Category Archives: Editorials
By 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.
By Aseal Tineh
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the New York Police Department (NYPD) labeled entire mosques and Muslim organizations as “terrorism enterprises” in order to justify spying on imams, congregants, and ordinary Muslim civilians as a part of the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program, signifying law enforcement’s inability to protect the constitutional and civil rights of its citizens.
Once more, the NYPD has labeled an entire community as terrorists based solely on their religious beliefs, despite a lack of reasonable doubt or suspicious wrongdoing. “Terrorism enterprise investigations” (TEIs) allow the NYPD “to monitor political or religious speech whenever the ‘facts or circumstances reasonably indicate’ that groups of two or more people were involved in plotting terrorism or violent crime,” essentially legalizing the surveillance of any person who attends religious prayers or events and thus evading the First Amendment.
By Sarah Goomar
This summer, I was privileged enough to have interned at a non-profit called the Enough Project in Washington DC. The Enough Project is a human rights organization committed to documenting and combatting human rights abuses in Central Africa, namely in Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My experience as a policy intern undoubtedly refined my research and writing skills, but perhaps more importantly helped me understand the importance of bearing witness and responding to mass atrocities around the world as a young Muslim activist.
Shaker Aamer, a Saudi national, was captured in Afghanistan back in 2001 while engaging in humanitarian work. After he was captured he was tortured in Bagram, and later in Guantanamo, where he was transferred. He has now been imprisoned without charge or trial for 11 years.
Initially the US justified Aamer’s capture and imprisonment under the pretense that he was helping the Taliban, but no formal charge was ever made. In 2007, Aamer, along with a handful of other prisoners, was cleared for release. Six years later and his release is yet to be made.
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.
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.
By Chicago Monitor Editorial Team
The Muslims are Coming!, directed by Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad, is part mockumentary, part adventure story. The movie provides a compelling portrait of a roguish group of Muslim comedians who bring their stand up show to venues across the Southern United States and the reactions they receive from audiences and interactions on the street.
The movie includes interviews with star comedic geniuses: Jon Stewart, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Aasif Mandvi and Lewis Black. The message is simple: Muslims are like you and me, they laugh and they cry and they can be pretty damn funny!
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), infamous for their awkward airport patdowns and serving as a source of stress for travelers in the United States, has quietly started expanding their reach into other areas of domestic transportation.
Most notably, TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams have been seen at Union Station in Washington D.C. They have also been seen in other hubs of transportation, such as bus terminals, and allegedly festivals and concert venues across the country. VIPR was created after the 2005 train bombings in Madrid with the goal to protect all forms of transportation across the nation.
When entering Timeline, patrons instantly feel immersed in a world of history and theatricality. In their current production, Blood and Gifts, the audience must climb through metal scaffolding to reach their seats. The walls are adorned with maps of Afghanistan, biographies and portraits of figures like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and William Casey, and historical synopses of the Cold War. Furthermore, the performance transpires on the floor, encircled by the audience, enabling viewers to feel like a fly on the wall, a historical witness, rather than confined to the traditional distinction between stage and spectator.
For 15 years, Timeline has provided Chicago theatregoers with “Stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues.” Although TimeLine’s mission is commendable, its current production of Blood and Gifts serves as an unsettling reminder that history is oft-written from a very particular perspective- a perspective that reflects the mythologies produced by those in power.
By Rhys Leahy
Fidel Castro once said that the difference between democracy in Cuba and democracy in the United States is that “I don’t have to answer questions from Helen Thomas.” During her 70 year career, journalist Helen Thomas was renowned for her unabashed questioning of US politics, and her remarkable tenure in the White House Press Corp, spanning ten American presidents, from Kennedy to Obama. She served as the first female president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the first female member of the Gridiron Club, as well as the first female officer of the National Press Club.