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Muslim group says Cubs promise ‘concrete steps’ after leaked Islamophobic emails

Cubs executives meeting with local Muslims

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and the team's VP of communications, Julian Green, met with local Muslims on Friday. | Facebook

A local Muslim organization said Friday the Chicago Cubs have committed to “concrete steps” they can take to combat Islamophobia in the wake of the leaking of racist emails sent by Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the team.

Members of local Muslim groups met with Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and Julian Green, the team’s vice president of communications, for about 90 minutes Friday afternoon at the offices of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Ahmed Rehab, executive director the chapter, was “positive and hopeful” after the meeting, according to a summary of the discussion he posted on Facebook Friday night. He added that “concrete steps” the team must take to “combat Islamophobia in ways that are genuine, meaningful, and visible” were laid out, but he did not offer details.

“We will in the next few days release a joint press statement announcing those concrete steps” once he has met with Green to follow up, he wrote on Facebook.

Ricketts, according to Rehab, “committed to the concrete steps, adding that he too had not wanted actions that were token or cliche but meaningful and heartfelt.”

In a brief interview with the Sun-Times after the meeting, Ricketts said the get-together was “very positive” and he was “glad we had the chance to get it done.”

The leaked emails show Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, engaging in racist jokes and spouting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.

Besides Rehab, the meeting also included members of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition — and Dr. Kamran Hussain, president of the Muslim Community Center, described by Rehab as a Cubs “superfan.”

Hussain told the Cubs executives that “he now felt blocked out by a franchise that he felt decidedly a part of,” Rehab posted. Rehab also said he played for Ricketts and Green “an audio sample of the dozens of hate messages we received that typically contained accusations of Muslims being foreign and threatening.”

The point was to emphasize for the Cubs executives “the reality of Muslims in America, as juxtaposed with the false narratives that feed the erasure, demonization and exclusion,” Rehab said in his post.

After the leak of the emails earlier this week, Joe Ricketts issued a statement to the Sun-Times and other media outlets:

“I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails,” Joe Ricketts said in the statement. “Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong.”

Contributing: Madeline Kenney