Category Archives: Chicago

Illinois Designates May 19 as Malcolm X Day


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


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.

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.