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Council on American–Islamic Relations

Council on American–Islamic Relations
Formation June 1994 by Omar Ahmad
Type NGO
Purpose Muslim activism[1]
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
  • 453 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Region served
United States
Executive Director
Nihad Awad
Key people
Roula Allouch, Chairman
Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director

The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a [95]

Consequently, CAIR brought a federal civil lawsuit against Dave Gaubatz and his son (who had obtained the book's CAIR source documents as a CAIR intern) for allegedly stealing the documents.[96][97][98][99][100] U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly concluded that the Gaubatzs "unlawfully obtained access to, and have already caused repeated public disclosure of, material containing CAIR's proprietary, confidential and privileged information," which CAIR says included names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of CAIR employees and donors. As a result, the judge ordered Gaubatz to remove certain documents from his website. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also said that CAIR's employees have reported a dramatic increase in the number of threatening communications since the release of Mr. Gaubatz's book.[95]

Gaubatz agreed in early November to return more than 12,000 pages of disputed CAIR records while the judge considered the lawsuit, but in late November before he could do so the U.S. Government, which previously had no role in the lawsuit, filed a motion in the case under seal, and FBI agents served the Gaubatzes' attorneys with a grand jury subpoena demanding the CAIR records.[101]


CAIR’s literature describes the group as promoting understanding of Islam and protecting Muslim civil liberties. It has intervened on behalf of many American Muslims who claim discrimination, profiling, or harassment.[102][103][104] CAIR is a nonprofit

  • Official website

External links

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  5. ^ Gerstein, Josh. (October 20, 2010). Judge: Feds violated U.S. Islamic group's rights – Josh Gerstein. Politico.Com. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
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  8. ^ a b c The North American Muslim resource guide: Muslim community life in the United States and Canada. Mohamed Nimer, Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 9780415937283.
  9. ^ Shaheen, Jack, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People," 2001, ISBN 1-56656-388-7, Olive Branch Press
  10. ^ "News, July 2000". Islamic Voice. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  11. ^ Noakes, Greg. "CAIR Counters Anti-Islam Card." Washington Report on Middle East Affairs November/December 1994: 62–64
  12. ^ Muslim minorities in the West: visible and invisible. Hadda, Yazbeck, and Smith, Jane I. p. 35, Rowman Altamira, 2002, ISBN 0-7591-0218-X, 9780759102187, accessed November 30, 2009.
  13. ^ The Arab Americans New Americans. p. 81, Randa A. Kayyali, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, ISBN 0-313-33219-3, 9780313332197, accessed November 30, 2009]
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  15. ^ A Rush to Judgment: A Special Report on Anti-Muslim Stereotyping. Harassment and Hate Crimes Following the Bombing of Oklahoma City's Murrah Federal Building, April 19, 1995 (Washington, D.C.: Council on American-Islamic Relations, 1995), 9–20.
  16. ^ "Arab-Americans Suffer Hatred after Bombing," Chicago Sun-Times, May 13, 1995
  17. ^ Richard Roper (April 24, 1995). "Media Stumble Badly in Rush to Judgment". Chicago Sun-Times.(subscription required)
  18. ^ James Brooke, (August 28, 1995) Attacks on U.S. Muslims Surge Even as Their Faith Takes Hold New York Times (accessed May 16, 2012)
  19. ^ Smith, Jane. Islam in America. New York. Columbia University Press, 1999.
  20. ^ Wilgoren, Debbi. "Making Muslim Voices Heard: To Promote the Vote, Leaders Provide Answers and Forms." Washington Post. September 14, 1996: B01.
  21. ^ The North American Muslim resource guide: Muslim community life in the United States and Canada. Mohamed Nimer, p. 134, Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 978-0-415-93728-3. Accessed December 9, 2009.
  22. ^ "Nike Recalls Disputed Logo" The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 25, 1997. Accessed October 24, 2011
  23. ^ Nike and Islamic group end logo logjam. Mohamed Nimer, p. 134, Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 978-0-415-93728-3. Accessed December 9, 2009.
  24. ^ MSN : "How the “Ban” on Images of Muhammad Came to Be" by Jackie Bischof January 19, 2015.
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  26. ^ Cole, David. Enemy Aliens. New York. The New Press, 2003. Page 47
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  33. ^ "Full text of July 2005 Fatwa against terrorism with list of signatories".
  34. ^ Shienbaum, Kim Ezra and Hasan, Jamal (2006). Beyond jihad: critical voices from inside Islam. p. xxi. Academica Press LLC. ISBN 978-1-933146-19-5. Accessed November 30, 2009.
  35. ^ Tariq Ghazi, Muhammad (2006). The Cartoons Cry. AuthorHouse. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-4259-4764-4, accessed November 30, 2009.
  36. ^ Explore the Life of Muhammad. CAIR. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  37. ^ CAIR Launches Campaign to 'Explore the Life of Muhammad'. February 14, 2006. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  38. ^ a b "25 Facts About CAIR". Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
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  50. ^ FBI severed contacts with CAIR in last days of Bush administration. (2009-02-03). Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  51. ^ Trahan, Jason (October 14, 2008). "Judge due to rule on Holy Land defense evidence challenge". The Dallas Morning News.
  52. ^ Abrams, Joseph (January 30, 2009). . Accessed December 3, 2009FOX News"FBI Cuts Ties With CAIR Following Terror Financing Trial,"
  53. ^ "Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder from Representatives Sue Myrick, Trent Franks, John Shadegg, and Paul Broun". October 21, 2009. ( Accessed November 17, 2009.
  54. ^ Yager, Jordy, "House Republicans accuse Muslim group of trying to plant spies," The Hill, October 14, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009
  55. ^ "Letter to U.S. House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms Wilson "Bill" Livingood from Representatives Sue Myrick, Trent Franks, John Shadegg, and Paul Broun". October 21, 2009. ( Accessed November 17, 2009]
  56. ^ Sherman, Jake, and Kady II, Martin, "Islam group ridicules Muslim 'spies' claim", The Politico October 14, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009
  57. ^ , October 14, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009CBS4"Report: GOP Reps Accuse Group Of Planting "Spies",
  58. ^ Congressional Record – House, H11767, October 26, 2009, accessed November 15, 2009]
  59. ^ Ellison, Keith M., "Speech Title: Tri-Caucus Welcomes All Interns And Staff", Location: Washington, D.C. House of Representatives, October 26, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009
  60. ^ Elliot, Justin (November 18, 2009). "Tom Coburn Joins Campaign Against Muslim Group". TPMMuckraker. Accessed November 18, 2009]
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  63. ^ "Press Release: CAIR Welcomes Elimination of Osama Bin Laden".
  64. ^ "CAIR loses IRS Status". Investigative Project on Terrorism.
  65. ^ Smietana, Bob (June 29, 2011). "Muslim charity CAIR scrutinized over missing IRS filings". The (Nashville) Tennessean. USA Today.
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  78. ^ "Levitt, Mathew, Hamas : Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, Yale University Press : May 1, 2006. p. 148 ISBN 0-300-11053-7
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  80. ^ "Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Links to Holy Land Foundation".
  81. ^ Government Exhibit 016-0078 3:04-CR-240-G U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation PalComm July 1994 Meeting"
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  95. ^ a b Doyle, Michael, "Judge: Controversial 'Muslim Mafia' used stolen papers", Charlotte Observer, November 10, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009 Archived September 23, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  96. ^ 25-page Opinion of Federal judge Kollar-Kotelly in Counsel on American-Islamic Relations vs. Gaubatz (November 3, 2009), accessed November 17, 2009
  97. ^ Author Ordered to Remove Documents from Web",Muslim MafiaDoyle, Michael, " Kansas City Star, November 9, 2009, accessed November 15, 2009
  98. ^ Abbott, Ryan (November 2, 2009). "Muslims Say Author Spied & Trespassed". Courthouse News. Accessed November 17, 2009]
  99. ^ Levine, Mike (November 11, 2009). "FBI Ties to CAIR Remain Strained in Obama Administration". Fox News Accessed November 15, 2009.
  100. ^ Laney, Mary (November 12, 2009). "What is Going On in America? Corporate Diversity is not National Security". Chicago Daily Observer. Accessed November 15, 2009.
  101. ^ Gerstein, Josh, "FBI moves to seize CAIR records from author". Politico. November 28, 2009. Accessed Dezember 28, 2014.
  102. ^
  103. ^ Muslims' place in the American public square: hope, fears, and aspirations. Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Rowman Altamira, 2004, ISBN 0-7591-0613-4, 9780759106130
  104. ^ Muslims in the West: from sojourners to citizens. Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, p. 174, Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-514805-3, 9780195148053]
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^ a b Lawmaker Criticizes Muslim Group Director's 2009 Fundraising Letter to Qaddafi


See also

[107] In April 2011, Rep.

CAIR has an annual budget of around $3 million (as of 2007).[94] It states that while the majority of its funding comes from American Muslims, it accepts donations from individuals of any faith and also foreigners.[86] In the past CAIR has accepted donations from individuals and foundations close to Arab governments.[105] Within CAIR there is debate regarding foreign funding, and several CAIR branches have criticized the national office for accepting foreign donations.[94]

Foreign funding

[38] A book entitled


Senator Boxer's 2006 decision to withdraw a "certificate of accomplishment" originally given to former CAIR official Basim Elkarra on grounds of suspicions about the organization's background "provoked an outcry from organizations that vouch for the group's advocacy, including the ACLU and the ethnic profiling," said Maya Harris, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California.[94]

CAIR also says that accusations against it have their roots in its refusal to endorse the U.S.'s blanket condemnation of Hezbollah and Hamas, though it says it did criticize Hamas for civilian deaths.[94]

[94] had at the time ever been linked to CAIR.criminal charges also noted that even though a handful of its former members had faced prosecution, no Times The [94] wrote that "more than one [U.S. government official] described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to New York Times In 2004 an FBI agent said "false claims originate from one or two biased sources," and that a senior FBI official said CAIR would just have to live with them. In early 2007, the

Responses to criticisms


Lobbying and victimology

As of 2007, FBI officials attended CAIR events. In 2009, Fox News said that the FBI broke off formal outreach contacts with CAIR, and shunned all of its local chapters, concerned about CAIR's ties to Hamas.[4] In 2011, the New York Times said that while the FBI and CAIR had no "formal relationship", CAIR officials and chapters worked regularly with FBI officials.[88]

The suicide bombings until late 1994, after Awad made the comment.[86][87] Since then CAIR has denounced violence by Hamas, and in 2006 Nihad Awad said, "I don’t support Hamas today ... we condemn suicide bombings."[86]

[82][81][80] Critics of CAIR, including six members of the

[71] Critics of CAIR have accused it of having ties to

Allegations of ties to Hamas

Local CAIR chapters such as the Michigan chapter organized a "Remember Through Service" campaign which was a video and billboard media campaign which featured positive representations of Muslim-Americans including a Muslim first responder during the September 11th World Trade Center events.[70]

CAIR conducts research on the American Muslim community, releasing annual reports on public opinion and demographic statistics on the community, as well as annual Civil Rights reports concerning issues such as hate crimes, discrimination, and profiling. It also sponsors voter registration drives and outreach, and interfaith relations with other religious groups in America.[69]

Projects and media

In November 2014 it was listed as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.[7][68]

[67] A judge later dropped the charges after deciding they had no merit.[66] In January 2012 CAIR's Michigan chapter took a stance along with the

In June 2011, CAIR lost its federal tax-exempt status for failure to file the appropriate 990 forms for the previous three years. (This does not apply to the local chapters, however.)[64] A spokesman blamed it on an incorrect filing.[65]

Hours after it was announced by President Barack Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed, CAIR put out a statement: "We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel. As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam. In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide. We also reiterate President Obama's clear statement tonight that the United States is not at war with Islam."[63]

CAIR pointed to an arrest of five men in Pakistan on December 10, 2009, as a "success story" between Muslims and Muslim community organizations (like CAIR) and American law enforcement authorities. When the five men left Washington for Karachi on November 28, the families of the men discovered an extremist videotape. Worried, they contacted CAIR, which set up a meeting with the FBI on December 1, and the families shared their sons' computers and electronic devices with FBI agents. A U.S. law enforcement official described them as models of cooperation. CAIR hoped the event would ease "strained" relations of American Muslims with the FBI.[62]

CAIR condemned the Fort Hood shooting and expressed prayers for the victims and condolences for their families.[61]


In 2008, the FBI discontinued its long-standing relationship with CAIR. Officials said the decision followed the conviction of the HLF directors for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, revelations that Nihal Awad had participated in planning meetings with HLF, and CAIR's failure to provide details of its ties to Hamas.[49][50] During a 2008 retrial of the HLF case, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns labeled CAIR "a front group for Hamas."[51] In January 2009, the FBI's DC office instructed all field offices to cut ties with CAIR, as the ban extended into the Obama administration.[52]

On October 22, 2007, the Holy Land Foundation trial ended in a mistrial.[44] CAIR stated that the reason for the mistrial, and no convictions on any of the charges, was that the charges were built on "fear, not facts."[48]

The Investigative Project on Terrorism reported that on August 7, 2007, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent testified at the Holy Land Foundation trial that CAIR was "listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee", that it had received money from the Foundation (conflicting with Nihad Awad's Congressional testimony), and that co-founders Awad and Omar Ahmad were "listed as individual members [of] the Brotherhood Palestine Committee in America."[47]

[46] In response,

[46] In May 2007, the U.S. filed an action against the

California Senator Barbara Boxer in December 2006 withdrew a "certificate of accomplishment" originally given to former CAIR official Basim Elkarra after Boxer's staff looked into CAIR, and she became concerned about some of CAIR's past statements and actions, and statements by some law enforcement officials that it provides aid to international terrorist groups.[42][43]

In 2006, during the protests over cartoons depicting Muhammad, CAIR responded by launching an educational program "Explore the Life of Muhammad", to bring "people of all faiths together to learn more about the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and to use mutual understanding as a counterweight to the tensions created by the cartoon controversy".[36][37] It provided free copies of a DVD or book about the life of Muhammad to any person who requested it. Almost 16,000 Americans requested materials.[38][39][40] In June 2006, CAIR announced a $50 million project to create a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the US. ($10 million per year for five years), in a project to be spearheaded by Paul Findley, a former US Congressman.[41]

Also in 2005, following the Qur'an desecration controversy of 2005 at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, CAIR initiated an "Explore the Quran" campaign, aimed at providing free copies of the Quran to any person who requested it.[35] Nearly 34,000 Americans requested a copy.

In 2005 CAIR coordinated the joint release of a religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram or forbidden—and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs."[33] The fatwa cited passages from the Quran and hadith that prohibit violence against innocent people and injustice, and was signed by the Fiqh Council of North America. Authors Kim Ezra Shienbaum and Jamal Hasan felt it did not go far enough in that it did not address attacks on military targets.[34]

In 2003 CAIR employee Randall "Ismael" Royer was arrested for his role in the Northern Virginia jihad terrorist network.[32]

From 2002–2004 CAIR organized the Library Project, an effort to distribute materials about Islam and Muslims "to as many as 16,000 public libraries nationwide" in the United States.[28] The initiative sent a set of 18 books and tapes to public libraries written by Muslim and non-Muslim authors on Islamic history and practices, as well as an English translation of the Quran.[29] As of December 2004, CAIR received 7,804 sponsorships for the $150 set.[30] The initiative was funded with an initial $500,000 matching contribution from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, whose donation to the Twin Towers Fund was refused by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani because it came with a letter attributing US support for Israel for the 9/11 attacks.[31]

CAIR has conducted investigations, issued reports, held press conferences, filed lawsuits, and organized political action to protest aspects of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

CAIR increased its advocacy work again after the September 11 attacks. In October 2001 CAIR stated that it was opposed to the US's Afghan campaign.[25] By January 2002, four months after the attacks, the CAIR said that it had received 1,658 reports of discrimination, profiling, harassment, and physical assaults against persons appearing Arab or Muslim, a three-fold increase over the prior year. The reports included beatings, death threats, abusive police practices, and employment and airline-related discrimination."[26] The largest percentage of complaints had to do with alleged profiling of Muslims at US airports.[27]

Post-9/11 (2001–present)

In 1997, as depictions of Mohammed are seen as blasphemous by most Muslims, CAIR wrote to United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist requesting that the sculpted representation of the Prophet Muhammad on the north frieze inside the Supreme Court building be removed or sanded down. The court rejected CAIR's request.[24]

In 1997 CAIR objected to the production of sneaker made by Nike with a design on the heel similar to the Arabic word for "Allah".[22] As part of an agreement reached between CAIR officials and Nike representatives, Nike apologized to the Muslim community, recalled the products carrying the design, launched an investigation as to how the logo came about, and built a number of children's playgrounds near some Islamic centers in America.[23]

In 1996 CAIR published a report The Usual Suspects regarding its perception of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the media after the crash of TWA Flight 800. Their research showed 138 uses of the terms "Muslim" and "Arab" in the 48 hours after the crash in Reuters, UPI, and AP articles covering the incident. The official NTSB report said that the probable cause was mechanical.[21]

In 1996, CAIR began "CAIR-NET", a read-only e-mail listserve aimed to help American Muslims identify and combat anti-Muslim prejudice in the U.S. and Canada. CAIR-NET contains descriptions of news, bias incidents or hate speech and hate crimes, often followed by information as to who readers may contact to influence resolution of an issue.[19] CAIR also held its first voter registration drive in 1996; CAIR continues to encourage active political participation by American Muslims, for them to address political candidates and elected representatives with greater frequency.[20]

CAIR continued its advocacy work in the aftermath of the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Following the attack, Muslim-Americans were subjected to an upsurge in harassment and discrimination, including a rise in hate crimes nationally;[15][16] 222 hate crimes against Muslims nationwide were reported in the days immediately following the bombing.[17][18] The bombing gave CAIR national stature for their efforts to educate the public about Islam and religious bias in America; their report was featured on the front page of The New York Times on August 28, 1995 and was subsequently mentioned on ABC World News Tonight.[8]

In 1995, CAIR handled its first case of hijab (the headscarf worn by Muslim women) discrimination, in which a Muslim employee was denied the right to wear the hijab; this type of complaint is now one of the most common received by CAIR's civil rights department.[12][13][14]

CAIR's first office was located in Washington D.C., as is its present-day headquarters on Capitol Hill. Its founding was partly in response to the film True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger which Arab and Muslim groups condemned for its acclaimed stereotyping of Arab and Muslim villains.[9] The offices opened a month before the film's release. CAIR's first advocacy campaign was in response to an offensive greeting card that used the term "shia" to refer to human excrement. CAIR led a national campaign and used activists to pressure the greeting card company, which eventually withdrew the card from the market.[8][10][11]

CAIR was founded in June 1994[8] by three former officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP)—Omar Ahmad (IAP President; became CAIR President), Nihad Awad (IAP PR Director; became CAIR Secretary & Treasurer), and Rafeeq Jaber (IAP Chicago Chapter President; became CAIR Vice President).

Early years (1994–2001)



  • History 1
    • Early years (1994–2001) 1.1
    • Post-9/11 (2001–present) 1.2
  • Projects and media 2
  • Allegations of ties to Hamas 3
  • Lobbying and victimology 4
  • Responses to criticisms 5
  • Litigation 6
  • Operations 7
    • Foreign funding 7.1
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

In 2007 the organization was named, along with 245 others, by U.S. Federal prosecutors in a list of unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers in a Hamas funding case involving the Holy Land Foundation,[3] which in 2009 caused the FBI to cease working with CAIR outside of criminal investigations due to its designation.[4] CAIR was never charged with any crime, and it complained that the designation had tarnished its reputation.[5] It has also been criticized for allegedly publishing propaganda[6] and has been listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates.[7]

[2] agenda.Islamist. Critics of CAIR consider it to be pursuing an Muslims in America, with regional offices nationwide. Through media relations, lobbying, and education, CAIR promotes Islamic perspectives to the American public and promotes social and political activism among Washington, D.C. in Capitol Hill It is headquartered on [1]

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