Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg profiles Chicago’s diverse Muslim community in time for the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
Community and religious groups will protest in downtown Chicago on Friday after a Muslim man found his father’s grave desecrated at an Evergreen Park cemetery, an apparent act of vandalism that follows two other incidents targeting Muslim institutions.
Christian and Jewish figures in Chicago joined a coalition of Muslim groups Friday in denouncing a comment by U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who told a town hall gathering Wednesday in Elk Grove Village that some radical Muslims in this country are “trying to kill Americans every week.”
“It’s a stupid decision morally and a stupid decision economically,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations Chicago. “They need to acknowledge their error and that they got duped by right-wing bigots, apologize and resume their ads.”
CAIR, which advocates for religious freedom and civil liberties in the Muslim community, also maintains that Irshad officials tried to pursue remedies for the permit refusal through normal administrative channels before filing the federal suit.
Kevin Vodak, the attorney arguing the case for CAIR and Irshad, was pleased overall with the ruling.
CAIR-Chicago filed two complaints in circuit court today against the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The complaints were filed on behalf of a Muslim family that was barred from entering a children’s water park last year because of their clothing.
“American Muslims are not a threat to this nation,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The threat to this nation is those who would divide us based on race, faith or ethnicity because those are the ones who undermine our values.”
Vandals defaced an exhibit by Muslim graduate student Anida Yoeu Ali at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on Tuesday. The exhibit, which addressed racial profiling and the rise of violence and hate directed at Muslims in the post-9/11 era, was defaced with large caricatures and a word bubble highlighting the text “Kill all Arabs.”
CAIR-Chicago is advocating on behalf of Ali. Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham accompanied Ali yesterday in a meeting with the deans of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
See media coverage of the incident HERE
The work, titled “1700 Percent: Otherance,” features racist statements written across a white wall. Ali said the piece seeks to bring attention to hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As part of the evolving display, Ali and other artists have read aloud the words and also stained them with a mixture of tea, coffee and ink, Ali said.
“My column on the Council on American-Islamic Relations drew the expected range of response,” writes Neil Steinberg. “There was much castigating me as a “useful idiot” blind to the gathering Islamic peril (one reader recommended a book by Brigitte Gabriel that’s actually called They Must Be Stopped, which sounds like the title of a 1950s B-movie about giant ants).
“But there were a surprising number of thoughtful, warm, humane responses, and not just from Muslims grateful to seeing themselves depicted as human beings.”
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