Reem Rahman, CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator, is leaving us to pursue a Masters in Management Research at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom this fall. In her more than two years at CAIR-Chicago, Reem has served CAIR-Chicago and our constituents with undying passion and resolve. Read more here.
Read Reem’s reflections below.
By Reem Rahman
It has been an honor to work with CAIR-Chicago and CAIR-UIUC for the past few years. My time with CAIR ended as it began – with the launch of exciting new initiatives guided by a commitment to “professional activism.”
I first encountered CAIR as a student chapter at the University of Illinois (UIUC); it met the critical need of young Muslims to channel frustration about stereotypes, discrimination, and disagreement over national and foreign policy into constructive efforts to influence positive change. As the first student chapter of the largest American Muslim civil rights group, we focused on four core areas: interactive education, media activism, civic engagement, and community outreach.
It marked the start of my commitment to creating institutions that foster a healthy identity for Western Muslims as productive citizens dedicated to strengthening society as a whole.
My time at CAIR-Chicago proved no less of an incubator for innovative change. As the Communications Coordinator, I was humbled to have the opportunity to add balance to the public discourse through virtually every communications medium possible. These experiences as an activist played a critical role in shaping my interest in my upcoming field of study – management and organizational behavior.
Organizational development is an extremely important subject to gain an expertise in because I believe one of the greatest challenges facing my generation of Muslims is to build institutions that serve the holistic needs of society. Broadly speaking, while preceding generations excelled at building mosques as our places of worship, it is now our role to build these spaces as centers of community, and to build institutions that can allow the Muslim community to fully reach its potential as vibrant contributors toward a healthy, civic society. For example, our questions are no longer just: where will we have a place to pray on Friday? But also: what programs do we need to inspire excellence in our youth? It’s not: What kind of dome will we put on our mosque? But what type of solar panels will allow our mosque to be models for energy efficiency?
Our Prophetic guidance urges us to take a principled lead in addressing the most pressing issues of our time in areas such as such as economic development, education, the environment, and human rights – and we cannot take the lead without effective institutions.
Thank you to the community, whose investment and support makes CAIR-Chicago’s work possible in the first place. I am also grateful for the humbling diversity of staff, interns, and volunteers who continue to join together for a common passion: to protect civil liberties, promote mutual understanding, fight bigotry, and mobilize Muslim communities to fully contribute to our democracy.
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