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February 7, 2019

Emgage and the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition Condemn Islamophobic Emails by Ricketts Family

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 6, 2019

Chicago, Illinois – Emgage and the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, partners in civic engagement, strongly denounce the series of leaked emails by the Ricketts family, revealing years of racially charged jokes, outlandish conspiracy theories, and anti-Muslim rhetoric being shared between members of the family. While TD Ameritrade founder, Joe Ricketts, issued a brief apology for the language in the emails, it is simply not enough. Bigotry and racism has zero place in Chicago and the language used in these emails express some of the most shameful stereotypes of minorities in America.

The emails, published by Splinter News, show exchanges between the family patriarch and founder of TD Ameritrade, Joe Ricketts, Nebraska governor, Pete Ricketts, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, and other members of the family. The emails included numerous disparaging remarks about Islam, labelling it a “cult” and “based on…. a thing of evil.” Joe Ricketts also wrote, “Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society. As you know, Islam cannot do that. Therefore we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society. Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims.”

The Ricketts Family is Chicago-based and have ties with the local community. Members of the Ricketts family are on the boards of organizations and sponsor events throughout the city. The family also owns the Chicago Cubs, one of baseball’s most valuable and well-known Major League teams. For its family owners to hold these kinds of views regarding not just Muslims, but Hispanics, Black Americans, and other minorities casts a dark shadow over the leadership and culture of the club.

Joe Ricketts’ toxic views have no place in our neighborhoods and communities. The Ricketts family, despite distancing themselves from the emails, as well as apologizing for the sentiments discussed within, have not done enough.

Emgage CEO Wa’el Alzayat noted, “This behavior is especially harmful because the Ricketts family enjoys tremendous clout and power on a national level. We at Emgage strive to identify ways to promote and fund diversity, equity, and inclusion, and call upon the family to meet with the leaders of the community. We believe that fostering a safe and productive city begins with addressing hate, bigotry, and ignorance from its most influential members.”

Reema Kamran,Executive Director of the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, said,“Joe Ricketts’ toxic views have no place in our neighborhoods and communities. The Ricketts family, despite distancing themselves from the emails, as well as apologizing for the sentiments discussed within, have not done enough. We call on the Ricketts family to meet with community leaders and local residents. Through these meetings, we can identify ways to promote and fund Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). To create a safe city, we must begin with addressing hate and toxicity from our most influential residents.”

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Contact:

Reema Kamran | reema@ilmuslimciviccoalition.org

Iman Awad | iawad@emgageusa.org

Emgage educates and empowers Muslim Americans through educational events, voter initiatives, and leadership development for the purpose of creating a community of knowledgeable, motivated, and impactful citizens. Emgage seeks to transform the Muslim American electorate into an active and impactful community.

Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition collaborates and amplifies social and civic engagement between Muslim individuals/organizations with the goals of building networks, advocacy, and mobilizing the community towards representation and political education/engagement.