“The relevance of bin Laden should be overshadowed by the wave of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East,” said Yaser Tabbara, a Chicago attorney and member of the board of directors of the Council on American Islamic Relations. “Bin Laden was already marginalized, I’m someone who goes to the Middle East quite a bit and I haven’t heard his name in a very long time.”
With Pastor Terry Jones’ “Burn A Koran Day” fiasco and the ongoing Park51 debate taking center stage in the media, CAIR-Chicago is taking action. We are challenging misinformation and anti-Muslim rhetoric through interfaith and outreach efforts to educate the public. You may have also seen us in the news recently, adding balanced and informed perspectives to public discourse.
“This is the holiest day for Muslims out of the year,” said Amina Sharif, communications coordinator for CAIR-Chicago. “And since this year it falls so close to 9/11, it’s an opportunity for us to discuss tolerance and peace. It’s a day that we pray for those who are struggling around the world, and that includes the families of 9/11 victims.”
CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinator, Amina Sharif, spoke to a journalism class at Columbia College today about media coverage of Muslims and how to report on culturally sensitive issues.
“In the interest of national security I don’t mind [being searched]. American Muslims are also concerned about remaining safe. But we should not be singled out because of our religious beliefs,” said Amina Sharif, CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinator.
“The real question is not whether we should use the term “war” or not, but who is this war against. And that is what Obama and others have been struggling to articulate…. In the past we’ve heard that we are at war with “Radical Islam”, but “Radical Islam” is a concept, and you cannot go to war with a concept. You can go to war against a people or an entity and that is where Al-Qaeda comes in. President Obama was correct in stating that we are at war with Al Qaeda,” said Ahmed Rehab.
“I’m concerned about national security here, not civil liberties per se, and that’s why I oppose racial profiling. Because from a national security perspective it will not work neither logically nor scientifically. There is a study from the University of Texas that shows mathematically that racially profiling causes us to miss more opportunities than catch them,” says Ahmed Rehab.
“The core of the problem is that Muslims are seen as a Monolith by the media and so when one Muslim commits and act of terror or error, all Muslims are brought to bear for that Act. And that kinda of mentality does not exist for other communities because of the nuanced understanding of other communities,” said Ahmed Rehab.
“There is no evidence to suggest that there is a link between religious Muslim behavior on a plane and terrorism. It is quite the opposite. All terrorists that we have come to know of, who have performed or attempted acts of terrorism on a plane, have actually not been engaged in outward Islamic behavior. And in every case where someone was involved in outwardly Islamic behavior, and were then seen as suspicious, were clearly absolved of being potential terrorists, including the 6 imams who won their case in court,” said Ahmed Rehab.
“Racial profiling doesn’t work,” exaplains Ahmed Rehab. “Richard Reid (the ‘Shoe Bomber’) didn’t have a Middle Eastern sounding name. Al-Qaeda is perfectly capable of recruiting individuals that pass through our racial profiling criteria.”
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