The “i” in our acronym stands for “Islamic”; we believe that is one incredibly high standard to live up to.
From the onset, CAIR-Chicago has aspired to work hard and smart to be an organization that is deserving of that standard, and that does the entire Chicago community proud.
CAIR-Chicago is a not-for-profit organization registered in Illinois. CAIR-Chicago functions as an independent organization that sets its own strategy and goals.
Over the years CAIR-Chicago has vigilantly held itself to the following ideals:
- Credible: Gain the trust and respect of all involved.
- Consistent: Our level of motivation and productivity should not waiver with time. The attention given to the various areas of our work should be even.
- Professional: Level-headed, objective, presentable, attractive.
- Proactive: Create programs that predict and preemptively challenge potential problems.
- Omnipresent: Our presence and our programs should enjoy high exposure both with members of the Muslim community, the general public, the media, and government.
- Targeted/Focused: Well-defined problem areas and solutions.
- Transparent: What you see is what you get.
- Efficient: No redundancies. Putting the right people in the right place at the right time.
- Egalitarian/Fair-minded: Reach out to support non-Muslims who face similar grievances as our own, or who see similar values to our own being challenged.
- Accessible: Easy to find and reach whether by members of our community, or by members of the media.
- Sincere: What fuels our work is not personal ego or a hidden agenda, but a genuine desire to effectuate positive change.
At CAIR-Chicago, we wish to avoid being a traditional organization; rather, we make an effort to enlist maverick approaches in our work.
Firstly, we leverage the potent power of the youth and volunteer base in our community. We have set up a powerful system to recruit and place interns and volunteers in the right place at the right time leading to maximum efficiency. We take into consideration each volunteer’s talents, set of skills, and interests and then place them accordingly in a project, so that it is simple plug-and-play. This also makes interning and volunteering with us enjoyable for them and not merely a chore. We regard them as community activists, and not simply interns or volunteers. We believe in clearly defined goals for each project, and setting milestones so that progress is tangible and measurable.
Secondly, we wish to bypass conventional barriers that have plagued our community in the past. We wish to dissolve the generational, class, and racial gaps by stressing the common aspirations and challenges that face us all. Huge progress has been done in bypassing such barriers in the first few months of our recent inception. We are especially keen to see the gap between the transnational (mostly Arab and South Asian) and indigenous (mostly African-American) Muslim communities dissolve.
We also are very vigilant in avoiding potential pitfalls that usually create tension and rifts in the Muslim community, such as dogmatic disagreements between religious currents or schools of thought. We are not a religious organization in that we don’t issue decrees, nor interpret religious text for the people. We are a community services organization and as such we wish to serve with integrity and professionalism any party that sees itself as Muslim. A clear and dominant theme in our work is inclusion.
CAIR-Chicago is a different kind of organization. Its track record over its short years of operation since 2004 showcase fulfilled promises and speaks of a bright future.
We hope that we can work together.
– CAIR-Chicago Team