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Chicago Cubs, Muslim Organizations Create Plan To Combat Islamophobia

February 18, 2019 - 9:47 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) released a joint statement on Monday announcing genuine, meaningful and visible steps toward combating Islamophobia, bigotry and racism.

The statement follows a meeting between Chicago Cubs Executive Chairmand Tom Ricketts and several Muslim groups, including CAIR-Chicago, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago – CIOGC and the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, where they discussed the history of Muslims in America and in Chicago.

The meeting was set up after offensive emails from Joe Ricketts were published.

Muslim fans shared their experiences and said the emails raised doubts about the Ricketts' and organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

According to the Cubs, Tom Ricketts gave an apology on behalf og the organization and expressed a desire to mend relationships in the Chicago Muslim community and lend his support in the fight against Islamophobia.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to further our commitment to diversity and inclusion by joining the Chicago Muslim community in its efforts to eradicate bigotry and Islamophobia,” said Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts, in a statement. “My family and I want to thank Ahmed Rehab and Chicago Muslim leaders for the opportunity to meet and have a frank and constructive dialogue about building a better future.” 

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The meeting concluded with a proposed plan of action to work together against hate and bigotry. It included the participation of notable Muslims in Cubs and Wrigley Field traditions, anti-hate PSAs featuring Cubs personnel helping to raise public awareness against Islamophobia, as well as Cubs support for three community initiatives: anti-bullying efforts, diversity and inclusion training and scholarships.

You will also likely see notable Muslims throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before games as well as leading the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch, said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.

"Another one is scholarships for disenfranchised youths of these communities that were smeared and demonized by those emails," Rehab said.

He said specifics have yet to be worked out. 

“We are encouraged the Cubs, led by Tom Ricketts, responded swiftly and genuinely in partnering with us to turn the situation around. As a result, the Cubs are taking a significant step forward and will use the power of their brand and voice to fight Islamophobia, racism and bigotry. We hope other franchises follow their lead. This active commitment to our shared values of Everybody In is not only great for the brand, but for all fans, for the affected communities and for our city as a whole,” stated CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, in a statement.