Category Archives: Chicago

Misconceptions of Hijab in Chicago


By Dounia Mshaiel

On Tuesday February 11th 2014, Leena Suleiman was on her way to work, bundled up to keep herself warm in what many are calling Chicago’s most brutal winter. Suleiman, who works as an architectural designer downtown, wears the Muslim headscarf hijab. On this particular day she noticed that was treated differently, as the headscarf she wore was concealed under her winter gear.

Staying Home for Eid: What You Can Do

Eid Sweets

By Samia Shameem

Lately, various petitions have been circulating around the country, calling on the Obama administration to recognize Muslim holidays within public schools. While the fact that Muslims are taking the initiative to have their voices heard is commendable, it’ll prove beneficial to discuss a few points:

The Nation’s Terrorism Fixation


By Hadeel Hejja

There is an alarming phenomenhadeel_monitoron going around the nation.  In large landmark cities in the United States sensational storytelling remains prominent in mass media. Life has become a narrative for the citizens of the U.S.A, where “news” stories are carefully told with an introduction, following the plot to a climax and then to a resolution to calm the viewers, as a sort of television show as opposed to actual newsworthy content. This is the case in the major-headlined NATO 3 case in Chicago, where the case was poorly backed and the only pretense of the case was another opportunity to denounce terrorism instead of realizing the actual content of the allegations.

Social Media Drives BDS Movement in the U.S.


By Bill Chambers

Scarlett Johansson quit her role as global ambassador at Oxfam, a humanitarian aid organization fighting world poverty and injustice, because of a three week campaign by activists protesting her multi-year deal as “global brand ambassador” for SodaStream. SodaStream is a target of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement because one of its primary manufacturing plants is in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim about 10 minutes from Jerusalem.

January 11: A Day to Speak Up Against Islamophobia and Stereotyping


By Joe Scarrycm_logo-thumbnail

Two very important events will take place in Chicago on January 10 and 11, 2014.

Timed to coincide with the 12th anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, a vigil will be held in Federal Plaza (Adams and Dearborn) beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10; and an evening of dramatic interpretation and followed by a panel discussion will take place Saturday, January 11, at Grace Place (634 South Dearborn).

Halal Food: Not Too Far From Reach


alaa_cmBy Alaa Saleh


From restaurants and purveyors to international Halal Food Festivals, halal food is making a breakthrough on a global scale. It is a healthy, wholesome way of eating for people of all backgrounds to enjoy, and now more accessible as it makes its way into prominent grocers and the delivery scene.

Halal is the term used to describe food and other products permissible by Islamic law. Muslims who adhere to Islam’s dietary restrictions are forbidden to eat pork products, carnivorous animals and birds of prey, and cannot consume any animal product if the animal was improperly slaughtered. Several organizations and outlets for halal products can help practicing Muslims – as well as those without any religious affiliation – locate, and enjoy, quality foods while observing their culinary specificities. From the beginning of an animal’s life to its end, it must have lived a pure life for it to be halal – from feeding them wholesome diets to sacrificing them so they do not suffer pain, animals are treated in a humane manner without alterations or additives, making the meat not only healthier, but of higher quality.


Palestinian Arab Idol hopes to inspire unity


By Naomi Schmidtcm_logo-thumbnail

Mohammad Assaf became the first Palestinian to win Arab Idol last summer, making him a potential spokesperson for national unity.  While his musical talent has launched him into the spotlight, the 23-year-old sensation refuses to be politicized.

After winning the second season of the American Idol spin-off, massive celebrations erupted in the streets throughout his homeland, including Gaza, East Jerusalem, and Ramallah. The participants exclaimed their adorations for Assaf’s smooth voice and charming smile, but they also embody a war-torn population in need of a peaceful representative for the Palestinian cause, allowing them “to feel as one people, forgetting at least for a while their political and geographical split”.

Comic book author and illustrator shares thoughts on being Muslim, Arab and artist


By Milos Markicevic 

Chicago Monitor contributor Milos Markicevic interviewed Toufic El-Rassi about his 2008 graphic novel “Arab in America.” The semi-autobiographical book chronicles El-Rassi’s experiences in America as an Arab immigrant and an American Muslim after 9/11.

Covert government program creates barriers for Muslim immigrants


By Kevin Vodak, Guest Contributor

On October 7, 2013, I participated in a panel discussion regarding a report recently issued by the ACLU of Southern California, which uncovers the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (“CARRP”) implemented by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).  The panel was hosted by Mayer Brown LLP, and included presentations from Bardis Vakili, Staff Attorney at ACLU of Southern California; Hamsa Murthy, Associate at Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto office; Jay Readley, Executive Director,  Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Chuck Roth, Director of Litigation, National Immigrant Justice Center.

Close connections between Latin culture and Islam


By Joshua Rivera

Diana Cruz’s mother is Catholic, her father is Mormon, and she is Muslim.

Hearing her speak about the diversity of religious identities within her Puerto Rican and Mexican family makes it clear why she became the Director of Latino Outreach at the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (IIIE). Her story of being brought up within mixed identities harkens to the founding of IIIE in 1985 by the parents of Omar Ali who currently maintains the organization – his father Indian and his mother German and Swedish.