Category Archives: Chicago

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?

Arab Community Leader Rasmea Odeh: Sentence Impacted by Broad Support


By Bill Chambers

In a trial that Judge Drain declared was “not political,” Rasmea Odeh was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, a $1,000 fine, immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation to Jordan after serving jail time. Odeh was released on bond pending appeal. As Odeh said in her statement at the hearing, “every time I try to build my life up, something comes along that puts me back to zero.”

Rasmea Odeh: Persecuted Arab Community Leader to Be Sentenced

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

On Thursday, four days after International Women’s Day, Rasmea Odeh will be sentenced in a Detroit court. This will be one of the final stages of a year and a half government vendetta against an award winning and loved leader of the Arab, Palestinian, and immigrant community in Chicago. Like Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the Palestinian professor and activist recently deported to Turkey, Odeh’s effectiveness in organizing for Palestinian civil rights brought her to the attention of a vindictive Justice Department.

Chicago Inter-Faith Group Campaigns Against Detention of Palestinian Children


By Newland Smith

The Chicago Faith Coalition launched the “Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child” campaign on October 16, 2014 at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park. Gerard Horton of Military Court Watch, an organization that monitors treatment of children in Israeli military detention, described the harsh treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli military authorities including middle of the night arrests, long interrogations, and harsh sentences in prisons far from their families. Salwa Duaibis of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling spoke of the negative psychological impact of night raids and detention of children on those arrested and their families. Both indicated that 8,000 Palestinian children have been victims of these policies since 2000.

Fielding Calls about “Islamic Disconnect” at CAIR-Chicago


By Emily Anagnostos

At 3:35pm on a Tuesday as I sat at the reception desk at CAIR-Chicago, I received a phone call. As a communications intern with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Chicago, I do a lot of my work from the reception desk and therefore I get a lot of phone calls. This in itself has been a learning experience: I learned how to get over my fear of talking on the phone, how to transfer calls – I even learned how to transfer calls in Arabic. Sitting at that desk means that I am the first thing people see when they walk in the door or the first voice they hear when I pick up the phone and on Tuesday it meant that I got a call like this:

Challenging Abuse in Muslim Communities

Photo by WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo

By Zareen Abbasi

“Someone you would least expect” are so often the words that accompany the tale of a heinous crime. In wake of the tragic Chapel Hill Shootings, the Muslim community is in the public lens again under far different circumstances here on our home turf. Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, the Imam and founder of the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin, Illinois was charged with sexual assault yesterday.

OP-ED: Rasmea Odeh Fundraiser Successful Despite Opposition Threats

Photo by SJP Chicago

By Adeeba M.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) Chicago network successfully hosted a fundraising dinner for Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh at DePaul University. The event had an overwhelming turnout despite the snow, security issues, and threats from opposition groups. More than 200 guests packed the Student Center’s largest venue to support Rasmea in her current legal case.