The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop utilizing an immigrations trainer that also works as a Christian missionary to Muslims in the Chicago area.
The Rev. Hicham Chehab says he was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he now serves as both the head of the Chicagoland Lutheran Muslim Mission Association and as a trainer for government immigration officials, as reported by The Winchester Sun.
According to CAIR, Chehab previously taught an anti-terrorism course to the Army Reserve, and is supposed to speak to U.S. immigration officers at the end of this month. But CAIR thinks that Chehab's “bias” should disqualify him from these training sessions.
“While Pastor Chehab is free to engage in missionary activities,” wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to ICE Director John Morton, “it would be inappropriate for him to train government officials who will inevitably interact with American Muslims.”
“We believe training by a person with such obvious bias against Islam and Muslims would only serve to heighten concerns American Muslims have about allegations of mistreatment at our nation’s borders.”
In the letter, Awad also points out the Michigan chapter of CAIR's recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will be investigating possible civil rights violations and profiling of Muslims by officials at the United States-Canada border.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told The Christian Post that he's familiar with the CAIR organization and doesn't think they accurately represent most American Muslims.
"They're ... on the non-moderate side of Islam, in my opinion,” said Land. “And as far as I'm concerned they don't broadly represent large numbers of Muslims in America, although they claim to."
"CAIR needs to understand that if they're going to live in the United States they’ve got to live with diversity of opinion and freedom of speech. They don't have veto power over who the United States government chooses to have perform tasks for them. That's not how it works in America,” he said.
Chehab's ministry, CLMMA, is associated with eight different Lutheran churches. The organization's purpose is to “administer and maintain an ongoing evangelism ministry to Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants in the greater Chicagoland area.”
"Of course they're discriminating against him,” Land said. “They're saying only our kind of Muslim, only someone who has not converted from Islam ... only people we approve can work for the U.S. government in the immigration service. That's not the way it works in the U.S."
"As far as I'm concerned this is a free speech issue, and they don't get the right to tell the federal government what to do,” he added.
Chehab reportedly told CAIR that he “cannot give details” about the upcoming presentation to immigration officials, but did say that he wasn't being paid for it.
He could not be reached for additional comment.