The Ignored Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar

Yoomna Rahim describes the long history Rohingya persecution that continues to make them aliens in their own country and to the rest of the world. More »

Chicago Muslims Mobilize to Support Community Control of the Police

As the unified voice of Chicago Muslims, CIOGC found in the BlackLivesMatter Rally and March an opportunity to partner with people of faith to act against oppression and injustice. More »

State of Mental Health Services in Chicago

From clinic closings to the threat of funding cuts from Governor Rauner’s budget, Mary Koptik describes the ongoing crises for mental health services in Chicago. More »

Obama’s Criminal Justice Plans: A Response to Ferguson?

Are President Obama’s recent proposals on criminal justice an adequate response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement? More »

 

Muslim Women: Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Patriarchy

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The last few days in India have seen Muslim divorce practices furiously dominate media space. In India, many of the rules governing women are “sanctioned by scripture” and therefore cannot be changed. Many women disagree and say that these laws are outdated and harmful and antithetical to the precepts of the Qur’an. They feel corrupted cultural practices dominated by male chauvinists have distorted the true spirt of the Qur’an which accords a very dignified position to women. One such rule is the talaq law, which allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife immediately after pronouncing the word “talaq” three times. Instant divorce is currently allowed under Islamic law. In India, Muslim men have sent triple talaq by text, email, Facebook, Skype and Whats App. But last week women working against the talaq law received good news: a government committee set up in 2013 to look into women’s status recommended that the government should outlaw it.

Founding of a New Progressive Jewish Congregation – Tzedek Chicago

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By Alexis O’Connor

“I, like many American Jews, have always identified with Israel,” Rabbi Brant Rosen said. “More recently, I have broken with Zionism and have realized that, in many important ways, the birth of Israel was the result of an injustice that Israel and world Jewry have not really reckoned with.” Brant Rosen has been a congregational rabbi for almost his entire adult life. For over 20 years, he was present for the births, bat mitzvahs, marriages and funerals of family members at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston, Illinois.

Black Lives Matter, White Supremacist Liberals, and Black-ifying Bernie Sanders

From Huffington Post - The Blog by Peter Dreier 
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By Michal Kranz

“Bernie Sanders,” shouted Marissa Johnson from the outdoor rally stage, “Welcome to Seattle.” However, Johnson herself was not welcomed by the Seattle crowd at Sanders’ August 8th rally when she and fellow Black Lives Matter protestor Mara Jacqueline Willaford took the stage and disrupted Sanders’ speech. The protestors’ actions along with the bewilderingly vitriolic response they elicited from Sanders supporters has started a conversation over the past week about the purpose of protest and the dynamics of race within progressive circles, namely within Bernie Sanders’ largely white, liberal, base.

Arab American Action Network Youth Launch Anti-Profiling Campaign

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“Every minority in America is treated like a problem long before they are treated like a person,” began a member of the Arab American Action Network’s (AAAN’s) Youth Organizing Program at a community event last week.  During the summer of 2012, a small group of youth at the AAAN was determined to begin a community-based campaign to put an end to racial, national, and religious profiling by law enforcement, which saw a sharp increase subsequent to the events of 9/11. The youth of the campaign have conducted surveys, data analysis, and extensive research, and have built alliances across racial lines with other organizations, communities, and youth to further their ultimate goal of equality and justice for all.  On Thursday, August 13th, AAAN youth publicly and officially launched the campaign at a community town hall meeting that attracted 175 people.

The Ignored Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar

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By Yoomna Rahim

Although many international efforts to combat human rights violations have proved successful in certain circumstances, some of the greatest acts against a collective group of individuals have gone unchecked. This is the story of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma, the official name changed in 1988). The Rohingya people have been fleeing Myanmar for almost 30 years because of the intense persecution they face at home, a place that Rohingyas have inhabited as early as 1799. The alleged newly-democratic government denies all Rohingya citizenship, claiming that they are actually illegal Bengali immigrants who have entered their nation in the past half-decade.  This dynamic between one of the largest Muslim minorities of Myanmar and the government has bred for an “apartheid-like” state, in which basic democratic liberties such as healthcare and employment have been denied to the Rohingya. By enclosing “the most oppressed people on Earth” into the Rakhine state of Myanmar with almost no resources for the basic sustenance of life, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled their native country in hopes for asylum in nations such as Thailand and Malaysia, who largely disregard their plight.

The Rise of al-Sisi and the Fate of the Egyptian Revolution

Photo by BBC News

Egyptians awoke on August 6 to a day of celebration. People from across the country paraded through the streets with Egyptian flags as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced an $8 billion expansion of the Suez Canal. The national holiday centered on an elaborate inauguration that was hosted in the town of Ismailia. Trumpeters dressed as pharaohs stood in formation as al-Sisi traveled through the canal in a yacht with foreign leaders and other distinguished guests. Fighter jets and helicopters ceremoniously flew over the leader, who dressed for the occasion in full military uniform.

Treatment of Mental Health Issues in the Muslim Community

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By Patrick Halpin

Undoubtedly, discussion of issues pertaining to mental health has reached a forefront—inching into the everyday narrative of policy reform—placing a higher demand on reshaping the social, political, and religious considerations applied towards health and the institutions that govern its policies. The increase in discussion comes at a critical moment in history as rates of illness keep increasing ever so rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) latest reporting in 2011 indicated that eleven percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication, a glaring testament to the overall epidemic and swiftly growing societal emphasis, or lack thereof, towards mental health. One group of individuals feeling this shift—often in a polarizing way—is the Muslim community.

Op Ed: The Shade of My Identity

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By Amena Tayyab

Here’s the thing: my skin tone isn’t very dark. But I was led to believe it was.

I’m not ashamed to be considered dark or different, or that no one corrected me. I’m ashamed of believing myself to be a lesser person because of it. Regardless of how I actually look and where I get my skin color, my culture says I’m beneath a white person. Coupled with friends who believed in the same mentality and others who didn’t know there were colors besides black and white, I trapped myself into that mindset.

Mental Health Services in Chicago – Thresholds Feels Pain of Budget Cuts

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By Mary Koptik

While no one can argue that the mental health care scene in Chicago is bright, it would be a lot worse off without the help of organizations like Thresholds. Since 1959, Thresholds has functioned as a nonprofit serving the greater Chicago area. Thousands of individuals struggling with mental illness have been able to find housing, employment, and recovery through Thresholds services. But for every client that Thresholds has been able to help, there are countless more who are unable to access services that stabilize their illness. Their already inadequate funds are dropping due to recent budget cuts.

Chicago Muslims Mobilize to Support Community Control of the Police

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By Bill Chambers

As a logical follow-on to its successful initiative to pass a resolution designating May 19 as “Malcolm X Day” in the State of Illinois, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is supporting and mobilizing for the August 29 mass march for community control of the police. The march was initiated by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) who have been fighting for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) for many years. Now with the momentum built by CAARPR, Black Lives Matter MovementWe Change Genocide, Fearless Leading by the Youth (F.L.Y.), and many other organizations – the demand for civilian control over the Chicago Police has grown into a mass movement of solidarity between community organizations in the city. With the CIOGC being a federation of over 60 greater Chicagoland Islamic organizations representing over 400,000 Muslim Americans, the Chicago Muslim community is actively helping to mobilize for this march.