a few years and for a variety of reasons, the family eventually switched to the United Church of Christ. Becky's pleased that Matt eventually became a member, and today serves as one of the leaders in the church.

Deciding on a single faith for the family can be a brave, bold move. "Good parenting really requires adults to make some important decisions, and those decisions I understand to be very difficult, but I think parents need to set the parameters for the children," Knobel says.

Says Chakoian: "Children who are raised in a religious tradition have a much easier time later in life discerning their own faith. Adults who have had no religious background have a hard time connecting with any religion or deciding what they believe."

Community counts

The Kirsh family feels more connected to one another and part of a community as a result of joining their new church. For instance, they're active participants in mission projects the church sponsors, including supporting the homeless. They also are looking forward to having their kids participate in youth groups as they start to hit the teen years.

The family has formed friendships with fellow congregants, which they feel directly benefits the kids by exposing them to people with moral compasses similar to their own. "We've found some intergenerational older senior friends there that are filling an amazing void for us and our kids," since the kids' grandparents aren't often available, Becky Kirsh says. "It's congealed our philosophy in life with our church life to have these friends that we've made all the way from 80 years old down ... You don't find that anywhere else, and our kids are part of that."

Worldly vantage

Beyond the fellowship and friends, becoming more spiritual or choosing a faith can help give the kids a global perspective and appreciation in our ever-changing world.

"It helps children to know that they belong to something much bigger than themselves and their immediate family," says Chakoian. "Every faith tradition provides a sacred story in which we live, a set of practices by which we form meaning, some cherished values under which we live."

Communications coordinator at the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago, Sultan Muhammad is the father of two sons, ages 4 and 2 [and 2 daughters]. He and his wife, Naadhera Rodriguez Muhammad, are Muslim (she converted after being raised Catholic). When his boys see him and his wife pray five times a day, it makes quite an impression on them. "It tends to be an equalizer, in that there's something that is beyond the authority of Mom and Dad," says Muhammad. He explains how the hierarchy of authority within his family and faith teaches his sons how to deal with the broader human community. "Issues of respect, issues of tolerance and forgiveness are very key to building the character in children at an early age," he says.

Preach? Prepare to practice

For the Muhammad family, the five-times-a-day prayer requirement of Islam is a concrete way of showing their kids their beliefs. For others, it might be reading from the Bible or praying before meals or bedtime.

While these rituals are important symbols of faith, they're not the end-all, be-all. "What I encourage parents to do is to look at how they're living their spirituality. It's not the ritual and the ceremony so much as the day-to-day part of it," says Don Camp, administrator of Family and Children's Services at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Camp is a minister and former chaplain. "In some ways, it's easier to take a child to a service than to think that they're observing your spirituality day in and day out," he says.

Strengthening ties

One parent who "walks the walk" and demonstrates her commitment to faith to her three sons is mom Lynne Shapiro of Deerfield. Shapiro says that growing up, her family was Jewish culturally and celebrated all of the holidays and attended services, but she had little formal Jewish education. "All of my Jewish friends where I grew up did go to Hebrew school and Sunday school and had bar or bat mitzvahs," Shapiro says. "When I was young, I felt lucky that my parents didn't send me, but as I got older, I felt that I was missing something."

Today as an adult, she's studying with a rabbi and is trying to learn Hebrew-which as an adult, she claims, isn't easy. Even so, she says she feels like she's learning more about her own spirituality through the process.

So that her sons don't feel as if they'd missed out like she did, Shapiro sends her boys to Hebrew school and Sunday school. Her 10-year-old son, Wiley, says he has learned a lot by attending both schools and feels proud to be learning a language that's been around for thousands of years. (Although he admits that it seems like it's taking thousands of years to learn it, since he's spends more than six hours a week in class.)

The cycle of faith

Parents can make decisions about their family's faith fate, set an example for the kids and live out those beliefs (sometimes by dressing-and then dragging-their kids to service), but they never know what the future holds.

"As adults, children will choose to do what they choose to do," Knobel says. "The child grows up-the child will make his own decision no matter what we do."

Shopping for spirituality?

Even if you have your faith all figured out, it can be tricky to find the right place to practice. Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston suggests making a list and prioritizing what's most important to you. When choosing a place to call your faith home, consider:

Worship times and schedules. Do you want a choice between three services on Sunday-and maybe even a Saturday evening option? Or is it acceptable if a smaller congregation offers just one service, giving you a chance to meet more members?

Proximity to home or school. Is the commute to the church/temple/mosque doable? Do you plan on making trips during the week? If so, is being closer a necessity?

Congregation demographics. Do your fellow congregants need to be family and established friends, or are you comfortable praying with strangers? Do you want your kids to worship with schoolmates or neighborhood friends?

Clergy philosophy and personality. Are you inspired by contemporary thinkers or comforted by a more traditional approach? Are the leaders welcoming?

Children's programming. How do the programs for kids of all ages-from nursery time for infants to youth groups for teens-stack up? Will the educational opportunities meet your expectations?

Outreach projects. How does the congregation give back to the community? Do mission programs and social action projects match your own beliefs?

Immerse yourself in a prospective faith home by attending worship services and classes, checking out their Web site and joining in on a mission project. Ask to be put on a mailing list to receive the church newsletter, which will help you better understand the people-and if it will be a good fit for your family.

copyright © 2006, Chicago Parent Magazine

  • Chicago Parent Magazine Article

In the News
  • BBC World: Ahmed Rehab on the BBC’s HARDtalk (Transcript/Video)
  • November 30, 2006

  • NBC 5 News: Executive Director Comments on the Pope's Visit (Transcript/Video)
  • November 28, 2006

  • ABC7 News: CIOGC/CAIR-Chicago on Pope’s Turkey Trip (Transcript/Video)
  • November 28, 2006

  • Radio Islam: Sultan Muhammad and Amir Haq Interview US Airways National Spokesperon, Evicted Imam
  • November 27, 2006

  • Chicago Tribune: Readers' faiths merit discussion
  • November 27, 2006

  • ABC 7 News: Imams detained in Minneapolis (Transcript/Video)
  • November 21, 2006

  • Chicago Parent Magazine: Deciding the fate of faith
  • November 21, 2006

  • The Phoenix: A hateful hoax: LUC student cleared of charges
  • November 21, 2006

  • Medill News Service: Al Jazeera draws hundreds to fledgling online cable network
  • November 15, 2006

Media Response System [visit center]
  • The Facts Are All We Need (In Response to an Article in the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • November 21, 2006

Press Center

  • Media Advisory: CAIR-Chicago Reacts to Imams Evicted From US Airways Flight
  • November 21, 2006

  • Roosevelt University Settles in Adjunct Professor's Academic Freedom Complaint
  • December 4, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Represents Muslim Woman in Mediation at EEOC
  • November 30, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Represents Another Muslim Man Experiencing Citizenship Delay in Court
  • November 28, 2006

  • Beauty School Muslim Student Harassment Ends
  • November 22, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Represents Muslim Man in Citizenship Re-Interview
  • November 21, 2006

Recent Events

  • Muslim Journal Annual Dinner: 'A Time to be Grateful'- Executive Director to Introduce Congressman-Elect Keith Ellison

    December 2, 2006

  • CAIR-Chicago Co-Sponsoring Civil Rights Panel Discussion

    November 30, 2006


Civil Rights Update – 12/04/06

The Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago currently has 665 cases documented in which 266 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 who wears the headscarf (hijab) was hired as a doctor at a hospital in Wisconsin. Per the hospital’s usual practice, they announced their new employee in the local newspaper, which included a picture of the woman. After the announcement was printed, the woman received hate mail at the hospital telling filled with derogatory comments about Islam and about her. CAIR-Chicago advised the woman to inform her employer of the letter and will monitor the situation to see if any threats follow this letter.
  • A Muslim man was ejected from a Greyhound bus three years ago, after he had prayed before boarding the bus. The man was ejected because the bus driver was not comfortable with his presence on the bus, and called law enforcement. Law enforcement detained the man overnight, but did not charge him with any crime. CAIR-Chicago is assisting the man in determining whether there was any negative information placed on his record as a result of the incident, and is looking into any possible legal remedies available.
  • Thirteen 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 cases into the Citizenship Delay Project. For more information on the Citizenship Delay Project, please see the action alert below.
  • A Muslim man was harassed by law enforcement and accused of funding terrorism through his businesses. After charges had been brought against the man, the court dismissed the case, holding that all the charges against the man were unfounded. However, the man’s two businesses had to be closed after law enforcement told his customers that he was using his profits to fund terrorism. CAIR-Chicago is assisting the man in pursuing legal action against the law enforcement agencies responsible.
  • A Muslim man left a Macy’s department store when he was pulled over by a local police officer who told him that the store reported he was using a stolen credit card. The Muslim man volunteered to show the officer his receipt, credit card, proof of identity, and the merchandise in his possession, to clear up any confusion. After seeing that the credit card the man had used was not stolen, the officer accused the man of stealing. The man then allowed the officer to look through the merchandise in his possession to see that there was nothing stolen. The officer then accused the man of planning to steal, at which point he issued the man a mere warning citation with no fine. CAIR-Chicago is investigating this complaint and will take whatever action necessary to address the behavior of the officer.
  • A Muslim man was traveling from Frankfurt to Chicago and was subjected to an extensive search in Frankfurt, Germany. The airport personnel told the man that he was selected at random. However, the man noticed that of all the passengers on the flight only he and another Arab man were subjected to the search. After the search, the man traveled back to Chicago, and was delayed 1/2 hour at the airport. The man believes he was profiled and wanted to document this case with CAIR-Chicago.
  • A Muslim inmate is being denied acceptable food per Islamic rules (halaal), prayer rugs, and Friday Congregational Prayer Services (jummah). He also reported that a prison guard took a Quran and dropped it on the floor deliberately to anger the inmate. This is one of several Muslim inmates from the same institution who has reported being denied religious accommodations.

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 or

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 immediately. It is important for Muslims who have faced this type of treatment to join the lawsuit so as to show that it is not an isolated case. The more people that join the case the more strength it will have to force positive changes in how Muslim Americans are treated in the future at our borders.

Also, if you are being consistently delayed, detained, or have otherwise had your rights violated while traveling, 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.

  • FBI / Muslim Community Illinois Townhall

    December 9, 2006

  • Outreach Coordinator to speak on Islam at St.Paul's Church

    February 25, 2007

  • Executive Director to Speak at upcoming Global Issues Forum at Benedictine University

    March 14, 2007

CAIR-Chicago's Third Annual Event is set to take place Inshallah on Sunday, February 11th, 2007 at The Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. Please mark your calendars and show your support by attending that day.

We are recruiting volunteers to help with this event, If you are interested in helping a chapter of the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in the country, please contact our event planner at .
The Muhammad Salah Trial is in Session

The trial is open to the public. Your courtroom attendance is encouraged.


The Muhammad Salah Trial is of immense importance for supporters of anti-torture, due process, and rule of law. It is marks the first case that an American court has allowed the prosecution of an American citizen based on an admission obtained under torture in a foreign country and in a language the defendant does not understand. Mr. Muhammad, a long time Chicago-land resident, was arrested, tried, and jailed for several years while administering charitable aid to victims of the war-ravaged Palestinian territories. He was accused by the Israeli government of supporting terrorism. For many observers, the Muhammad Salah case amounts to political persecution.

This Week's Schedule:

  1. Thursday Morning Session
    December 7th
    8:45 am - 12:00 noon
  2. Thursday Afternoon Session
    December 7th
    1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
  3. Friday Morning Session
    December 8th
    8:45 am - 12:00 noon
  4. Friday Afternoon Session
    December 8th
    1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

You can leave any time during the trial, but you can get in only during breaks.


Courtroom of Judge Amy St. Eve
Room 1241
Dirksen Federal Building
219 S. Dearborn (intersection of Jackson &Dearborn) - Chicago

For more information, email:
CAIR-Chicago's Muslim Activist Website

Are you an Undergraduate or Graduate Student Looking to Earn College Credit While Interning at CAIR-Chicago?

CAIR-Chicago, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is currently offering 18 new internship opportunities. CAIR is the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization. The organization's mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

All internships are unpaid. Internships last one semester and include a 12-hour/week commitment. Applicants should email a resume and cover letter to Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator, at: .

clearly indicate which internship opportunity you are applying for in your cover letter. If you are applying for more than one position, please list in order of preference. All spring applications are due by December 17th (please note: spring internships usually run from January through May). Applications that do not list the above information will not be processed. If you have any questions, please email all inquiries to . Students interested in receiving class credit, should indicate so in their cover letters. Credit will be arranged during the first week of the academic semester.

Listing of all internships by department:

Civil Rights:
LAW CLERK (Open to Law Students Only)


Governmental Relations:




Our Civil Rights Department handles cases that range from prejudiced gestures to full blown discrimination. Our clients are Muslims as well as non-Muslims who have had Islam imputed upon them.

Interns and Law Clerks may work on any of the following projects:

Citizenship Delay project - seeks to address the lengthy delays Muslims are facing in applying for citizenship
Police Misconduct project - addresses incidents where police officers have discriminated or used excessive force against Muslims
Prison project - secures the rights of Muslim inmates to practice their religion freely, and ensures that inmates are treated humanely
Airport Profiling project - helps Muslims who have been discriminated against at airports
Employment Discrimination project - helps Muslims discriminated against based on religion at the workplace.

Intern will work closely with the Civil Rights Coordinator and staff attorney on resolving cases of discrimination reported to CAIR-Chicago.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • 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
  • Assist in maintaining the Civil Rights Online Center
  • Updating databases containing information about abuses reported to CAIR-Chicago
  • Organized and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks
  • Excellent written communication skills and a commitment to serving the community
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CIVIL RIGHTS LAW CLERK (Open to Law Students Only)
Extern will work closely with the Civil Rights Coordinator and staff attorney on resolving cases of discrimination reported to CAIR-Chicago.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • 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
  • Organized and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks
  • Excellent written communication skills and a commitment to serving the community
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Our Communications Department monitors the local media closely and flags coverage of issues relating to Islam and Muslims. The Department also holds Press Conferences and issues press releases, media advisories, and story pitches in order to ensure that Muslim perspectives on pressing issues and current events are represented in the mainstream media.

Intern will work closely with the Communications Coordinator on projects and/or daily tasks per CAIR-Chicago's organizational needs.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Work on pieces that deconstruct sensational and biased coverage of issues pertinent to Muslims and Islam. The purpose is to flag such pieces, to highlight their inaccuracies, and to offer thoughtful analyses that diffuse misconceptions.
  • Students work will be published and featured in a variety of ways:
a. Published as letters to the editor and as perspective pieces in Chicago's main newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, Sun Times, Daily Herald, and Daily Southtown, as well as community papers, Final Call and Muslim Journal

b. Submitted to fourteen community newspapers published by the Southwest News Messenger

c. Published on the CAIR-Chicago website as well as other well-traversed websites such as Media Monitors (archived by Google)

d. Featured in the upcoming Chicago Media Review Blog (to be launched)

The targeted audience of these pieces is the general American public readers of the main Chicagoland newspapers and web surfers. Journalism students preferred.

  • Interns will work on long term research projects assisting with the development of qualitative and quantitative reports, such as the Chicago-Tribune Review, analysis of the Chicago-Tribune's coverage of Islam and Muslims over the year and the Barnes and Nobles Shelf Study, analysis of the proportion of books available on Islam and Muslims.
  • Interns will participate in BLOG Watch, where major BLOGs are monitored and responded to, so as to address inaccuracies and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Proficient with Windows XP, Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Explorer
  • Proficient with internet research
  • Experience with general administrative support a plus
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Intern will work closely with the Communications Coordinator on this new initiative which seeks to build bridges of dialogue and understanding between the Muslim community and other Chicago religious communities.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Assist in public speaking engagements at different religious centers in Chicago
  • Research Chicago religious communities and current religious and political issues on the international, national, and local levels
  • Speech writing
  • Community relations
  • Knowledgeable about international, national, and local religious and political issues, and comparative religion
  • Experience and comfort with public speaking, engaging with diverse faith perspectives, and articulating a Muslim faith perspective.
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Intern will work closely with the Communications Coordinator on Faith Core, a new biweekly journal, which seeks to provide an open forum for thinkers of diverse backgrounds to share faith-based reflections on a common theme.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Editing and soliciting articles to be published in Faith Core
  • Community relations
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Knowledgeable about comparative religion and contemporary religious issues
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Intern will work with CAIR-Chicago's Executive Director, coordinators, and team members to create visual messaging for web display, campaigns, and presentations

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Provide photo coverage to document CAIR-Chicago's activities and events
  • Coordinate schedule to ensure that events are covered from start to finish
  • Capture proceedings, activities, and event highlights to convey event theme
  • Upload pictures for organization and archiving purposes
  • Take general photographs to portray routine, relevant organizational processes
  • Identify key figure and themes to assist with captioning and photo layout
  • must have a flexible schedule to accommodate weekends and evenings
  • access to appropriate equipment preferred
  • a portfolio illustrating previous experience and work desired
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Our Governmental Relations Department seeks to organize, mobilize, and empower Chicagoland's Muslim community with long-term civic participation. Its educational initiatives help community members understand the political system and utilize it to work for their issues. Projects include voter registration drives, community workshops, "know your rights" educational campaigns, and training sessions at mosques and community centers on how to contact and engage local and national politicians. The department also systematically works to educate local political representatives about their Muslim constituents while ultimately engaging these representatives with the Muslim community's unique issues and concerns.

Intern will work closely with the Governmental Relations Coordinator with projects and/or daily tasks within the scope of CAIR-Chicago's organizational needs.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Updating and maintaining departmental files
  • Contributing written pieces to “The Mobilizer” (the Governmental Relations Blogs)
  • Running errands outside of the office as needed
  • Update voter files
  • Occasionally assisting in legislative and/or electoral research
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Power Point)
  • Self starter and ability to multitask
back to internships listing

Intern will closely with the Governmental Relations Coordinator and Political Organizer to recruit volunteers for the 2006 voter mobilization effort.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Develop comprehensive strategy to recruit volunteers for political campaigns
  • Assist the political organizer in coordinating volunteer activities in the Bridgeview area
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to be used across Muslim communities for political volunteer recruitment
  • Create a centralized database of volunteers to be used in the future
  • Be familiar with the Muslim community
  • Have experience in working with mosque leadership
  • Be familiar with the Bridgeview area
  • Have previous experience in recruiting volunteers/working with large groups of volunteers
back to internships listing

Intern(s) will work with the Governmental Relations Coordinator to develop creative educational material for the Muslim community.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Develop voter education materials to distribute to the Muslim community
  • Research new civic education materials to be distributed to the community
  • Assist in planning civic duty 101 classes for mosques and local area community centers
  • Assist in establishing communication with elected officials' personnel to obtain information as needed
  • Self starter and ability to multitask
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications
  • Outgoing and able to communicate with offices of elected officials
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Intern will work with the Governmental Relations Coordinator to develop CAIR-Chicago's position on all relevant legislation and policies.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Research new legislation relevant to CAIR-Chicago
  • Assist the Governmental Relations Coordinator in analyzing current and proposed legislations
  • Developing detailed analysis for internal use
  • Occasionally working with other intern(s) to develop educational materials for the Muslim community
  • Strong background in research
  • Strong writing and verbal skills
  • Self starter and ability to multitask
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The Operations Department manages a variety of tasks and processes in order to facilitate the maintenance and improvement of daily functions within the organization and its constituent departments. Internally, this includes HR related tasks, updating organizational records and files, corresponding with government offices and vendors, IT support, and directing incoming communication via email and phone to their respective departments.

The Operations Department also coordinates HTML and graphical composition for the creation of printed materials, website updates, and email campaigns. The Operations Department performs ongoing research and undertakes special projects designed to improve CAIR-Chicago's function and efficiency.

Intern will work with the Operations Coordinator to assist clients and facilitate requests from external partners, agencies, and organizations.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Understand scope and implementation of functions within CAIR-Chicago
  • Serve as the first point of contact for all internal departments
  • Document incoming requests for demographic analysis
  • Coordinate efforts between departments to resolve incoming requests
  • Direct and assist media, legal professionals, clients, and general public with relevant information
  • Assist with general administrative work as needed
  • Candidate must be detail oriented, possess a high level of awareness and initiative
  • Must display an accommodating, professional image and demeanor
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must display a high level of reliability and resourcefulness
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office products, e.g. Word, Excel
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Intern will assist the Operations Coordinator with projects and/or daily tasks within the scope of CAIR-Chicago's organizational needs.

Duties are dependent upon candidate's skill sets and may include the following responsibilities (other duties may be assigned):
  • Provide orientation and support for office staff and interns regarding office protocol and procedures.
  • Audit existing records, files, databases, and web material
  • Research applicable equipment grants, offers, and reimbursement programs.
  • Provide assistance with a variety of daily and periodical tasks, including donation processing, file organization, and compiling information.
  • Create procedure logs to document CAIR-Chicago's profile, current procedures and new protocols.
  • Business and accounting majors are encouraged to apply.
  • Ideal candidates will possess strong problem solving skills and the ability to handle a variety of challenges.
  • Strong oral & written and interpersonal skills required.
  • Proficiency with MS Word, Excel, and the ability to learn internet applications to document, organize, and perform work assignments.
back to internships listing

Intern will work closely with the Operations Coordinator to support the office LAN and assigned application based data projects.

Duties are dependent upon candidate's skill sets and may include the following responsibilities (other duties may be assigned):
  • MS Access Database development
  • Network Management and Troubleshooting
  • Maintaining office computers running Windows XP
  • Providing helpdesk support for CAIR-Chicago Staff, interns, and volunteers
  • Independently researching solutions for developing network and application needs
  • Intern/Volunteer will be expected to help train staff, interns, and volunteers with basic Desktop Support to help build their skills Document solutions for future reference and training
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Familiarity with MS Office applications, Windows XP
  • Ability to research and implement solutions to new problems
  • Hardware maintenance skills
  • Knowledge of freeware resources
  • Ability to work independently and without supervision, to complete assignments, and communicate solutions to problems effectively with team members.
back to internships listing

Intern will work closely with the Executive Director on projects and/or daily tasks within a focus on organizational needs.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned).
  • Corresponding with organizations & individuals on behalf of the Executive Director
  • Logistical planning for the Executive Director's speaking engagements / Events/ Business Travel
  • Daily office assistance: answering & making phone calls / scheduling / typing letters / writing emails
  • Filing / data entry / sorting mail
  • Research and reporting
  • Conducting out-of-office projects
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Power Point)
  • Working knowledge of the Internet / E-mail
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Self starter and ability to multitask
  • Dependable and trustworthy
back to internships listing


The Outreach Department seeks to forge mutually beneficial partnerships with local and national institutions. It also works to foster an understanding between Chicago's Muslim and non-Muslim communities via educational collaborations. Lastly, it recruits and pairs the right talent (volunteers and interns) with the appropriate CAIR-Chicago projects.

Intern will work closely with the Outreach Coordinator on establishing or maintaining relations with Chicago-based organizations on issues that are of CAIR-Chicago's scope.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Research organizations that overlap with CAIR-Chicago in scope
  • Meet with representatives of various organizations in the Chicagoland area
  • Conduct Intro to CAIR-Chicago presentations
  • Maintain appropriate files and databases
  • Maintain Online Partners Page
  • Design promotional materials for different events and different audiences
  • Publicize CAIR-Chicago events
  • Post events to appropriate websites and list serves
  • Manage the CAIR-Chicago Publicity Committee
  • Friendly, outgoing and self-motivated
  • Strong organizational and multi-tasking skills
  • Excellent critical thinking and visual skills
  • Demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure
back to internships listing

Intern will work closely with the Outreach Coordinator or Cultural Sensitivity Trainer on developing educational material on Islam and Muslims, as well as coordinating and/or conducting presentations on topics relating to Islam.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Create educational material on Islam and Muslims
  • Create a speaker's bureau database on topics relating to Islam
  • Conduct presentations on topics relating to Islam (training provided)
  • Coordinate workshops relating to Islam, as needed
  • Organized, multi-tasked and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Possess excellent oral and written communications skills as well as the ability to do extensive research
  • Familiar with Excel, Access and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Ability to integrate graphical software within Power Point presentations
  • Education, Middle Eastern Studies, and Religious Studies majors preferred
back to internships listing

Intern will work closely with the Outreach Coordinator on maintaining both the internship and volunteerism programs of CAIR-Chicago.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Assist in setting up for-credit internships for undergraduate and graduate university students by completing the appropriate paperwork and maintaining the necessary databases
  • Conduct presentations on the importance of volunteerism and discuss existing volunteer opportunities at CAIR-Chicago within the Greater Chicagoland area
  • Direct volunteers and liaisons as needed
  • Plan and coordinate social outings for volunteers
  • Assist in developing CAIR-Chicago volunteer gear
  • Follow-up on new volunteer applications using SmartFTP (training will be provided)
  • Maintain Online Volunteer Center Blackboard (training will be provided)
  • Friendly, outgoing, and demonstrate strong leadership skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Detail-oriented and excellent organizational skills
back to internships listing

Intern will work closely with the Outreach Coordinator on managing the Muslims Care project: a national initiative which promotes volunteerism.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
  • Plan and coordinate 1-2 community service events per month
  • Work in conjunction with other Chicagoland organizations on monthly community service events
  • Publicize events to CAIR-Chicago constituents
  • Attend events and report back to the Outreach Department
  • Friendly, outgoing, and demonstrate strong leadership skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Detail-oriented and excellent organizational skills
back to internships listing

Dina Rehab is CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator, she can be reached via email at

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.

Legal Advisor
Maaria Mozaffar

Community Organizer
Haady Taslim

Sensitivity Training Coordinator
Veronica Zapata

Board of Directors
Alif Muhammad
Ahmed Rehab
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: , Website:

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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: