CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif gave a presentation to a DePaul University class on February 23. Sharif’s presentation covered topics such as understanding the Muslim-American community, ethnic diversity and socioeconomic levels.
Sharif showed the class demographic research on Muslim-Americans to remove common misconceptions. Many students were shocked to learn that only 15-20% of the total population are Middle-Easterners.
While speaking to the class, Sharif noted that Muslims are one of the most highly educated in the nation. She surprised students by saying that Muslim women have a higher employment rate and education level than the national average for women. Along with that, Muslim-American women are more educated than Muslim men in the country.
Sharif engaged in a discussion with the class about the struggles that Muslim-Americans face today regarding discrimination and negative portrayal of Muslims, especially in the media.
Sharif described the work that CAIR-Chicago does on behalf on Muslim Americans to fight injustice and oppression against the Muslim community. She described how the communications department worked with media monitoring to locate articles with bias or inflammatory comments and respond to those articles. Her department also deals with contacting media outlets to highlight positive aspects of the Muslim community.
The presentation was held at DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus to a class of about 30 students. Sharif has spoken to Professor Istanbouli’s classes in the past as well and says she looks forward to doing so again in the future.