Sewing new lives for refugee women in Chicago

By Maryam Saleh A long, dark skirt with a blue floral pattern, perfect for an evening out. A white tunic with sheer sleeves, wrapped to the elbow in gold embellishment. A long-sleeve, black-and-white dress with an open front, matched perfectly with black leggings and a pair of pumps. These are just some of the items made […]

Amid political unease, Muslims seek comfort in faith

Muslim Town Hall Meeting at ICN

By Maryam Saleh Standing in front of an American flag that hangs on the wall of the gymnasium at the Islamic Center of Naperville, sunlight spilling through the large windows behind him, Imam Rizwan Ali spoke of hope. “As Allah took care of his prophets, he will take care of us, and we need to […]

Illinois stands with her – and her, and her and her


By Maryam Saleh A tumultuous election year wound down in wild but appropriate fashion early Wednesday, with several critical races still too close to call. One thing’s for certain, though: Female candidates came out on top across the state. As results in the presidential contest rolled in, neither Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton […]

Chicago pediatrician ‘bears witness’ to atrocities in Syria

Kahler at Umayyad Mosque

By Maryam Saleh You would never guess that he was a stranger to Syria only three years ago. He speaks of Syria’s towns with familiarity, of its people with great fervor, of America’s need to do more with righteous indignation. He traveled to three countries to help Syrian refugees, and, at age 69, he risked […]

U.S. Senate race is Milwaukee Muslims’ hope for another Washington ally

Milwaukee Wisconsin Mosque

By Maryam Saleh Milwaukee area Muslims’ support for Hillary Clinton is “unenthusiastic” and “reluctant,” largely stirred by Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, say community members and leaders. But there is one candidate they emphatically stand behind: Democrat Russ Feingold.

Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race heats up, and experts expect a Democratic victory

Russ Feingold

By Maryam Saleh Wisconsin’s unusual U.S. Senate race between an incumbent Republican and the former three-term Democratic senator he unseated in 2010 is heating up, but experts say Russ Feingold,  appears almost guaranteed to defeat Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Besides the significance of such a rebuff to the GOP’s surge in the state, Feingold’s win would […]

Resilient Syrians could use community support

Chicago Ideas Panelists

By Maryam Saleh Wadad Elaly likely has much in common with her classmates at Sullivan High School. Her favorite subject is math, and  least favorite class is gym. She likes to draw, and hopes to someday be a doctor. And like many Chicago residents, she doesn’t much enjoy the weather. But unlike many of those […]

Islamic leader stirs Muslims’ links to Democrats

Entrepreneur and leader Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

By Maryam Saleh His memories of his father behind bars for pro-democracy work in Pakistan planted the seed. The first English phrase he remembers learning is habeas corpus, a legal term rooted in Latin. When his father was filing petitions to challenge his imprisonment, he couldn’t pronounce the word. Now, he laughs, he still struggles […]

Chicago college students urge compassion and action for Syria

Students at Syria vigil

By Maryam Saleh Dana Zakieh gazed at the room full of students and gave them an order. “Sit down if you have ever been forced to leave your country by consequence of a violent occurrence in that country,” said the 20-year-old Syrian-American psychology student. Not a single person took a seat. “This is it. All […]

English is Syrian refugees’ ‘key to survival’

Um Mohammad in classroom

By Maryam Saleh She couldn’t visit a doctor’s office without a translator. Or communicate with her children’s teachers. Or get around a city that felt daunting yet safe. Her Syrian high school education had taught her the very basics. And the two years she spent helping her kids with their homework in Jordan had forced […]