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Civil Rights Director Participates in State Dept. Delegation to Philippines

Feature 304 CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham headed to the Philippines this January as a part of a delegation to the International Visitor’s Program (IVP) Conference in Cebu, Philippines. From January 2-13, Abraham presented on civil rights workshops based upon CAIR-Chicago’s work for victims of discrimination.

Each of the U.S. delegates was chosen for their respective expertise in methods for constructive civic engagement. Conference attendees included lawyers, politicians, doctors, educators and clergy who lead Non-Governmental Organizations in their respective regions. The NGO’s at the conference work to tackle election fraud, government corruption, civil rights, access to medicine and education, poverty alleviation, and promoting a sustainable environment.

As a part of the visit, Abraham also met with Muslim activists from the southern Philippines. While the majority of the Philippines is Catholic, Muslims make up five percent of the population and live mainly within the southern regions, such as Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago. The activists Abraham met with work primarily in Mindanao, where discrimination against Muslims by the government, poverty and access to education are major concerns.

The Mindanao activists have established cooperative projects, created home and community building projects, sent impoverished children to school and worked on a peace and conflict resolution. Abraham discussed several ways that United States-based organizations could potentially help their case.

Abraham left the Philippines impressed by the deep commitment toward the improvement of the human condition that united all of the conference participants.

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