PRESS RELEASE: CAIR-Chicago Outraged by Governor’s Halt of Syrian Refugees

(CHICAGO, IL., 11/16/15) – The Chicago office of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) expressed outrage today at Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to halt the relocation of Syrian refugees to Illinois.
After a string of devastating terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon, and Egypt attributed to ISIS over the past few weeks Gov. Rauner joined several other Governors in declaring that Illinois will suspend taking Syrian refugees who are fleeing the Assad regime and ISIS, sighting that one of the Paris attackers entered Europe in the recent wave of refugees from war-zones. In fact as mentioned, what Gov. Rauner and others are missing is that refugees driven from Syria are fleeing violent extremists like the ones that committed the Paris attacks. Statistically, the vast majority victimized by terrorist groups purporting to act in the name of Islam are Muslims.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled Syria due to the world’s inability to find a political solution to the conflict, the U.S. has resettled less than 2,000 Syrians (although the Obama administration has signaled that Syrians will be the largest resettlement community in the U.S. in 2015-2016).
Since 9/11, the U.S. has resettled ~784,000 refugees. Since then exactly 3 have been arrested for planning terrorist activities (0.000004%).
In a statement today CAIR-Chicago emphasized:
“Mainstream Islam universally condemns all acts of terrorism and when politicians attack Muslim and Arab communities they relieve pressure that is needed to confront extremist minorities.”
“Islam has been around since antiquity,” said CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “It is on six continents and followed by close to a quarter of humanity of every nationality. Terrorism is a modern phenomenon, a political violent tactic employed by many ideological groups of various political and religious backgrounds. To conflate the two is clueless and dumbs-down the debate wherein no one wins and everyone loses. Governor Rauner’s decision is an impulsive reaction that is a political exploitation of a tragedy rather than an effective security measure. It gives a false sense of security by demonizing a population in need and plays into the hands of extremists groups hoping to alienate Muslims from western counties.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.


CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Renner Larson, 312-212-1520,; CAIR-Chicago Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel, 312-212-1520,