The Chicago Activist | | CAIR-Chicago

feature 349 Congressmen, Civil Rights Leaders Urge Obama to Deliver Immigration Reform
By Kolovic and Parlock | August.04.09

U.S. Representatives Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, and Mike Quigley join civil rights leaders and sign onto letter urging President Obama to take decisive action on comprehensive immigration reform this year.

feature 348

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ABC-7    Chicago Tribune    CBS 2
Associated Press    Daily Herald
Historic Victory for CAIR-Chicago, Arab-American Officer awarded $200K
Sun Times | July.28.09

CAIR-Chicago client, Officer Yasin, said that he feels a sense of relief and vindication. "I served my country in uniform with dignity and honor and felt betrayed that my service would be met by some of my fellows with racial slurs, harassment and ridicule," Yasin said. "This is not what our country is about."

  • Sun-Times: Go beyond stereotypes of Muslims
  • August 3, 2009

  • Chicago Tribune: Valid criticism or vicious stereotypes?
  • July 28, 2009

  • Sun-Times: Why U.S. still needs affirmative action
  • July 27, 2009

  • Sun-Times: Mocked for Arab roots, guard awarded $200K
  • July 25, 2009

  • Associated Press: Jury awards jail guard $200,000 in harassment suit
  • July 25, 2009

  • Chicago Tribune: Cook County Jail officer wins $200,000 in racial harassment case
  • July 25, 2009

  • Daily Herald: Arab-American Cook County officer wins $200,000 verdict for harassment
  • July 25, 2009

  • ABC-7: Officer gets $200K in racial harassment case
  • July 24, 2009

  • CBS-2: Cook County Correctional Officer Abraham Yasin Was Called Names, Had Locker Vandalized
  • July 24, 2009

  • Chicago Tribune: Cook County deputy testifies that he felt 'demonized' by racial harassment
  • July 22, 2009

  • Huffington Post: Racism or Not, Cambridge Police Owes Professor Gates an Apology
  • July 22, 2009


  • CAIR-Chicago to Receive Interfaith Multi-regional Delegation

    August 7, 2009

  • MYLS Participates in Chicago Youth Exchange

    August 12, 2009

  • Ramadan Outreach: Mosque Foundation

    August 29, 2009

  • CAIR-Chicago and MYLS Participate in the “United We Serve” national service campaign

    September 3, 2009

  • Ramadan Outreach: Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines

    September 12 2009

  • Jewish-Muslims Community Building Initiative to Host Holiday Party: Iftar in the Syngogue

    September 13, 2009


  • Media Advisory: CAIR-Chicago Wins Bias Suit for Arab-American Officer
  • July 24, 2009


The following is a partial list of complaints CAIR-Chicago's Civil Rights Department received or worked to resolve from July 11, 2009- July 31, 2009:


• A Muslim man believes his employer is treating him and other Muslim co- workers unfairly due to their religious practices. The employer refuses to allow Muslim employees to attend prayer meetings on Friday afternoons. Friday afternoons are usually reserved for additional hours needed to supplement weekly work quotas. The employees have requested that the make up sessions be moved to another day or time to accommodate their prayers. Their requests have been denied.

• A Muslim woman who works for an outplacement consulting organization advised her supervisor that she needed to refrain from eating during Ramadan. Her supervisor claimed that the woman would not be able to perform her job responsibility of training clients during lunch meetings if the woman did not eat during the meetings. After asserting her need to fast during Ramadan, the woman was ultimately terminated from her employment.


• A Muslim man has waited eight years for a green card. In 2001 his application was approved, however a pending background investigation has hindered the completion of the process.

• An American citizen has been trying to obtain a visa for her husband. The husband currently resides in Algeria. The couple was interviewed shortly after their marriage and has been waiting for a response for over a year. After contacting her congressman the woman was advised to submit additional documents demonstrating her marital unity. The woman complied with the request but has yet to receive a response.

• A Muslim woman was delayed during her travels to Israel at airports located in Illinois, London, and Tel Aviv. The woman was wearing a hijab and believes she was targeted because of her religion.


• CAIR-Chicago continues to receive complaints from inmates housed at different correctional facilities throughout Illinois who are being denied the right to Halal meals. CAIR-Chicago is researching the possibility of filing a class action on behalf of Muslim inmates.


• A Muslim business owner in the Oak Lawn area has been the target of repeated harassment from an Oak Lawn supervisor. Last week the man’s business was allegedly closed by the supervisor based on erroneous accusations. After questioning the unjust treatment, the business owner, his wife, and his seventeen year old son were arrested. Oak Lawn’s supervisor and police staff have a history of racial and ethnic discrimination. CAIR-Chicago is working along side another Illinois Law firm to address the claims of the business owner and other similarly situated Arab individuals residing in Oak Lawn.

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Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Brian Myers is a Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. Currently, he is a student at Depaul College of Law. Brian graduated from Miami University of Ohio in 2008 with a Bachelor's degree in both Political Science and Business Economics. Brian grew up in Northwest Ohio and has travelled to Panama, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, and China. Brian's interests include international economics, civil rights and music.

Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Lola Omoyosi is a Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. She is currently entering her last year at DePaul College of Law in Chicago, IL. As a DePaul student, Lola is a member of the Public Interest Law Society, and Black Law Student Association. Further, she has worked as a volunteer intern for DePaul’s International Human Rights Law Institute, and is the Vice-President for DePaul’s International Law Society. Outside of her DePaul activities, Lola is the co-treasurer for the Lost Boys Rebuilding Southern Sudan NGO. Lola attended Ohio State University where she majored in classical dance while on the pre-medicine track. Lola’s long term goals include a career in civil and international human rights.

Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Maria De Martini is a native of Argentina. She is an attorney in her home country and is now pursuing a law degree at Valparaiso University in Indiana. She is a participant of the School of Law Honors Program and an assistant in the school’s legal research department. Maria first moved to the United States in 2007 and lived in Denver, Colorado, where she volunteered for the County Pretrial Office, assisting in the interview of Spanish-speaking detainees. This experience triggered her interest in public service and civil rights advocacy. She would ultimately like to pursue a career in international human rights, particularly advocating for children’s rights.

Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Kara Grant is a summer Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. She is a J.D. candidate at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Kara attended college in her home state of Texas, followed by work in Philadelphia, Maryland, and Chicago. Her longstanding interests are human rights and language and culture studies, and she is pleased that these pursuits have led her to CAIR-Chicago. Kara previously volunteered with a human rights organization in Haiti and she will continue her study of the Caribbean and Haitian Creole in 2009-2010 as a FLAS Fellow at Indiana University. Kara is on the board of Konbit Pou Edikasyon, an organization funding primary school tuition for Haitian children, and she recently trained as a community mediator.

Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Heather D. Lee is a Civil Rights Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. She is a student at the DePaul University College of Law where she serves as President of the OUTlaws chapter and as a staff writer for the Journal for Social Justice. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, and Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. She is also an intern for the International Human Rights Law Institute, and is currently working on the IHRLI Indigenous Rights Project. Heather graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. Her professional interests include international human rights, LGBT civil rights, and racial equality. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, making new friends, and experiencing different cultures. She is devoted to helping dissolve the generational, class, and racial gaps in society and is excited to be working with CAIR toward these goals this summer and in the future.

Civil Rights Law Clerk - Summer '09

Talha Khan is a law clerk in the Civil Rights department. He holds a Bachelors degree from Indiana University in Accounting and Corporate Finance. Upon graduating, Talha joined Ernst & Young where he served as a financial auditor for many companies, including Fortune 500s. While he enjoyed his time at Ernst he felt he needed a career change. Being a Muslim, and observing the growing divide between Muslims and the West, he turned to a career in law as a way to help bridge this “gap”. Talha enjoys traveling, hiking, watching wild-life in national parks, and running in marathons. He recently ran the Chicago Marathon for the fight against Cancer in Children.

Communications Intern - Summer '09

Mohammad Abdeljalil is a communications intern at CAIR Chicago. He is a student at the University of Chicago majoring in Political Science and Public Policy. Mohammad is from Chicago although he has also lived abroad. His interests include wrestling, international relations, political philosophy, and civilization studies.

Communications Intern - Summer '09

Linda Qatanani is a double major in English and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She has a genuine interest in helping others in any way possible. Linda chose to do an internship at CAIR-Chicago because of their focus on civil rights activism. She takes a special interest in religious and international studies, as well as creative writing. As a passionate writer, she believes that the written word is the most powerful tool in activism. Linda has served on the Shura (board) of the UIC Muslim Student Association (MSA) for two years and takes initiative in helping out other Muslims around her community, whether at UIC or at the Mosque Foundation community in Bridgeview.

Communications Intern - Summer '09

Julianna Parlock is a summer 2009 Communications Intern at CAIR-Chicago. She recently graduated from Purdue University where she majored in History. Julianna chose this internship because of CAIR-Chicago’s commitment to civil rights and dedication to encouraging accurate and positive portrayals of Muslims in the media. She excited to gain experience in civil rights work and journalism. Her professional interests include immigration policy, law, and international human rights. In her spare time, she enjoys jogging, baking, and writing. She plans on attending law school to become a human rights attorney.

Outreach Intern - Summer '09

Matthew Niemi is a Public Education Intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he is majoring in International Studies with a concentration on the Middle East and Linguistics. He spent the Spring of '09 in Egypt, where he studied Arabic and the Middle East at the American University in Cairo. By working with CAIR, Matt hopes to work for a higher level of cooperation and understanding between the multitude of faiths and cultures that converge here in our great nation. Religion, linguistics, cryptozoology, and music are among Matt's chief interests. In his spare time, he leads a ska band called "The Skalalitabs." The name is a pun formed by combining the word "ska" with the anglicization of the Qur'anic Arabic phrase "Ahl al-Kitab" ("People of the Book"), referring to followers of God's revealed scriptures.

Outreach Intern - Summer '09

Zehra Hasnie is a summer Outreach Intern at CAIR-Chicago. She is a 3rd year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Communications. She chose to work for CAIR-Chicago because she is committed to helping others- and felt the best way to do is by helping to coordinate community service events. Zehra feels that the experience she has gained at CAIR-Chicago will take her a long way as she continues her journey through college and the years to come. She enjoys reading and writing in her spare time and her goals in life include rebuilding her childhood mosque, and one day if she’s lucky, becoming a world leader, but as of now she’ll stick to the mosque.

Government Affairs - Summer '09

Tom Skelton is a native of Oak Park, Illinois. He is a senior majoring in History and Philosophy at Saint Louis University and has taken an interest in legal scholarship, particularly in the fields of civil and human rights. For the past two years, his involvement in Saint Louis University’s Amnesty International chapter has taken him to conferences in Boston and Washington DC. Tom has spent the last semester acting as Intake Counselor for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, a St. Louis based non-profit focusing on the protection and enforcement of civil liberties for the general public. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and watching films. Tom is excited to work with CAIR this summer as a Governmental Affairs Intern.

Government Affairs - Summer '09

Chelsea Kress is a summer 2009 Government Affairs intern at CAIR-Chicago. She is a third year student at Boston College, double majoring in Islamic Civilizations and Societies and Political Science. She was recently invited to join the Political Science Honors Program. Chelsea joined CAIR-Chicago for the summer because it is an opportunity to combine these two interests. Last summer, Chelsea was selected to work as a Community Organizer for the “Obama for America” campaign in Allentown, PA. Next spring she will be studying abroad at the School of Oriental and African studies in London, England where she plans to continue her studies of Middle Eastern politics and Arabic. Outside of school, Chelsea is an avid dancer and is a member of the Dance Organization of Boston College.

Government Affairs - Summer '09

Danyah Wafa is a summer 2009 Government Affairs- Policy Research Intern at CAIR-Chicago. Born and raised in the Midwest, Danyah currently attends Michigan State University and is majoring in International Studies with a focus in Political Science. As she embarks on her second year, she hopes to bring what she learns from CAIR-Chicago to become more involved in civil and human rights issues on an international level through policy analysis relative to the Muslim world, as well as nationally and locally. Danyah chose to intern at CAIR-Chicago because of her admiration for their work to challenge the injustices Muslims in America face. She feels it is important to work towards awareness and justice for all of humanity.

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Executive Director
Ahmed Rehab

Civil Rights Director
Christina Abraham

Developement Coordinator
Dina Rehab

Government Affairs Coordinator
Reema Ahmad

Operations Coordinators
Azam Azeem

Cultural Sensitivity Speaker
Veronica Zapata

Communications Coordinators
Reem Rahman
Amina Sharif

Staff Attorney
Kevin Vodak, Esq.

Outreach Coordinator
Gerald Hankerson

Youth Coordinator
Mokaram Rauf

Administrative Assistant
Islaam Rahim

Board of Directors
Emaad Hamwi
Ahmed Rehab
Hina Sodha, Esq.
Yaser Tabbara, Esq. - Secretary
Mazen Kudaimi, MD - Vice President
Safaa Zarzour, Esq. - President

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