“Hate crimes are their own class of crime for a very good reason: The enhanced classification and punishment deters people from criminally acting out on their bigotry. It is the government’s obligation to its citizens to take a no-tolerance position on such crimes,” writes Ahmed Rehab.
On Friday, November 27th, Muslims all over the world and in America will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations. Each year, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go for the Hajj pilgrimage. This Islamic holiday is called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice” and it commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s faithfulness in willing to sacrifice his son (who was then spared) at God’s command, an important historical event in Christianity and Judaism as well.
A critical mind is a terrible thing to waste according to CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, who spoke at the American Islamic College on November 19. As a speaker for the event “Islamic Intellectualism: Promoting a Critical Mind,” he clarified to participants that Islam strongly encourages intellectual inquisitiveness and creative problem solving.
“Ironically, if those who are viscerally opposed to the sight of a hijabi actually took the time to look at the facts of her life, they may realize that hijabis make for a positive stereotype worthy of their admiration rather than a negative one they ought to fear,” writes Ahmed Rehab.
Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he could not recall when any American retailer mentioned the holiday in its ads. “It makes perfect business sense to acknowledge and celebrate a holiday that one out of four people celebrate,” Rehab said.
Two more CAIR-Chicago clients were recently sworn in as United States citizens after enduring years of difficulties and delays. With the assistance of the Civil Rights department, they received a response from the government and obtained their citizenship.
“More Muslim women like Abusumayah need to speak up,” said Amina Sharif. “If you keep quiet, the bigotry will only continue.”
“Usually after incidents like Fort Hood, there tends to be a spike in hate crimes,” said Christina Abraham. “Current events cause people to act out in bigotry.”
Two days after the Fort Hood shootings, a Tinley Park, Ill., woman grumbled about the massacre and tugged the headscarf of a US-born Muslim woman, Amal Abusumayah, standing in line at a local grocery store.
Mayor Daley presented Zarzour with the 2009 Arab Heritage Month Award for Outstanding Contributions to Chicago’s Arab Community and commended him for his exceptional community service.
“I am truly honored to receive this recognition on behalf of a dignified community from a city I am proud to serve,” said Zarzour.
CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham and Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak presented on the state of civil rights in post 9-11 America at an event entitled “The War on Terror and the Rights of Muslims,” sponsored by the American Constitutional Society (ACS).
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