WBEZ | Muslims http://www.wbez.org/tags/muslims Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en American Muslim consumer market worth billions http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/american-muslim-consumer-market-worth-billions-109587 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/HauteHijab.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Melanie Elturk launched a modest fashion clothing line a few years ago out of her apartment in Chicago&mdash;joining the populous ranks of business entrepreneurs.</p><p>What makes El-Turk stand out is that she is in the vanguard of a movement to better reach a growing but not yet widely recognized market niche: consumers who, like Elturk, are American Muslims.</p><p>She started Haute Hijab because she did not feel that mainstream fashion catered to the modern young American Muslim.</p><p>Haute Hijab is what you might characterize as a mix of haute couture and the hijab, the religious dress code to which many Muslim women adhere.</p><p>Elturk now runs her online Chicago business from Dubai. She says she specifically designed her brand as a means to support young Muslim women growing up in the United States.</p><p>She says she found, while talking to young girls, that they struggled a lot with their identity.</p><p>&ldquo;One issue that always used to come up was hijab. Just as someone who always embraced hijab, it pained me to see people struggle with whether to wear it or keep it on,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>On her website, Elturk promotes modest fashion as something modern and classy. And she says she discovered an underserved market while developing and promoting her brand.</p><p>A 2010 study by the marketing firm Ogilvy Noor reported that the American Muslim consumer market was worth $170 billion.</p><p>The U.S. has an estimated 8 million Muslims, according to Lisa Mabe, founder of multicultural marketing firm Hewar Communications.</p><p>She says that makes for a lot of purchasing power: &ldquo;There are millions of consumers just waiting to see which brands will be smart enough to engage with them, and those who do will see first-hand not only their spending power but their brand loyalty and brand advocacy.&rdquo;</p><p>Mabe said missing the Muslim market today would be like missing the Latino market in the 1990&rsquo;s.</p><p>But big American companies have yet to latch on to this demographic -- leaving an opening that is being filled by Muslim entrepreneurs.</p><p>Simply Zeena is another modest fashion company whose designs are commonly worn by fashion-conscious Muslim women in the city.</p><p>Amany Jondy, a former Chicago resident, said her company was founded because she felt there was something missing.</p><p>&ldquo;It was the typical frustrated, not being able to find the sort of everyday American-inspired looks that were modest,&rdquo; she said, describing the issue that prompted her to start her own company.</p><p>Jondy said she experienced 30 percent growth in her first year of business,&nbsp; and is projecting 40 percent growth through the end of the year.</p><p>Jondy says she is now making enough money to continue producing new clothing collections for every season. &ldquo;Our goal is to be making much more than what we&rsquo;re making now, but we&rsquo;re self-sustaining and we&rsquo;re profitable,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Fashion is certainly not the only field in which Muslim entrepreneurs are involved. The halal food scene, for instance, has really taken off in the past few years.</p><p>Sameer Sarmast lives in New Jersey, where he blogs and films a Web series about halal restaurants around the country. His popularity in the Muslim community prompted demand for a halal food tour.</p><p>&ldquo;You mention food to anybody, food is a common denominator it will bring people together,&rdquo; Sarmast said.</p><p>Sarmast, who brought his tour to Chicago, this past August, said, &ldquo;The whole idea of halal is growing even beyond the Muslim realm. I feel like it&rsquo;s just going to get bigger and bigger.&rdquo;</p><p>And it does seem to be growing.</p><p>Saffron Road, one particular halal food brand, is now taking the Whole Foods Market chain by storm.<br /><br />Adnan Durrani is CEO of Saffron Road, which produces frozen foods, packaged broths and dry goods. The selling point? His products are halal, organic, and non-GMO.</p><p>Durrani says the initial idea for his company came after the events of 9/11, when he wanted to find a way to focus on the positive aspects of Islam.</p><p>&ldquo;I started thinking of ways to create a business model that was socially responsible, that could reflect the values that I felt were important to me in my faith, and not what I was seeing in the media,&rdquo; Durrani said.</p><p>Just five years ago, he noticed an uptick in the halal food market in Europe.</p><p>&ldquo;Unlike England or France, where the majority of Muslims are below average education level &hellip; in America, the American Muslim demographic was the complete opposite. And that was kind of my wow moment,&rdquo; Durrani explained.</p><p>He said was fascinated by studies that delved into the demographics of the American Muslim market, and what he found amazed him: &ldquo;What I saw was that they were much more educated than the average American. According to Gallup, 67 percent more educated; 80 percent of them are below the age of 40. And so I looked at these statistics and said, &lsquo;Wow, this is really a marketer&rsquo;s dream.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Durrani said his company saw $18 million in retail sales in 2013, and is projecting 100 percent growth this year&mdash;the kind of numbers that are unlikely to go unnoticed by traditional big manufacturers and retailers.</p><p>Durrani said he is confident that as the Muslim population in the U.S. grows, more companies will start to go after their business.</p><p><br /><em>Mariam Sobh is a news anchor and reporter at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/mariamsobh" target="_blank">@mariamsobh</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/american-muslim-consumer-market-worth-billions-109587 Ramadan 2013 off to a confusing start http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ramadan-2013-confusing-start-108001 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/NEW MOON.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For Muslims, Ramadan is one of the most important times of the year. It consists of an entire month of fasting and spiritual reflection.</p><p>Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual relations between sunrise and sunset for 29 or 30 days.</p><p>The start of Ramadan can be hard to define because Muslims use the birth of a new moon to mark the first day of each month.</p><p>Monday night at sunset, some folks sought out the new moon, but didn&rsquo;t see it because according to reports, it was the thinnest crescent moon ever photographed.</p><p>But those who use the Western Lunar Calendar already had their minds made up to start fasting on Tuesday.</p><p>Now add in social media and the confusion intensifies.</p><p>According to Hind Makki, a Chicago-based interfaith educator, many Muslims were poking fun at themselves for not being able to make a decision.</p><p>&ldquo;One of my friends asked on Facebook &lsquo;Are you team Tuesday or team Wednesday?&rsquo; Kind of referencing the whole Twilight &ldquo;Team Jacob&rdquo; or &ldquo;Team Edward.&rdquo;</p><p>Makki said she normally goes by calculations, but changed her mind this year. She decided to stick with what the local mosque in her area was doing so that they could all celebrate together.</p><p>There may be more confusion at the end of the month, when Muslims try to determine when Ramadan ends.</p><p><em>Mariam Sobh is the midday and weekend news anchor at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/mariamsobh">@mariamsobh</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ramadan-2013-confusing-start-108001 For some, Boston news coverage highlights need for Muslims in the media http://www.wbez.org/news/some-boston-news-coverage-highlights-need-muslims-media-106753 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP65997749651.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As details continue to emerge about the two brothers suspected of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday, many American Muslims are processing the treatment that this story has gotten in the mainstream news media. The brothers are ethnic Chechens from Russia, but little is still known about their motives or other affiliations.</p><p>Even before the suspects were identified, news shows and commentary programs on outlets such as Fox News, CNN and Glenn Beck speculated that the perpetrator of the attack was Saudi, Arab, &ldquo;dark-skinned,&rdquo; or Muslim. Fox News pundit Erik Rush provoked particular outcry when he tweeted &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s kill them all,&rdquo; in response to a message about Muslims &mdash;a tweet that he later said was sarcastic.</p><p>&ldquo;[The] Islamophobia machine is out there, it&rsquo;s well-funded, well-oiled,&rdquo; said Abdul Malik Mujahid, a Chicago-area imam and founder of SoundVision, an Islamic educational media organization. &ldquo;Muslims have a responsibility to move forward and use the media which they have the freedom to use to say their opinion.&rdquo;</p><p>Mujahid said the coverage has bolstered his belief that Muslims need to play a bigger role in crafting media coverage, whether by creating their own media outlets or by joining the newsrooms of existing ones. It&rsquo;s a battle that Mujahid began nearly ten years ago, with the launching of Radio Islam, a daily, current affairs program that streams online and at 6 p.m. nightly on WCEV 1450AM.</p><p>A recent show focused on Muslims who were at the Boston Marathon as runners or as first responders. Mujahid said the idea is to counter <a href="http://www.pewforum.org/Muslim/Public-Remains-Conflicted-Over-Islam.aspx" target="_blank">a trend toward unfavorable attitudes toward Muslims.</a></p><p>&ldquo;Despite the fact that Muslims have done a lot of effort to reach out to their neighbors, [perceptions of] Muslims and Islam in America continue to go on the negative side,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>In the wake of the Boston coverage, Mujahid has stepped up a call for donations to expand Radio Islam&rsquo;s programming. He wants to build a new studio downtown to increase the amount of programming, as well as foster the training of Muslim journalists.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve made this switch from more of a victim mentality, more of this idea of please don&rsquo;t beat me up, and kind of scared and not knowing what to expect, as opposed to now taking a more confident and proactive position,&rdquo; said Asma Uddin, an attorney at the Becket Foundation for Religious Liberty and the founder of Altmuslimah, a blog about gender and Islam.</p><p>Uddin said since 9/11, more Muslims have started to think like Mujahid, focusing on how to disseminate their stories through the media. She said she saw the effect of that in the media coverage of the Boston bombings. Although some news outlets rushed to connect the attack to Islam, she said many more were careful not to jump to conclusions.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s become increasingly sophisticated, and part of that, is because Muslims are speaking up and nuancing people&rsquo;s perceptions,&rdquo; Mujahid said.</p><p>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef </a>and @<a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">WBEZoutloud</a>.</p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 20:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-boston-news-coverage-highlights-need-muslims-media-106753 Forget Poles: Palestinians find a home in suburban Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/forget-poles-palestinians-find-home-suburban-chicago-105416 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Laila%20Grape%20Vine%20small.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Laila Maali has owned Grape Vine in Orland Park for nine years. Maali, who is part of the region's large Palestinian diaspora, has lived in the U.S. for 26 years. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" /></div><p>Chicagoans are fond of saying that there are more Poles here than anywhere outside of Poland. But ask about Palestinians and you may get a blank stare. As it turns out, there are likely more Palestinian immigrants living in the Chicagoland area than anywhere else in the U.S.<br /><br />The nexus of Arab American life in the Chicago region is the city&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs. Bridgeview, the oldest and most established of the area&rsquo;s Muslim community, is seen as the hub, but the community also extends to neighboring towns like Oak Lawn and Orland Park.<br /><br />When listeners learned that reporter Michael Puente and I planned to visit Orland Park this week, they asked us to look into the town&rsquo;s diverse population. &ldquo;I work out in Orland and I&#39;d be interested to hear you address the large Arabic populations here,&rdquo; listener Eric Olsen told us. &ldquo;Where are they from?&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Lunch in Little Beitunia (or Big Beitunia, as the case may be)</strong><br /><br />We started our research with a visit to <a href="http://grapevine-orlandpark.com/">Grape Vine</a>, a small storefront grocery and bakery on John Humphrey Drive. It was lunchtime, and the sun filtered in onto shelves lined with pita bread and pickled cucumbers, red lentils and Royal World Tea, bags of rice and jars of butter ghee. Aluminum trays of savory pastries and stout, cigar-shaped falafel sat on the counter. Grape Vine&rsquo;s owner, Laila Maali, stood behind the cash register in a navy blue blouse and loosely draped black hijab, rattling off phone orders from catering customers in a quick mix of Arabic and English.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lunch%20Grape%20Vine%20small.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="The Grape Vine in Orland Park carries a variety of middle eastern groceries -- pita bread, red lentils, butter ghee, pickled cucumbers -- as well as some pretty tasty falafel! (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />While we chatted with Maali, Edward Hassan walked inside. Hassan was smartly dressed in leather gloves and a wool overcoat, and told us that he owned seven strip malls in the area, including the one we were in. The vanity plates on his white Mercedes Benz read LND LRD.<br /><br />Both Maali and Hassan immigrated to the U.S. from Beitunia (sometimes spelled Baytunya), a town roughly eight miles outside Ramallah in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. Maali said she has lived in the Chicago area for 26 years, while Hassan said he came to the U.S. as a child with his parents 50 years ago, first settling in Chicago at 63rd and Halsted then moving to the suburbs.<br /><br />It was Hassan who first tipped us off to the sheer number of Palestinians living southwest of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;There are 23,000 people living here from Beitunia,&rdquo; he told us, much to our surprise. &ldquo;And only 2,000 back in Beitunia.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>How many people of Palestinian descent actually live in the region?</strong><br /><br />The truth is more complicated, but surprising nonetheless. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there were closer to 20,000 people living in Beitunia as of 2007. But sociologist <a href="http://www.marquette.edu/socs/cainkar.shtml">Louise Cainkar</a>, a professor at Marquette University and an expert on Arab immigration, backs up the underlying thrust of Hassan&rsquo;s claim.</p><p>&ldquo;Historically Beitunia was the largest feeder village [of Palestinian immigrants] to Chicago,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Cainkar has spent time in Beitunia and has seen the results of this relationship.</p><p>&ldquo;[The village]used to be characterized by agriculture, but is now quite built up,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Cainkar says the investment from money made in the U.S. and sent back to the village in the form of remittances is visible.<br /><br />Cainkar estimates that as many as a quarter of all Palestinians living in the U.S. live in the counties surrounding Chicago &mdash; more than live any other American city. And, Palestinians make up the single largest Arab ethnic group in the Chicago region, according to Cainkar &mdash; as much as 40 percent of the area&rsquo;s total Arab population. &nbsp;<br /><br />It&rsquo;s actually quite difficult, though, to measure exactly how many people of Palestinian descent live in the Chicago area. And it&rsquo;s hard to know how many people of Arab descent there are in the country as a whole. Nationally, the 2010 U.S. Census found that about 1.9 million Americans are of Arab descent, although groups like the Arab American Institute estimate that the number could be much larger, as high as 5.1 million people. It&rsquo;s a similar story in Illinois; the Census found about 85,000 people of Arab descent living in the state, but again, the AAI thinks the number is much higher, closer to 220,000 total.<br /><br />Cainkar thinks the real number of Arab Americans living in the U.S. &mdash; and in Illinois &mdash; is probably somewhere in the middle of those estimates, but agrees that the Census misses a lot of people.</p><p>The short version of the Census &mdash; given to 82 percent of people who take it &mdash; only measures race, and Arabs are supposed to mark themselves down as white. The 18 percent of people who take the longer version of the survey are asked questions about their &ldquo;ancestry.&rdquo; In 2010, of the people who indicated they were of Arab ancestry, five percent described themselves as being of Palestinian descent. But another 11 percent said they were &ldquo;Other, Arab&rdquo; and another 15 percent said they were &ldquo;Arab/Arabic.&rdquo;</p><p>Cainkar&rsquo;s research suggests that many of these respondents are actually Palestinian, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I looked at the Census tracts block by block, based on where people live,&rdquo; she said, adding that many Chicago communities she knows to be Palestinian weren&rsquo;t counted as such.<br /><br />Regardless of the exact number of Arab Americans living in Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs, their presence is clear, whether in the Prayer Center, the Orland Park mosque with a glowing gold dome and colorful tile walls built in 2004, or the sheer number of businesses that cater to Middle Eastern tastes.</p><p>&ldquo;I counted 100 Arab-owned businesses in less than one square mile between 79th and 87th and Harlem, and that&rsquo;s just a little piece of their commercial enterprises down there,&rdquo; Cainkar said of one portion of the Southwest Side community. &ldquo;That is definitely their hub.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>So why Chicago?</strong><br /><br />What, then, drew Palestinian immigrants and other Arabs to the region to begin with? As is the case with so many elements of Chicago history, Cainkar said the answer lies in the 1893 World&rsquo;s Columbian Exhibition. The fair brought travelers and presenters from all over the globe, including Arab traders who liked the region and found a market here for their goods.<br /><br />That started the first wave of Arab immigration to the U.S., which was followed by many more. And because U.S. immigration policy is focused on family reunification, once a family had one member settled permanently in the U.S., more were likely to follow.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Prayer%20Center%20Orland%20Park%20small.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="The Prayer Center, a mosque in Orland Park, was built in 2004, as more area Muslims moved to town. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Of course, the answer to why there are nearly as many Palestinians living abroad as there are still living in Palestine &mdash; about 4.5 million &mdash; lies in that region&rsquo;s troubled history. Many left or were forced out starting in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel, an event many Palestinians refer to as the &ldquo;Nakba&rdquo; or &ldquo;disaster.&rdquo; (At the time, many Jews were also expelled from or chose to leave their homes in neighboring Arab countries.) Subsequent conflicts, like the 1967 war, prompted subsequent waves of immigration.<br /><br />But Cainkar said the biggest wave of Palestinian immigration to the U.S. came in the 1980s and &lsquo;90s. Many who came were not immigrants but students, Cainkar said, earning advanced degrees.</p><p>Many of those same students-turned-engineers, say, went on to live in Persian Gulf states, drawn by the promise of good paying jobs funded with oil boom money. But 350,000 Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait and other Gulf states in 1990 after the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) refused to back foreign intervention as a solution to Iraq&rsquo;s occupation of Kuwait. Cainkar said that for many of these Palestinians, &ldquo;this meant their only other option for survival was the U.S.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Putting down roots</strong><br /><br />Arab Americans have been subjected to much unwanted scrutiny since 9/11 turned &ldquo;Islamic extremism&rdquo; into a household term that fueled fear &mdash; the 2004 struggle over the Prayer Center in Orland Park is certainly evidence of that &mdash; and Palestinians carry with them a particularly painful history of struggle.</p><p>But Cainkar said that as a whole, America&rsquo;s Arab population, including the entrepreneurial Palestinian community in Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs, is thriving.</p><p>&ldquo;Overall Arab income in the U.S. is higher than the median income of the U.S. as a whole,&rdquo; Cainkar said. &ldquo;Usually groups that face discrimination don&rsquo;t do well in this country, but they&#39;re an exception to this pattern.&rdquo;<br /><br />Back at Grape Vine, property owner Edward Hassan talked not just of his business investments, but of his childhood in Chicago and his service during Vietnam. Hassan said he founded an Arab American veterans group that has over 200 area members, some of whom served in the Korean War.<br /><br />&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t just get off the boat,&rdquo; he told us. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re American.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/forget-poles-palestinians-find-home-suburban-chicago-105416 DuPage faith groups watch minaret decision http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-faith-groups-watch-minaret-decision-97223 <p><p>The DuPage County Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether an incoming mosque may add a minaret and dome to its building plan. MECCA, the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, has applied for a conditional use permit to construct a 50-foot high dome and a 60-foot high minaret. The decision is being closely watched by other faith groups in the county, who are keen to see how the board will respond to requests for modifications to projects that were grandfathered in after the county changed its zoning rules. The new rules, passed in October, limit structures to 36 feet.</p><p>Last week DuPage County’s Development Committee voted neither to approve nor deny the request of MECCA’s developers, splitting evenly on the matter. Complicating the situation is the fact that MECCA is considered an “existing use” because its zoning permit was approved last year before the zoning amendments. Ground has not yet been broken on the project. County Board member Anthony Michelassi said that means MECCA’s application has to be evaluated under zoning rules that existed when it was granted its original permit.</p><p>“If we were to say to any existing religious institution, you can’t put, say, a steeple on top of your building because then you’d have to start lopping off parts of your building elsewhere,” said Michelassi. “That would go completely against the spirit of the text amendments to begin with.”</p><p>Several residents of a housing development next to the MECCA property in unincorporated Willowbrook spoke at the committee meeting to express their opposition to the minaret and dome. Diana Cornett, who lives in the property closest to the site, said she and her neighbors have compromised on their ideals to come to peace with the idea of a large assembly space going up next to their relatively quiet and secluded homes. She said that adding the tall structures would be an even greater imposition on her suburban surroundings.</p><p>“It’s just seeing that much more of a building that we really don’t want to see anymore of,” said Cornett. “And it would be the same if Wal-Mart wanted to build a building and they wanted to add another whole story to it.”</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-faith-groups-watch-minaret-decision-97223 McCarthy publicly reassures Muslims http://www.wbez.org/story/mccarthy-publicly-reassures-muslims-96948 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/Garry McCarthy AP Paul Beaty.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy addressed Chicago-area Muslims over the weekend for the first time since they learned that police conducted blanket surveillance of Muslims in Newark, N.J. while he was police director there.</p><p>Last week McCarthy met privately with Muslim civil rights leaders to allay their concerns on the issue. On Saturday at the annual fundraising banquet for the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, McCarthy spoke to a much broader audience of hundreds of local Muslim-Americans.</p><p>“The Chicago Police Department does not, and will not, conduct blanket surveillance or profiling of any community in the City of Chicago,” said McCarthy.</p><p>He acknowledged that the recent revelation of the spying operation created a challenge for him in his new post.</p><p>“I’d like to make it very clear that I’m a big believer in communication and transparency,” he said, “and sometimes growing out of crisis, there’s an opportunity, and I believe that that’s the case here.”</p><p>McCarthy is the first Chicago Police Superintendent to have attended a CAIR-Chicago annual banquet, according to CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. Rehab said even if McCarthy knew of the spying effort in Newark, he believes that McCarthy did not intend to target Muslims maliciously. He said he’s also hopeful McCarthy’s promise to build positive relations between police and Muslims in Chicago is sincere.</p><p>“Look, time will tell,” said Rehab. “Politicians make promises, leaders claim things - as do our leaders in our community.”</p></p> Sun, 04 Mar 2012 06:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/mccarthy-publicly-reassures-muslims-96948 Chicago Muslims reassured after meeting McCarthy http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-muslims-reassured-after-meeting-mccarthy-96824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/RS3878_Garry McCarthy Police Dept Superintendant.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Less than one week after sending a letter to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, a Muslim rights advocate organization says it has been reassured that Chicago police will not undertake blanket surveillance of the city’s Muslim population.</p><p>The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations addressed the letter to McCarthy after learning that while McCarthy was police director in Newark, N.J., he knew of a wide-ranging surveillance operation that the New York Police Department undertook to monitor Muslims in Newark. The 2007 surveillance operation, which NYPD characterized as a “joint operation” with the Newark Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, resulted in a 60-page report about where Muslims in Newark lived, socialized, and prayed.</p><p>McCarthy has distanced himself from the operation. On Tuesday morning, McCarthy met with individuals from CAIR-Chicago and from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, to respond to their concerns.</p><p>“We sought and received reassurances that such a program would not be carried out in Chicago and that the superintendent stood against community profiling and blanket investigations,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.</p><p>Rehab said he has no reason to believe that McCarthy, who was appointed to head Chicago’s police department by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, harbors any anti-Muslim sentiment.</p><p>“We’re hoping that this marks a new page for Muslim-police relations, in which we move forward,” said Rehab. “There’s two sides to the same coin: safety and civil rights, there can be a balance achieved between both, and there will be.”</p></p> Wed, 29 Feb 2012 14:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-muslims-reassured-after-meeting-mccarthy-96824 After 9/11, Chicago FBI tries to improve its image within Muslim community http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-09/after-911-chicago-fbi-tries-improve-its-image-within-muslim-community-91 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/AP061208019796.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today, we’re looking at how 9/11 transformed Muslim-Americans around the country and in Chicago.</p><p>In a previous segment, we talked to a lawyer who defended the Global Relief Foundation, a local Islamic charity shuttered by the federal government shortly after the attacks. The group was never convicted of any wrongdoing. Incidents like this did nothing to endear the government to American Muslims. To build relationships and trust, the<a href="http://www.fbi.gov/chicago"> FBI office in Chicago</a> has made a concerted effort to reach out to the local Muslim community.</p><p>For a progress report, WBEZ’s criminal justice reporter, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/robert-wildeboer">Robert Wildeboer</a>, sat down with Robert Grant, who heads the FBI’s Chicago field office. They began with the controversy surrounding the government’s decision to close two Islamic charities in Chicago.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 17:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-09/after-911-chicago-fbi-tries-improve-its-image-within-muslim-community-91 Worldview 9.9.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-9911 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-september/2011-09-09/rabih.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, <em>Worldview</em> explores the terror attack's impact on Chicago’s Muslim community. We’ll speak with an attorney for Rabih Haddad's Global Relief Foundation, one of two local Muslim charities shuttered by the federal government shortly after the attacks. WBEZ criminal justice reporter Robert Wildeboer talks to Robert Grant, the head of the FBI’s Chicago office, about the agency's efforts to gain the trust of the city's Islamic community. Local imam Abdul Malik Mujahid gives us his take on the federal government's Muslim-American outreach. And WBEZ's North Side Bureau reporter Odette Yousef finds out how one suburban Muslim school teaches 9/11 to its students.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-9911 Muslim group markets faith with grassroots campaign, airplane http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-markets-faith-grassroots-campaign-airplane-90824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-22/MFL Pictures 058.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As Chicagoans turn their gaze to the sky this weekend they'll be greeted by the following message: “Give Blood---Save Lives---Muslims for Life.”</p><p>The message will be on a banner trailing from a plane, with over a million people watching Chicago’s 53rd annual Air and Water show.</p><p>The group behind the banner is a local Muslim denomination known as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In 2010, they launched “Muslims for Peace” and “Muslims for Loyalty,” both grassroots campaigns meant to spread the truth about Islam. Ads ran from the side of Chicago buses to electronic billboards in Times Square, New York. This weekend they are launching “Muslims for Life,” to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.</p><p>The banner attempts to push the message that Muslims want to protect life, not take it.&nbsp;</p><p>“Terrorists have painted an untruthful picture of Islam--of death and destruction, whereas Islam protects the sanctity of all human life” said Haris Ahmed Public Affairs director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. “As we approach the 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Sept. 11, we wanted to conduct blood drives aimed at saving American lives.”</p><p>The Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community is aiming to raise 10,000 units of blood nationally--enough to save 30,000 lives, the group said. Members from the local Chicago chapters plan on dispersing twenty thousand “Muslims for Life” brochures through the weekend.</p><p>Spokesperson for the event, Farah Qazi said the group decided the Air and Water Show was the best way to promote the blood drive to Chicago’s diverse community. “This is an interfaith and community-partnered event,” Qazi said. “We hope to invite people from all backgrounds to be a part of this massive effort.”</p><p>The blood drive is one part of a series of events the group is hosting to commemorate 9/11’s 10th anniversary. Other events include interfaith services and various press conferences to reiterate Islam’s message of peace and nonviolence in a world that is sometimes “Islamaphobic,” Qazi explained.</p><p>The blood drive will take place in the days leading up to Sept. 11 at various locations including mosques, churches and established blood banks like Lifesource.</p><p>More information about the campaign can be found at <a href="http://www.muslimsforlife.org/">www.muslimsforlife.org</a>. Questions about the blood drive can be directed to PR@IslaminChicago.org.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 22:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-markets-faith-grassroots-campaign-airplane-90824