Crowd turns on Schaumburg board after it resists calls for cease-fire resolution

Members of a group asking Schaumburg to adopt a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza expressed outrage Tuesday when public comment on the issue was cut off after nine speakers and 38 minutes.

The advocates, residents of Schaumburg and the surrounding region, also voiced dismay after village board members chose not to act on their request because the issue is outside the village’s control.

Members of the group argued that local resolutions are needed to get the attention of higher-level government officials.

Mayor Tom Dailly expressed his personal sympathy for the situation in Gaza before being cut off by members of the audience demanding more time to speak.

“I’m going to say that what is going on in Gaza is clearly a tragedy,” Dailly said. “It’s terrible. It should not be going on.”

That was as far as he got before members of the audience shouted that he was required to hear from everyone.

Dailly also challenged arguments that tax dollars from Schaumburg are funding Israeli soldiers and weapons in Gaza.

“This is not an issue relevant to the operations of the village of Schaumburg government,” he said. “I would dispute that village funds are going to Gaza. That’s clearly not the case. I gave them time to speak. I think the general consensus of other communities will be the same as ours.”

The city of Chicago and village of Bolingbrook have passed cease-fire resolutions, while Naperville declined to act when asked to pass a similar measure last week.

Public comment at Schaumburg’s meeting was moved up from the end of the meeting to the beginning, partly in hopes of allowing the audience to get home before the severe storm Tuesday night.

  Schaumburg resident Akbar Pasha was the first of nine people from across the region Tuesday to ask the Schaumburg village board for a resolution seeking a cease-fire in Gaza. Eric Peterson/

Schaumburg resident Akbar Pasha was the first to address the board, and there initially seemed to be an understanding that he would serve as the spokesman for the advocates until others expressed their desire to speak as well.

“I ask you to support a cease-fire, to put it on your agenda for the next meeting,” Pasha said. “I ask you to please pass a cease-fire resolution. Your stance, message and decisions matter to us. They matter to Schaumburg, they matter to Illinois, and they matter to Palestine and the world.”

While Pasha maintained politeness throughout his presentation, some of the others were more demanding in repeating the request.

Naperville’s city council had heard about 50 people speak on the subject a week earlier, and Naperville resident Ali Sultan said he was at that meeting as well.

“I say to you, the village, the board, Mr. Mayor, if you do not stand up, I promise you, like I said to (Naperville) Mayor Wehrli last week, that come next election your term will end,” Sultan said. “We will remember. We will not forget. We will not forget you. You stand for us, you represent us, you have a moral obligation, a duty. Please do what is right.”

The shouting for more public comment time led to a 15-minute recess. During the break, Pasha tried to voice a more diplomatic version of what others at the meeting were asking for.

“Even if it’s symbolic, we have to stand with humanity,” he said. “The pressure has to be applied at all levels. We’ve got to really look within.”

But when the meeting was later adjourned without a commitment for a resolution, other audience members shouted, “Shame! We will be heard!” as village officials departed the room.

  Schaumburg police officers monitor the situation as some audience members shout “Shame!” at departing Schaumburg village board members who adjourned their meeting Tuesday without a commitment to pass a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Eric Peterson/
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