Joint Press Release: Chicago Area Groups Unite in Condemning Congressman Kirk’s Recent Call for Discrimination

(Chicago, IL, 11/11/05) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced today that a coalition of 25 diverse Chicagoland-based organizations have joined forces to issue a joint statement in response to recent controversial comments made by US Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL,10th District) in which he said: “I’m OK with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states.” On Wednesday, CAIR-Chicago, joined by representatives of the coalition, representing 10th district constituents, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) lodged a formal request for a meeting with Congressman Kirk. No response from the Congressman’s office as of yet.

Statement Text:

Congressman Mark Kirk’s comments which sanction large-scale, systematic discrimination as a viable way to bring about security are both irresponsible and misguided.

In the United States of America, it is illegal to practice discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. No foreign threat should ever lead a publicly elected representative to sabotage this fundamental pillar of our democracy, nor to sanction measures that are outlawed by our very constitution.

Across-the-board security measures along with targeted intelligence, and not shots in the dark, are the surest ways to thwart terror.

We demand that Congressman Mark Kirk retract his endorsement for what is an illegal policy and issue an apology to members of his constituency who were compromised by his comments.


Signatories: The Chicago Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago); the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR); the Chicago Chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC); the Arab-American Action Network (AAAN); the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA); United Power for Action and Justice; the Archdiocese of Chicago – Office of Hispanic Ministry (Vicariate I); Korean American Senior Center, Lake County, Mt. Prospect and Chicago; Korean American Community Services; Korean American Resource and Cultural Center; United Methodist Church – Northern Illinois Conference; Indo-American Democratic Organization; Muslim Bar Association of Chicago (MBA); Arab-American Bar Association of Illinois; Holy Family Catholic Church in Waukegan; Asian American Bar Association of Chicago; National Arab-American Medical Association of Illinois; South Asian Progressive Action Collective; Filipino Civil Rights Advocates (FilCRA)- Chicago chapter; City of Chicago Mayor’s Advisory Council on Arab Affairs; The Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, 312 212-1520, 847 971-3963;, Yaser Tabbara, 312 718-3725;