CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Yaser Tabbara and Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham met with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Dorothy Brown, to discuss a case involving racist and derogatory comments made by courthouse employees about Arabs, and retaliation against an employee for coming forward to investigators about the incident.
The incident was reported to CAIR-Chicago in April, and involved a Muslim man overhearing the comments while conducting business at the courthouse. Comments such as, “The only good Arab is a dead Arab,” were heard being said by four courthouse employees. Upon hearing of the incident, CAIR-Chicago immediately contacted courthouse officials regarding the problem, and an investigation by the Cook County Circuit Court was initiated as a result. It was later reported to CAIR-Chicago that courthouse employees were encouraged by supervisors to lie to investigators about the incident, being told, “Say whatever it takes to make the problem go away,” so that the four employees involved would not get into trouble. When an employee who had overheard the comments being made came forward to investigators about what the incident, she experienced severe retaliation by supervisors and co-workers, even receiving anonymous death threats.
CAIR-Chicago will continue to work with Ms. Brown in order to ensure that all employees involved are disciplined appropriately and that courthouse employees are trained to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner to all visitors of the courthouse, despite their race or religion.
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