Editorial Team

Bill Chambers, Editor-in-Chief

Bill Chambers is the Editor-in-Chief of The Chicago Monitor. Bill is also a full-time activist with a long history of civil rights, anti-racism, anti-war, Irish Republican, and Palestine solidarity work. As part of his activist work, Bill has traveled extensively to Ireland and Palestine to meet with community organizations. Bill has had a long and varied work career as a Mental Health Unit Coordinator of the Adolescent Program at Alexian Brothers Medical Center; Technical Planner at the former Continental Bank in Chicago; and a Technology Strategy Consultant for state and county governments including LA County and the District of Columbia. Bill has a BA in English from Northwestern University, a MA in English from Tufts University, and Professional Certification in Family Therapy from the Family Institute of Chicago. He is currently pursuing a MA in Islamic Studies at the American Islamic College in Chicago and helping to organize Palestine solidarity events and campaigns.

Renner Larson, Assistant Editor

Renner Larson is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago and also Assistant Editor of The Chicago Monitor. In 2013 he graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in graphic design. Having taught English in Tanta, Egypt, he continued practicing volunteerism through the global leadership program Up With People and more recently as Secretary of the Board of Directors for Families In Vietnam, an NGO working to alleviate poverty through education in northern Vietnam. After working professionally as a graphic designer, Renner is excited to apply his expertise in creative problem solving and design thinking to further the mission of CAIR-Chicago.

Browse our team of 75 columnists below:


ak_monitorEmily Anagnostos

Emily is a communications intern for CAIR-Chicago. She is a senior at the University of Chicago where she studies Middle Eastern politics, history, and Arabic and Farsi. She hopes to use these skills in the Foreign Service or working on foreign policy in the Middle East. She joined CAIR to learn more about Islam in America. She hails from Cleveland, Ohio and in her free time is part of her university rowing team. She doesn’t think much of Johnny Manziel, but supports Cleveland sports teams all the way.

Bayan Takrouri
Bayan Takrouri is a sophomore at UIC, double majoring in Political Science and Psychology. She was born in Palestine and immigrated to the U.S.in 2000. She is an intern for the Outreach Department at CAIR-Chicago. She is also the Outreach Coordinator for Amnesty International UIC. On Saturdays she teaches at the Turkish American Society of Chicago Weekend School. She is an active volunteer for Islamic Relief USA. Her future plans include a career developing and promoting Human Rights.

ak_monitorDanish Murtaza
Danish Murtaza is a Government Affairs intern for CAIR-Chicago. He is currently a Senior at Loyola University Chicago and is studying political science. He has a passion for keeping up to date with current events, politics, and government. Danish is interested in pursuing a career in public policy. He joined CAIR-Chicago because of his interests in political affairs and in the American Muslim community. In his free time, Danish likes to read political non-fiction books, watch movies, and catch up with family and friends.

ak_monitorZareen Abbasi
Zareen hails from Chicago and is a born and bred Midwesterner. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013 with a degree in Advertising and Media Studies. Zareen currently works for the Chicago Tribune and maintains a personal blog of reflections on identity, South Asian culture, and social empowerment. Having studied in Istanbul for a short time, Zareen is passionate about the international landscape.

ak_monitorAgnieszka Karoluk
Agnieszka is a former Senior Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Geography and spent one year studying at the New School University in New York. She is currently getting a MA in Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois Circle campus.

Alishba Malik
Alishba is currently a student at Northeastern University for Justice Studies with a minor in Psychology. She hopes to attend law school in the future.

Ammad Rafiqi
Ammad currently attends University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He wants to look at the types of discrimination facing Muslims and help with immigration and citizenship issues.

Hadeel Hejja
Hadeel is a student at DePaul University studying biological sciences. In her future career she wishes to go into speech pathology and freelance journalism.

Sabah Adil
Sabah is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at DePaul University. After completing her degree, she plans to attend medical school and do volunteer work in her field.

Samia Shameem
Samia is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Samia is an aspiring journalist and hopes to one day help educate the masses.

Susy Palmer
Susy is a recent graduate of Loyola University in Political science. She hopes to apply her interest in political science and communications in the real-world.

Sami Kishawi
Sami serves on the executive committee of American Muslims for Palestine in Chicago. Sami visited Gaza City and used his blog, “Sixteen Minutes to Palestine”, to report extensively about everyday living in the occupied territories.

Alaa Saleh
Alaa attends DePaul University in Chicago for Urban Planning. She hopes to promote a better image of Muslims everywhere.

Aseal Tineh
Aseal is at the University of Chicago and is majoring in both public policy and political science and minoring in human rights. She has previously served as an extern for the Regional Transportation Authority and is an Illinois State Scholar.

Sarah Goomar
Sarah is a student at the University of Michigan and plans to attend law school upon graduation. She is involved with the Amnesty International and STAND chapters at her school.

Talha Ahmad
Talha is currently taking a gap year from his graduate studies at the University of Virginia where he is studying Architectural History & Theory. He hopes to gain journalistic experience through Chicago Monitor.

Milos Markicevic
Milos recently completed his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Journalism at DePaul University. He is a contributing writer and photographer for the music blog Brooklyn Vegan Chicago.

Walid Sankari
Walid is studying Philosophy and Business Management at Loyola University of Chicago. He hopes to gain further awareness about the crisis in Syria and aid the Chicago Muslim community.

Kevin Vodak
Kevin Vodak is the Litigation Director at CAIR-Chicago. Kevin has a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from North Central College. Outside of his work in private law firms, Kevin has works with the National Lawyers Guild.

Hiba Ahmed
Hiba is currently at Knox College majoring in International Relations and minoring in Religious Studies. She hopes to pursue a career in policy and government affairs.

Braden Carkhuff
Braden earned a B.A. in German and English writing and is currently entering his second year at Hamline University School of Law. Braden hopes to ultimately work as a policy maker in health law or civil rights.

Joshua Rivera
Joshua is currently a student at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, majoring in political science and international studies. He was previously a coach and event coordinator for the Chicago debate league, and is also a national champion of college parliamentary debate.

Sara Abdeljalil
Sara is dual enrolled in the Aqsa School and Joliet Junior College and will be graduating after her third year of high school in the spring of 2014. She hopes to attend college to study economics.

Sony Kassam
Sony is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune’s high school paper, The Mash.

Nathaniel Van Wienen
Nathaniel is currently a student at Carleton College in Minnesota, majoring in Religion with a French and Francophone Studies minor. He studied abroad in Belgium where he interned with an anti-racism agency where he defended rights in Belgium’s Muslim community.

Anzur Ismail
Anzur is currently entering her final year of law school at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She hopes to ultimately work in the public interest sector to help the Muslim community and immigrants.

Ibrahim Al-Hajiby
Ibrahim is an international student studying International Relations and Business at Augsburg College in Minnesota. Ibrahim served as a Nobel Peace Prize Forum Intern for Tawakkol Karman earlier this year, acting as her direct assistant and translator.

Dartunorro Clark
Dartunorro recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Political Science and Communications, and in the fall will be attending Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Dartunorro is a McKelvie Scholar, the recipient of the CME Group Mayoral Award and is on the Dean’s List.

David C. Blount
David is a graduate from Loyola University of Chicago where he majored in Sociology and International Studies with a minor in Urban and Black World Studies. He has studied abroad in China and Tunisia.

Maryam Arain
Maryam graduated from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies with a Master’s in Post/Colonial Studies. She is also a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she studied History modified with African and African American Studies with a minor in Gender Studies.

Rhys Leahy
Rhys recently graduated from York Community High School and in the fall will begin pursuing a bachelor’s in international studies at American University in Washington, D.C. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, and has lived in Kazan, Russia.

Yasmina Blackburn
Yasmina is a board member of MyJihad, Inc., where she is the official Writer and Correspondent.

Nadia Atassi
Nadia is currently a student at Valparaiso University in Indiana, majoring in English and minoring in International Relations. Nadia hopes to attend law school and work in civil rights in the future.

Shaiesha Moore
Shaiesha is currently a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., majoring in Middle East Regional Studies with a concentration in Democracy, and minoring in Christian-Muslim understanding. In the fall, Shai will be studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, and in preparation hopes to learn more about Islam.

Ankur Thakkar
Ankur has a bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and History and is currently enrolled in law school at Cleveland Marshall. He hopes to become an advocate and voice for under-served communities.

Peter Brierton
Peter is currently attending the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He hopes to practice labor and employment law and eventually run for public office.

Nicole Tewolde
Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Florida International University and is currently entering her second year at Notre Dame Law School. With a passion for civil rights work, Nicole hopes for a career where the primary goal is protecting the rights of individuals.

Claudia V. Bertacchi
Claudia graduated from DePaul University in 2011 and is currently in her second year at Chicago-Kent College of Law where she is focusing on criminal law. Claudia hopes to become a successful criminal defense attorney and work with international criminal law in a foreign embassy.

Karim Merchant
Karim graduated with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is currently entering his second year at Valparaiso University Law School. He is an active member of Valparaiso’s Trial Advocacy Team.

Noor Salahuddin
Noor graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a degree in English literature. Noor is interested in learning more about grant writing and hopes to write grant proposals this summer to various foundations and organizations that offer them.

Nasir Almasri
Nasir is a student at the Southern Illinois University and is majoring in Political Science and History. He hopes to get a PhD in Political Science or Historical Studies. He also wants to teach and to conduct research in his field.

Jacqueline Horn
Jacqueline graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. She is currently entering her second year at DePaul University College of Law. Jacqueline aspires to become a criminal defense attorney, but is also interested in civil rights, family law, and immigration and asylum law.

Amy Zaiter
Amy recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in English and a minor in Communications. She is greatly looking forward to working against bigotry with CAIR-Chicago. Amy is half Lebanese and speaks conversational Arabic.

Saleha Jabeen
Saleha is pursuing a M.A. in Theology at the Catholic Theological Union with a focus on inter-religious dialogue. She spent a semester as a Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Intern with the Muslim American Society in Chicago.

Ahmed Rehab
Ahmed Rehab is the Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago. Rehab is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Public Radio. He has been interviewed hundreds of times by newspapers, radio, and TV venues, both national and international. Rehab lectures at various University campuses in Chicago and around the nation.

Laith Saud
Laith is an instructor in the Islamic World Studies program at DePaul University. He is completing his doctorate at the University of Chicago in Contemporary Islamic Thought. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture and a regular contributor to NPR.

Heather Elawawadh
Heather is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She hopes to help eliminate discrimination towards Muslims and, more specifically, women who wear the hijab.

Khaled Zarzour
Khaled earned his B.B.A. from the Arab International University in Syria. He has also worked as a Communications Intern at CAIR-Chicago.

William von Schrader
William is currently attending DePaul University and majoring in political science. He previously interned for Karen Buck a member of parliament in the UK in 2011. He hopes to establish a career where he will do work that can truly better the world for everyone.

Uzma Mushtaq
Uzma graduated among the top of her class from East-West University in March 2011, double majoring in marketing and accounting. She is interested in world affairs, politics, religious studies, humanitarian causes and strongly supports education and activism.

Dima Ansari
Dima attends the University of Illinois at Chicago and will graduate with a Bachelors in English and a concentration in Media, Rhetorical, and Cultural Studies in December 2011. Dima completed and presented her Senior Thesis about the interrelationship of verbal, written, and body language between a tutor and a writer at UIC’s Writing Center.

Aaron Kearney
Aaron is a student at Loyola University majoring in Political Science and Journalism. He hopes to fight human rights violations across the world.

Brittany Moore
Brittany is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Marketing at Lewis University. She previously served as an Executive Management Assistant, Area Manager, and University Staff.

Scott C. Alexander
A Harvard graduate, Scott has earned a M.A. and Ph. D. in the history of religions, with a concentration in Islamic studies. He has taught courses on Islam at Columbia, Fordham, and Princeton University. He is a currently an Associate Professor of Islam at CTU in Chicago.

Matthew Barry
Matthew is attending Knot College, majoring in international relations. He received “Best Column” at the 2012 ICPA College Journalism Competition. Matthew hopes to gain more experience through professional research with a focus on government policy.

Haney Noureddin
Haney is attending the University of Illinois at Chicago for history. He has previously worked for Halal Farms USA and the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Tarek Khalil
Tarek has attended the John Marshall Law School and is currently a Law Clerk in Cook county.

Dasia Skinner
Dasia is a student at DePaul University and is currently an intern in the division of student affairs at her college.

Aymen Abdel Halim
Aymen is currently a graduate student in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts program at San Francisco State University. He recently co-authored a book chapter on the impact of TV news on the self-conception of Arab and Muslim youth.

Rabya Khan
Rabya Khan is a Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. Rabya received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago, and her Juris Doctorate from DePaul College of Law.

Mohammad Sagha
Mohammad is a graduate student at the University of Chicago for Middle Eastern studies. He has written for a number of publications, such as the Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, and Chief of Lights.

Naeem Vahora
Naeem graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Journalism and double minor in International Studies and Islamic World Studies. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in International studies at DePaul.

Isamar Mendoza
Isamar graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Psychology and English. Her professional goals are to go to graduate school and work in different countries.

Amina Tayyab
Amena is currently a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield majoring in Accounting. She works as a Communications intern at CAIR-Chicago, and has written articles for The State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL.

Amy Brabec

Titilayo Rasaki

Dennis Melendez

Ann Santori

Maniza Azam

Aaron Irvin
Aaron Irvin is an English Education major at the University of Illinois Chicago. He has been a volunteer activist at CAIR-Chicago since October 2014.

Joseph Kerins
Joseph is Civil Rights Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. He is a senior at DePaul University majoring in Economics and Geography. Joseph has worked for the past 2 years in DePaul’s Financial Services Office, providing personal finance education and resources to students. His studies have focused primarily on public and community banking, as well as the U.S. and international financial system. Joseph recently received an award on research he presented at the DePaul-UIC student conference on New Zealand’s postal banking system. Joseph is also a former volunteer of CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Department. Joseph is interested in consumer law/advocacy and civil rights. He hopes to be able to play a supportive role in U.S. financial reform.

Hilmi Yazar
Hilmi Yazar is a sophomore at William Rainey Harper College. He plans to pursue a computer engineering degree. Outside of school, his interests include hiking and biking with friends. He has a keen interest in studying History and Archaeology. He is an intern in the Administrative department of CAIR-Chicago.

Jarron McAllister
Jarron is an Outreach Intern for CAIR-Chicago. He is a senior at Princeton University, where he is majoring in History and minoring in Near Eastern Studies. He hopes to learn more about American Muslim communities and their relationship with the American legal system.


Najd Almuhaythif
Najd is Civil Rights Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated this May from Northwestern university School of Law with an LLM degree in International Human Rights. She had her law degree from Princess Norah University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Prior to coming to Chicago, Najd has been an active volunteer in couple of NGOs in Riyadh that specializes in human rights and women empowerment in particular. She is passionate about advancing women’s rights in the Middle East. In her free time, Najd enjoys doing yoga, Mixed Martial Arts and listening to live music.

Patrick Halpin
Patrick is Government Affairs intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is a native of Hanover Park, Illinois. He is a senior at Boston College, majoring in Political Science and Islamic Civilizations and Societies. Patrick hopes to work for the State Department and further his educational track by going to Law School.

John Vanderkloot
John is a Government Affairs intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is a recent graduate of Boston University where he majored in History. His particular focus while in school included international relations and colonial/postcolonial studies. During his time at CAIR, John hopes to continue expanding upon his knowledge of the Muslim community and to promote tolerance and understanding. His interests consist of reading, travel, skiing, Chicago Blackhawks hockey and Chicago Bears football.

Andrea DeVinney
Andrea is a Civil Rights Law Clerk at CAIR-Chicago. She is a 3L at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Andrea is a born and raised Hoosier who attended Penn State University and received degrees in African American Studies and Political Science. She plans to receive her J.D. in May of 2016 and intends to work as a civil rights lawyer.

Eman Shurbaji
Eman graduated with a Master’s degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She has been published in her city magazine, The Bakersfield Californian; was Features Editor at her campus newspaper; and was an intern with WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

Joe Scarry

Hannah Khalid

Muhammad Shareef

Liz Dennis

Muhammad Akbar

Lily Herbert

Aakash Shah

Roya Arta

Naomi Schmidt