Letter to the Sun-Times Re: ISIS in Chicago

A letter to the editor as sent to the Chicago Sun-Times by CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab:

Accurate Headlines Are Helpful


Tuesday’s headline from the Chicago Sun-Times, “ISIS in Chicago”, was not only sensational but inaccurate and misleading. A more accurate headline would have been: “A Chicagoan in ISIS?” (The added question mark underscoring that it is as of yet an allegation, not a finding).
 
If the Sun-Times wanted to have a more intelligent public conversation about this story, they would perhaps go with “ISIS on the Internet.” The Chicago teen, a lone wolf, was allegedly recruited on the internet, according to the FBI complaint, with no mention of recruiters acting in Chicago or ISIS operating in any way in Chicago. This story is indeed as much about the reach of the internet as anything.
 
This is not to take away from my obvious concern about this development as a Chicagoan, a Muslim, and a community leader (read servant). But it is to question the role irresponsible reporting has in whipping up frenzies and to ask whether the editors’ role is to properly inform readers — or to simply sell the paper.
 
However way you spin it, one Chicagoan acting alone, via the internet, under the radar of his parents let alone his community, does not an “ISIS in Chicago” make.
 
Ahmed M. Rehab
Executive Director
CAIR-Chicago