Category Archives: Chicago

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. 

The Strange Case of Two Chicago Area Men Trying to Join ISIS


By Bayan Takrouri

On March 26, two men from Aurora, Illinois were charged with conspiring to join ISIS and attack a Joliet military facility. Hasan Edmonds was arrested at Chicago’s Midway International Airport as he was about to board a plane to Cairo. An undercover FBI agent sent Hasan a friend request on Facebook over a year ago and the two started exchanging messages. Hasan expressed plans of wanting to help ISIS with his cousin Jonas. Little did he know that U.S. law enforcement were awaiting him at the airport.  On April 3, a federal grand jury indicted them on charges of conspiring with a terrorist organization.

Open Letter to Mayor Emanuel: Stand Up for Chicago Yemeni Americans

By Renner Larson

The Honorable Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of the City of Chicago
121 N LaSalle Street |Chicago City Hall 4th Floor | Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Mayor Emanuel,

Congratulations on your recent re-election. Under your leadership the City of Chicago will continue to prove itself on the world stage. We are, more than ever, a global city, but that status comes with global responsibilities.

As our mayor you represent Chicagoans both in national and international spheres, and we trust in you to advocate for us. At this moment, dozens of Chicagoans fear for their lives as US government fails to evacuate citizens stranded in Yemen. Already American blood has been spilled as violence in Yemen escalates into civil war, yet the State Department refuses to act.

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


By Bill Chambers

There are thousands of U.S. citizens trapped in Yemen who have pleaded with the U.S. government for rescue to no avail. Many of these people are relatives of Chicago Yemeni families who have been seeking ways to bring their relatives home to Chicago. When people from multiple other countries including Russia, China,  and India have already been rescued, it is difficult to believe the U.S. State Department’s excuses for not saving our own citizens. If this was not Yemen and these were not U.S. citizens of Yemeni descent, there would be a line of U.S. warships lined up at the Aden harbor.

Immigrant Rights Groups Fight Rauner’s Ideological Funding Cuts


By Bill Chambers

During last Friday’s start of a holiday weekend, Governor Rauner cut off funding for all immigrant services in Illinois effective immediately. As a result, immigrants across the state lose access to assistance regarding US citizenship, health care, nutrition, and other critical services. Immigrant rights groups are organizing to fight this attack. It was not hard to see this coming. From the introduction of his budget to executive actions like this, Governor Rauner continues to take actions based more on his conservative ideology than fiscal responsibility.

Muslim & Japanese American Youth Engage History of Japanese Internment


By Renner Larson

In the spring of 1942 thousands of Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes along the west coast of the United States to internment camps across the country. It is a page so often forgotten in one of the most glorified chapters of American history, but it is one that we as Americans must never forget.

Faith and Trauma: Abrahamic Religions as Victims and Perpetrators

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

Last week the Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University held a panel discussion titled “Faith and Trauma: Abrahamic Perspectives” at the American Islamic College in Chicago. The overall theme of the event was the perspective of each Abrahamic religion – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – toward personal and communal trauma – both as a source of healing and of trauma itself. Often inter-faith dialogues on controversial topics fail to address the elephant in the room. But in this case, the panelists took aim at how each religion has been both a victim and perpetrator of trauma.

Palestine Advocacy Group Billboards Remind Americans Taxes Fund Occupation


By Bill Chambers

Three weeks before the April 15 deadline to file federal tax returns, the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy organization based in Palos Hills, IL, has placed electronic billboards asking the question: “Have you declared Israel a dependent on your tax returns?” The ad, which ran last year in Washington DC, says Americans are “sweating April 15 so Israelis don’t have to,” and calls for an end to U.S. aid to the Israeli occupation. In Chicago, the ads can be seen on digital billboards at I-294 and 95th Street and I-294 and Southwest Highway through April 19.

Saint Patrick’s Day: #RaceTogether, Drink Together, “Riot” Alone


Grading for a Just Illinois State Budget: Governor Rauner’s Doesn’t Pass

UCMC RN's fighting for patient care standards


By Danish Murtaza

There is no doubt about the fact that the state of Illinois is in a dire financial situation. We need to recognize that we must critically look at our spending habits and and see what we can do to rectify the situation. But in our efforts to balance the budget, we don’t need to discount the human costs that will result. Rather, we need to remember the human element that is a part of this process. For better or for worse, government plays an integral part of our lives. Government must serve the poor, the working class, the middle class, and the upper class. It has a greater affect on some than on others. When government services are cut, there is no doubt that some people will be hurt and we should take that into account. We need to deeply contemplate what it means to have the most moral and just way to balance the budget. Does the budget proposed by the new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner meet those criteria?