What We Do: Civil Rights Case Updates

CAIR-Chicago works hard as a valuable resource for the Muslim community to make sure that law enforcement and the justice system works fairly and efficiently for everyone regardless of religion, ethnicity, or citizenship status. Here are a few examples of our continuing civil rights work.

  • A Muslim congregation of Bosnian Sufi worshipers was denied a zoning change which would have allowed them to purchase a property in Des Plaines, Illinois, to use as a central worship space. CAIR-Chicago brought suit against the City alleging violations of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act (RLUIPA). Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice was allowed to intervene in the case in support of the Muslim congregation.
  • A Muslim saleswoman who was constantly harassed about her religion and subjected to repeated comments about being a terrorist left her position after only seven months due to the discrimination. CAIR-Chicago brought charges with the EEOC against Travisa Travel Services for failing to address her concerns when she raised them to management, and for failing to properly discipline her immediate supervisor who was the source of most of the harassment.
  • A Muslim Kenyan man was detained at the airport for hours while being questioned by Customs and Border Patrol and the FBI. After he was released, the FBI then visited his home to interview him further about his travel, his job, his family, and his friends in Kenya. He contacted CAIR-Chicago to find out what his options are if the FBI returns to question him again, and CAIR-Chicago is now working with him to address those concerns by contacting the FBI on his behalf.
  • A Muslim woman seeking her Driver’s License at a Secretary of State facility in Illinois was forced to remove her hijab for the photo, even though the Department has a specific policy that allows Muslims to retain their religious head wear when being photographed. After speaking with her, CAIR-Chicago was informed that she was just one of about 20 women who were told the same thing at the facility when they sought their Driver’s Licenses there. CAIR-Chicago is now working with the Secretary of State’s Office to make sure all their personnel are properly trained on the religious head wear policy (which CAIR-Chicago helped develop).