INTERFAITH COALITION TO RESPOND TO REVOCATION OF POLICE MUSLIM CHAPLAINCY

(CHICAGO, 06/22/10) — On Wednesday, June 23, the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) together with an interfaith and community coalition will hold a press conference responding to a recent decision by the Illinois State Police (ISP) to revoke a chaplaincy position previously extended and confirmed for Imam Kifah Mustafa, a leading Chicago Muslim cleric.

The ISP had previously hired Imam Kifah as the first and only Muslim chaplain for its workforce after the completion of its standard thorough background check. Shortly after news of Imam Kifah’s hiring, the ISP revoked its decision citing an internet report attacking Imam Kifah that was written and distributed by Steven Emerson, an anti-Muslim blogger who has a well-known reputation for fighting against American Muslim civic participation.

WHAT: Press Conference on ISP’s Revocation of Imam Kifah Mustafa’s Chaplaincy
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23, 11:00AM
WHERE: Downtown Islamic Center. 231 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60604-1901
WHO: CAIR-Chicago, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC: 50 member organizations), The Mosque Foundation, The Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), The Chicago Coalition to Defend the Bill of Rights (CCDBR), United Power.

“The ISP’s decision to rebuke Imam Kifah’s chaplaincy position based on innuendo from a well-known Islamophobe is abominable. Unfortunately, this episode of exclusion is part of a larger trend of fear and smear campaigns that Muslim leaders seeking to be civically active in their communities often face these days. It is shameful that the ISP would give in to what are frivolous guilt-by-association polemics peddled by a discredited anti-Muslim lobbyist like Steven Emerson,” said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director.

CAIR-Chicago’s Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham stated that a legal team is seriously considering a lawsuit, details of which will be announced at the press conference. “The subjective attacks against qualified Muslim leaders who are unfairly denied an opportunity to serve in their own country as equals to their peers because of pressure from Islamophobic circles is simply wrong and must be put to a stop,” Abraham said. “Enough is enough.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its 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