Chicago Palestinians Parade their Heritage

Eman Shurbaji reports on the first-ever Palestinian Heritage Parade in downtown Chicago. More »

The Standardization of Education and the Just Path Forward

Danish Murtaza provides analysis of the public education reform efforts from No Child Left Behind to The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. More »

Illinois Designates May 19 as Malcolm X Day

With today’s action, Illinois is the first state to officially declare May 19 as Malcolm X Day. More »

Chicago Yemeni Families Fear for Relatives Abandoned By U.S. Government

Other countries are rescuing their people from Yemen. Why does the State Dept. believe Yemeni Americans do not deserve the same rights and considerations as other Americans? More »

 

Why is the Anti-BDS Lobby Celebrating Their Non-Victory in Illinois?

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By Bill Chambers

If you read the self-congratulatory messages from the anti-BDS lobby, you would think that they won a major victory against what they call “anti-Israel hate.” Here is a message that The Israel Project sent to their supporters.

Congratulations! You helped deal a major blow against the anti-Israel hate movement! In a precedent-setting vote, Illinois has become the first U.S. state to cut off any business that boycotts Israel — and you helped make it happen!

The statement is not only false about the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement being an “anti-Israel hate movement,” but it is also false that Illinois “cut off any business that boycotts Israel.” That last part is the wording of the original bill that was soundly defeated before it even got off the ground.

Illinois Designates May 19 as Malcolm X Day

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By Bill Chambers

On this day when Malcolm X would have been 90 years old, the State of Illinois has designated “May 19, 2015 and every May 19 thereafter as “Malcolm X Day.” The Senate passed unanimously a resolution proposed by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and sponsored by State Senator Jackie Collins (D-Chicago  16th). Malcolm X is being recognized in the words of the resolution as “a singular human rights activist and one of the most influential African-American leaders in history.” His birthday on May 19 will be commemorated as a day of service in keeping with the values that Malcolm X represented in his life.

Chicago Palestinians Parade their Heritage

Photo by Eman Shurbaji

A wedding, dance troupe and plenty of youth were just some of the highlights of the first-ever Palestinian Heritage Parade in downtown Chicago Saturday. Between 850 and 1000 Palestinians and their supporters congregated to walk among decorative floats and entertainment.

The Standardization of Education and the Just Path Forward

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By Danish Murtaza

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, (NCLB) Act, signed and instituted in 2001, was a bipartisan effort first proposed by President George W. Bush with the backing of the late U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA). It was the latest authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was first passed and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. NCLB dramatically overhauled the U.S. education system, promising that all children would be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Moreover, this reform effort set the goal for the nation to claim the world’s top ranking in education. It is now May 2015, and that date has come and gone.

Opinion: Baltimore is Not Burning, America Is

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By Nasir Almasri

Trayvon Martin. Aiyana Stanley Jones. Michael Brown. Mariam Carey. Yvette Smith. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Rekiya Boyd. The list goes on and on. Now Freddie Gray. Another young black American dead. Another set of police explanations. Another wave of protests.

Illinois Lawmakers Vote To Divest from Companies that Support Palestinian Human Rights

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By Bill Chambers

Activists in Illinois and nationally are part of a growing movement to divest from companies that support human rights violations by Israel. Meanwhile Illinois lawmakers are busy voting to force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott Israel or businesses that operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The target of these bills is the international Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) movement directed at the Israeli government for its repeated violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. Two virtually identical bills, HB 4011 and SB 1761, are making their way through the House and Senate. These bills are burdening the beleaguered pension system with politically motivated investigations. This is being done at a time when Illinois has the lowest credit rating and worst-funded pension system among the 50 states. Servicing of pension debt is a major financial crisis. SB 1761 passed unanimously out of the Senate last week and HB 4011 is still being considered by the House.

The State of (discrimi)Nation: Muslim Discrimination in America Today

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By Jennifer Watkins

The past year has undoubtedly ushered in a new era for identity relations in America; with the police killings of black men in Ferguson and New York, the partisan fueled arguments over immigrant amnesty and the ‘religious freedom protection’ laws targeted at LGBTQ communities introduced in several states, racial and religious tension saturated our media climate in 2014. With 2015 well underway, these tensions continue to permeate several facets of American life. Notably in March, Starbucks launched their ill-conceived and eventually retracted ‘Race Together’ campaign aimed at sparking a national conversation on race in between latte orders. With the seemingly ever-present discussions and debates regarding identity based discrimination and its subsequent role in modern American society and government, I found myself questioning how American Muslims were fairing in this contentious climate—what is the status of Muslim discrimination in America? Are Muslim communities in the U.S. facing similar tensions and most importantly, how is the U.S. government addressing potential discrimination? To tackle these questions I took inventory of some key problems, as well as federal, state, and local legislative actions that have affected Muslim American communities across the nation in the past year.

Malcolm X Day on May 19 Proposed for State of Illinois

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By Bill Chambers

A day “to commemorate the 90th birthday of Malcolm X, a singular human rights activist and one of the most influential African American leaders in history” is being proposed to the Illinois State legislature by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC). Malcolm X’s birthday on May 19 would be commemorated as a day of service in keeping with the values that Malcolm X represented in his life. Although initiated by the CIOGC, the resolution sees Malcolm X as not only “a Muslim minister,” but also as a “public speaker, and human rights activist…a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans in the face of institutionalized racism and an organizer of the African American community…to stand up to inequality and injustice.”

Chicago Family’s Ordeal to Escape Being #StuckInYemen

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By Bill Chambers

This is the story of the Yemeni American Nasser family from Chicago who tried to follow the State Department’s advice and head for the Indian ship that would be sure to rescue them from Yemen. But after hours of working their way to the port of Aden, avoiding snipers and bombings, paying the captain of a small fishing boat to take them to the Indian ship, the ship’s captain informed them only Indian citizens would be taken on board.

Demystifying the Rise of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria

Dr. Ibrahim Hassan is Associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Jos, Nigeria.

By Bill Chambers

Dr. Ibrahim Hassan, an Associate Professor at the University of Jos in Nigeria, and a Fulbright scholar at Northwestern University spoke at the American Islamic College on the “Rise and Development of Violent Islamic Insurgency (Boko Haram) in Northern Nigeria” Students, faculty, scholars, and members of the larger Chicago community were in attendance. The Chicago Monitor also had the opportunity to interview Dr. Hassan to expand on some of the points during his presentation. Much of his presentation was focused on correcting the misconceptions about their historical development and the level of support they have within northern Nigeria.