By Nargis Rahman, CAIR-MI Office Manager
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest civil rights organization for American Muslims, is holding its 14th Annual Banquet, â€œFaith in Freedom,â€ on April 13, 2014 at the Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich. The Keynote Speaker is Mehdi Hasan, a British political journalist and TV anchor. Hasan is known for a debate at the Oxford Union called, â€œIslam Is a Peaceful Religion,â€ which has more than one million views. Registration for the banquet begins at 1 p.m.
CAIR-MI board and staff invite you to join and celebrate over a decade of civil rights advocacy through education, media, and law. In the past year, CAIR-MI staff has been quoted or appeared in the news more than 150 times and guest appeared or lectured in 60 events and programs.
CAIR-MI Safe Spaces Coordinator Warda Kalim has worked with various institutions to implement Muslim friendly policies such as in Crestwood Public Schools, and Melvindale Public Schools. Accommodations include providing access to halal meals, prayer space and anti-bullying sensitivity training for students and staff. CAIR-MI staff has provided diversity training to the administration of Oakland University, where Kalim worked with university officials and students to renovate and re-open a reflection room. In prisons and jails, Kalim worked to facilitate halal food, gender-friendly facilities, copies of the Quran, and allow American Muslim incarcerated women to wear hijab, the headscarf.
Following a wave of unexplained and unexpected bank account closings by Chase bank, CAIR-MI filed a federal complaint on behalf of community members. Our office facilitated federal monitors through the Department of Justice for Hamtramck voters, where voter discrimination has been previously reported.
When Syrians fled from the civil war, which has claimed countless lives, CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Lena Masri filed more than 60 Syrian political asylum and Temporary Protected Status cases since 2013, with a 100 percent success rate, Alhamdulillah. Masri has filed lawsuits against the CBP and FBI over the detention and religious questioning of Muslims at ports of entry; the Michigan Department of Corrections to change policies regarding the Ramadan fast; on behalf of the Michigan Islamic Academy, an Islamic school which was denied the right to build on itsâ€™ property; and a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a religious leader who was killed during an FBI raid in Detroit. Masri has settled the cases of an inmate who was denied a halal diet due to religious screening, and a Muslim employee who was fired after choosing to wear hijab.
CAIR-MI joined a dozen coalitions to seek justice for cases such as Trayvon Martin, 17, who was killed by George Zimmerman in Florida, Renisha McBride, 19, who was fatally shot by a Dearborn-Heights man, and challenged police brutality in Metro Detroit and the Stop-and-Frisk program in Detroit, similar to the program implemented by the New York Police Department.
CAIR representatives met with 170 Congressional offices to discuss issues on behalf of American Muslims during the CAIR 7th Annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Days in Washington D.C. CAIR-MI staff met with Senator Vincent Gregory at the CAIR-MI office to discuss community concerns of being put on watch lists, Syrian political asylum and Islamophobia, as documented in the HBO documentary, â€œThe Education of Mohammad Hussein,â€ which features CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.
Learn more about CAIR-MIâ€™s work by purchasing a ticket at cairmichigan.org. Tickets are $50 per adult, $30 per student, $10 per child, and a table of 10 for $450. Limited tickets will be available at the door. Call 248-559-2247 for sponsorships. Visit our website for more information.