CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Yaser Tabbara, and CAIR-Chicago Director of Communications, Ahmed Rehab met February 1st with DePaul University President, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, and DePaul University Vice President of Student Affairs, James R. Doyle.
The parties discussed ways in which DePaul’s Muslim students can be assured a discrimination-free atmosphere and in which they are not made scapegoats for the general stigma surrounding Islam in post 9/11 society.
DePaul University is the home of many Chicago-area Muslim students of all ethnic backgrounds. Both Tabbara and Rehab are graduates of DePaul University Law School and CTI Graduate School respectively.
The Rev. Holtschneider reiterated the university’s commitment to diversity and the special needs of minorities stressing that the university’s policy is to empower students of all ethnic backgrounds from within as the foremost way to fight potential vulnerability.
Both parties agreed on the importance of striking a sensitive balance between vigorously opposing inflammatory speech and demeaning expression that debases students or their faith, and upholding the sanctity of free speech and expression.
Tabbara and Rehab discussed the need for special cultural sensitivity training for university professors and staff on Islam & Muslims. CAIR is the nation’s primary provider of cultural sensitivity literature designed specifically to address the issues and concerns of Muslim minorities in the US. An agreement was reached for CAIR-Chicago to officially advise the university on this matter. CAIR-Chicago will provide specially designed brochures to be incorporated in the existing literature used for staff orientations.
Vice President Doyle will reconvene with CAIR-Chicago at a later date to explore potential collaborative initiatives between the two entities through which their shared values for promoting understanding and tolerance can materialize.
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