The Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC)
and the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations
(CAIR-Chicago) today announced that three Muslim men of Palestinian
heritage filed a complaint against a Chicago-area theater over
allegations of religious and national-origin discrimination.
The complaint, filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
against Loews Cineplex in Crestwood, Ill., alleges that the men were
evicted from a screening of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" in
February of this year.
The theater security guards allegedly mocked the Arabic spoken by the
men and told them to speak English because "this is America." The guards
also reportedly joked that the Muslim moviegoers might have a bomb.
"Under Illinois and federal law, theaters and other places of public
accommodation must treat all customers equally," said CAIR-Chicago board
member Kamran Memon, who is also legal representative for the men. "We
expect Loews to train its employees to ensure that customers do not face
such harassment, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or national
"What these men endured is unacceptable and must be addressed by theater
management," said MCRC's Community Outreach Coordinator Ahmad Tansheet.
Tansheet said there should be zero tolerance for anti-Muslim bigotry in
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered
in Washington, D.C., and has 28 regional offices and chapters nationwide
and in Canada.
MCRC, an Islamic civil and human rights group based in Illinois, creates
awareness about civil and human rights among American Muslims and
provides legal assistance to victims of rights violations.
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CONTACT: MCRC, Ahmad Tansheet, 708-598-6640, E-mail:
The Ohio office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today announced that Muslim women
who work at the Ohio State University Medical Center will maintain their
right to wear their religiously-mandated head scarves, or hijab. Their
jobs had recently been threatened by an attempt to more strictly enforce
a dress code that would have banned head scarves.
In discussions with CAIR-Ohio, the University Hospitals Office of
Facilities Services agreed that Muslim women will be allowed to work and
wear their head scarves, providing they are white in color. In addition,
CAIR-Ohio has been asked to conduct Islamic awareness training for
medical center staff.
"We are very encouraged by the willingness of the Ohio State University
Medical Center to accommodate the religious needs of its workers," said
Ahmad Al-Akhras, president of CAIR-Ohio.
There are more than 150,000 Muslims in Ohio. CAIR, America's largest
Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional offices and chapters
nationwide and in Canada. CAIR-Ohio was founded in 1998.
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CONTACT: Jad Humeidan, CAIR-Ohio Executive Director,
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today urged state and federal law enforcement authorities to
treat attacks on a Muslim woman driver in Illinois and on a Muslim shopper
in California as hate crimes.
The driver in Illinois, a Muslim convert who wears an Islamic head scarf,
told the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that
she was attacked June 26 after being approached by a group of two women and
one man at a stop sign in Freeport, Ill. She said the attackers began
kicking her car and shouting anti-Muslim slurs after asking for a "light."
One of the attackers allegedly shouted: "Stupid Muslims…F***ing Muslims…Go
back to your country." When the victim got out of her car, she was
allegedly punched a number of times, resulting in trauma to her head. Her
head scarf was also torn off during the assault.
One of the female attackers was charged with misdemeanor battery, but law
enforcement authorities tell CAIR that the charge may be upgraded to a
felony based on the allegations of a bias motive.
Early this morning in California, a Muslim shopper of Middle Eastern
descent was assaulted outside a San Diego grocery store. The perpetrator
allegedly shouted racist slurs before striking the victim in the face and
knocking out his front tooth. Slurs allegedly included: "You f***ing
Arab…Get out of my country."
"Given the apparent bias motives of the perpetrators in both cases, it is
imperative that these attacks be treated as hate crimes and that current or
potential charges be upgraded accordingly," said CAIR Communications
Director Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper added that these incidents come following a
string of attacks on and threats against Islamic institutions and
In Florida, vandals wrote "Kill all Muslims" inside the Islamic Community
Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. The FBI is investigating vandalism and
threatening messages targeting the Islamic Community of Southwest Florida
in Charlotte Harbor. In New Jersey, liquor bottles were thrown on the
grounds of the Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson in Union City.
And in Missouri, vandals painted a Nazi swastika and the word "die" on an
addition under construction at the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis.
Last month, three Miami Islamic centers were vandalized. Similar incidents
have been reported in other states.
In response to attacks on and threats against American Muslim individuals
and communities, CAIR has published a "Muslim Community Safety Kit." The
202-488-8787 and asking for the "Publications Department."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: