Category Archives: Chicago

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.

Steven Salaita Files Lawsuit Against University of Illinois Board and Donors

Photo by Chicago Tribune

By Bill Chambers

At a press conference this morning, Professor Steven Salaita and his attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Loevy & Loevy announced that Professor Salaita has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UICU) administration, Board of Trustees, and unidentified donors “for violation of his constitutional rights, including free speech and due process.”

Bridgeview Mosque Threats Show Limits of Hate Crime Law

Photo by Fox News Chicago

By Bill Chambers

Two men who had made threats on FaceBook alluding to shooting and killing Muslims at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, a suburb of Chicago, were released on Friday by local police after turning themselves in. The local media only reported that the men were questioned by the Bridgeview Police Department and the FBI, but never explained why after such serious threats they would be released without charge. Why were men who made threats causing the local police to have regular patrols of the mosque, school, and surrounding community released? 

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Judge Reverses Prejudicial Bail Ruling

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

On November 10 with the courtroom packed with Rasmea Odeh’s supporters from Chicago, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain revoked Odeh’s bail and sent her to jail until sentencing on March 10th.

“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.”

With this blatant ignoring of the facts, Judge Drain agreed with the government that Odeh was a flight risk and deserved to be incarcerated in a remote County jail for four months. Yesterday, the same Judge Drain ruled in favor of a defense motion to release Odeh on $50,000 bond.

“Defendant’s dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists, as well as the presence of relatives in Chicago, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that she is not as significant a flight risk as originally believed.”

Before the Judge would neither admit evidence of Odeh’s close ties to the community nor see with his own eyes that community inside courtroom at every hearing. Why the change?

A Muslim-American Take on “Serial”


By Lena Shareef

“Have you heard of this podcast called Serial?”

When three different people (with absolutely no connection to each other) asked me this question in the span of 48 hours, I figured it was time to give Serial a shot.

The Religion of Thanksgiving


By Remal Hindi

When people think of Thanksgiving, they think of how much food they will eat, the outfits they’ll wear, football, and of course, Black Friday. Despite its more superficial modern associations, the essence of Thanksgiving is universal, and has spiritual significance that reflects values of people from all faiths.

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Verdict Devalues Lives of Arab and Muslim Women

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.” With those words, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wiped away Rasmea Odeh’s 20 years of work in Chicago being an advocate for Arab and Muslim women’s rights. The twenty Arab and Muslim women sitting in the front rows who had come to court as representatives of Odeh’s 600 member women’s group were erased as if they did not exist. This statement was only one of many that demonstrated Judge Drain’s disdain for Odeh’s position as a well-loved Palestinian community leader and organizer in Chicago.