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Moussa brings experience and capabilities from his years of professional service to the community in the medical and hospital services as well as a leader in the Muslim Community and a community activist to provide a unique perspective to his role as a board chair. In addition, Moussa's activities in the areas of interfaith relations and community involvement bring a depth of experience that is essential to CAIR-Kansas. His experience as a civil rights activist and his passion for justice provides CAIR-Kansas with a valuable asset.
Yes. Numerous Muslim scholars have confirmed that Zakat is payable to organizations that exist to serve the Muslim community by protecting their rights. This is because the work done by CAIR (and other such organizations) can be classified as fi-sabilillah, which is one of the eight categories of Zakat recipients detailed in the Quran (Chapter 9, Verse 60).
Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Kutty a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
“I think it is not only permissible, rather it is also imperative that we do give our zakah to organizations like CAIR and CAIR-CAN, since they are fulfilling a most timely and essential service for the healthy survival of the community. Supporting such institutions clearly falls under the legitimate objectives of zakah as expounded by authentic scholars and jurists of Islam, both of the past and the present.
The categories of recipients of zakah are stated in the following verse: “Charities are (meant) only for the poor and the needy, and those who are charged with collecting them, and those whose hearts are to be won over, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage, and (for) those who are overburdened with debts, and (for those who strive) in Allah’s cause (fi sabili-llah), and (for) the way-farer: (this is) an ordinance from Allah—and Allah is All-Knowing and All-Wise” (At-Tawbah: 60).
As is clear from the above verse, one of the categories is fi sabili-llah. … among the commentators of the Qur’an (mufassirun) as well as the jurists (fuqaha’), who have used the term fi sabili-llah in a far wider sense, thus extending it to include all beneficial works and projects that are of common benefit to the Ummah. They have thus included in this category such services as funeral arrangements, building and taking care of schools and mosques, establishing hospitals, building bridges, etc. In short, they definitely include institutions that provide educational or social services under this category and thus eligible to receive funds from zakah.
A principle of jurisprudence states: if a thing which has been considered as obligatory cannot be fulfilled without fulfilling another, then fulfilling the latter also becomes obligatory. Thus since protecting the rights of Muslims and empowering Muslims cannot be achieved without such institutions, it is imperative that Muslims support and maintain such institutions.
Muslims should have no hesitation in giving part of their Zakah to CAIR, which is providing a most timely and essential service for the cause of Islam and Muslims. They both have a reputation for professionalism, efficiency, commitment, and integrity, which in my mind are the most valuable assets of any Islamic organization worthy of the name.
May Allah give us all the honor of serving His cause efficiently and professionally, and may He also accept our humble efforts in His cause. Ameen.”
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a well known Islamic Scholar, a regular commentator on Islamic issues and makes fatwas on issues of importance to Muslims.
Shiekh Ahmad Kutty’s Biography: Born in Kerala State, India (1946) Nationality: Canadian
SCHOLARLY PAPERS/WORKS/PUBLICATIONS, ETC.
PARTICIPATION IN SEMINARS/SYMPOSIA, ETC.
Top Internet Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories About CAIR
Updated May 2013
"CAIR exists to uphold the right to liberty that Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. We will challenge any attempts to erode constitutionally-protected liberties. We will also continue to work to ensure that American Muslims play a positive and productive role in our society." - Former CAIR National Board Chairman and retired North Carolina State Senator Larry Shaw, March 2009.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has a record of exemplary social and political activism stretching back to 1994. The organization is arguably the most visible and public representative of the American Muslim community.
Because of CAIR's high profile and very public record of principled advocacy of civil liberties, interfaith relations and justice for all people, a small but vocal group of anti-Muslim bigots has made CAIR the focus of their misinformation campaign. Internet hate sites then recycle these attacks using a template-like style without verifying the authenticity of the information.
This document summarizes the most common of these attacks and offers a fuller picture of these issues for your evaluation.
CAIR was born out of a desire on the part of its founders to "concentrate on combating anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide." The organization's advocacy model -- work closely with media and provide direct services to local Muslim communities -- was developed when Nihad Awad and Ibrahim Hooper worked as community activists.
In a March 14, 2007 New York Times article, Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005, said, "Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares."
The article also reported, "Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association."
CAIR is not is "the Wahhabi lobby," a "front-group for Hamas," a "fund-raising arm for Hezbollah," "...part of a wider conspiracy overseen by the Muslim Brotherhood..." or any of the other false and misleading associations our detractors seek to smear us with. That we stand accused of being both a "fundraising arm of Hezbollah" and the "Wahhabi lobby" is a significant point in demonstrating that our detractors are hurling slander not fact. Hezbollah and the Salafi (Wahhabi) movement represent diametrically opposed ideologies.
CAIR's origin story is simple. In the February-March 2000 edition of "The Link," a newsletter published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Nihad Awad wrote the following, "The core challenge [to American Muslims], that of stereotyping and defamation, was having a devastating effect on our children and paralyzing adults from taking their due roles in civic affairs." Based on a desire to address this issue on a national level, Awad, "contacted my friend Ibrahim Hooper, a professional journalist and communications genius, and tried to persuade him to move to Washington and join the project."
With this premise in mind, CAIR was founded in 1994.
CAIR's advocacy model is the antithesis of the narrative of anti-American extremists. Indeed, our track record of success solidly repudiates extremist arguments that Muslims cannot get fair treatment in our nation.
CAIR advocates for American Muslims through the media, government and all legal, traditional avenues available to public interest groups. CAIR staff and volunteers proactively train our community in strategies to improve grassroots ability to take their due roles in civic affairs and redress grievances.
Our moral position is clear. We unequivocally condemn terrorism. Any group that hurts civilians deserves condemnation. As recently as January, 2009, CAIR's vigorous condemnation of violence committed in the name of Islam was acknowledged by the United States Institute of Peace in its report "Islamic Peacemaking Since 9/11."
We are proud of our principled advocacy for just and peaceful resolutions to conflicts even when that advocacy requires stances that are not viewed as politically correct.
In truth, however, condemnations alone do not solve problems. That is why CAIR's moral position, which is prompted by the basic Islamic principle that no one has the right to take innocent life, is backed by action. CAIR has its sent staff to Baghdad to appeal for the release of a kidnapped American journalist; produced anti-terror public service announcements in English, Arabic and Urdu; coordinated an Islamic anti-terror religious ruling (fatwa); raised money for rebuilding churches in the wake of Middle East violence and called on Islamic religious leaders to deliver anti-terror messages in their sermons.
CAIR has condemned specific terrorist actions against Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Americans, Spaniards, Turks, Israelis, Saudis, Russians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, British, and so on.
CAIR has condemned specific terrorist groups by name. On 3/11/2009, the fifth anniversary of the tragic Madrid attacks, CAIR issued a statement saying, "We unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al-Qa'ida, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a 'Foreign Terrorist Organization'."
In 2007, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad joined 137 other Muslim leaders and scholars from around the world in sending a first-of-its-kind open letter designed to promote understanding between Muslims and Christians worldwide. The letter, entitled "A Common Word Between Us and You," was sent to Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and more than 20 other Christian leaders. Awad is also an original endorser of the Amman Message and its three points of tolerance.
Anti-American extremists are well aware of our rejection of their views. Following CAIR's criticism of remarks by an extremist leader, a German blogger noted that some within the "jihadi community...issu[ed] angry rants about the apparent treachery of American Muslims, including specifically the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)." Alleged Tampa Bay extremist Sami Osmakac, who was charged in 2012 with plotting to attack location in Florida, also railed against CAIR.
We find that our detractors prefer to nitpick -- to give a facetious example: "You did not condemn terror against Brazilians, ergo you must support it" -- rather than acknowledge our resoundingly clear words and deeds.
To allow ourselves to focus on promoting a more positive society rather than writing a specific condemnation of every group or addressing murderous behavior toward every ethnic and religious group on the planet, we have adopted a simple, comprehensive message: "We condemn terrorism whenever it happens, wherever it happens, whoever commits it. Period."
This is a lie; no evidence substantiating this falsehood has ever been offered. No CAIR document or official ever made such a statement. CAIR obtained hard copies of relevant editions of the Muslim World Monitor, the publication in which Awad is alleged to have made this remark. Awad never wrote or spoke the comment or anything like it. In addition, he was not the editor in chief of Muslim World Monitor as CAIR's detractors claim.
CAIR has never dealt with this case other than a one-paragraph mention in the 1996 CAIR report on Muslim civil rights in which CAIR quoted attorney Stanley Cohen as saying that he thought "... the case against his client is political rather than criminal."
CAIR's operational budget is funded by donations from American Muslims.
While the majority of CAIR's financial support comes from American Muslims, CAIR is proud to receive the support of every individual -- whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or of another faith background -- who supports the organization's mission of promoting justice and mutual understanding. This willingness to accept support from foreign nationals exists as long as there are no "strings" attached to the bequest.
The U.S. government, corporations and many other non-profit organizations -- such as the American Red Cross -- routinely receive money from foreign nationals.
CAIR is frequently criticized for receiving $500,000 from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men. That money was donated specifically to CAIR's library project, a program designed to distribute a set of books on Islam, the majority of which were written by non-Muslim academics, to libraries so that people can learn more about Islam.
According to Forbes magazine, Bin Talal's Kingdom Holding "...contains his investments in well-known companies such as Citigroup and News Corp., as well as Four Seasons Hotels and Fairmont Hotel management companies, among many others." (Forbes, 3/05/2008)
News Corp. is headed by Rupert Murdoch and is the parent company of Fox News channel.
If CAIR is taken to task for bin Talal's donation to us, so should these companies be taken to task for accepting his money.
CAIR was proud to receive that donation to help further efforts to eradicate ignorance and misinformation about Islam.
CAIR detractors -- such as Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes -- selectively recycle this and other incomplete statements to assert their pre-fabricated conclusions.
In response to a direct question from an audience member about social programs in the occupied territories, Awad said, "I'm in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO." This excerpt was lifted from a longer answer in which Awad also stated: "There are some radicals. We are not interested in those people."
This statement was made in March 1994, before CAIR was formed. Hamas did not commit its first suicide bombing until October 1994. The United States subsequently identified Hamas as a specially designated terrorist in January 1995.
Thus, Awad's remarks came seven months prior to Hamas' first suicide bombings and nine months before the organization received the specially designated terrorist label from the government.
Our detractors always fail to add that in 2006 Awad said, "I don't support Hamas today. My position and CAIR's position is extremely clear: we condemn suicide bombings. We are mainstream American Muslims." (Associated Press, 11/22/2006)
Awad and CAIR have consistently denounced violence by Hamas, Israel and other groups and advocated peaceful and negotiated resolutions to conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.
This issue was settled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Department of Justice in CAIR's favor.
On October 20, 2010, Judges Garza, Benavides, and Crone of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Department of Justice violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and by implication the rights of more than 300 similarly-named Muslim organizations and individuals, such as CAIR, when it included them on the publicly-filed un-indicted co-conspirator list in 2007.
The court also ruled that inclusion on the list was the result of "simply an untested allegation of the Government made in anticipation of a possible evidentiary dispute that never came to pass." The listing is simply part of tactical pre-trial maneuvering and not an indicator of guilt.
In August 2007 Newsweek reported, "According to one senior law-enforcement official (who asked not to be named talking about an ongoing case), the listing of ISNA, CAIR and other groups as 'unindicted co-conspirators' was largely a tactical move by the government." (Newsweek, 8/08/2007) A June 2008 ACLU press release also reports, "The prosecutor also acknowledged that the public labeling was simply a 'legal tactic' intended to allow the government to introduce hearsay evidence against HLF later at trial."
The three-judge court of appeals panel was the final arbiter and takes precedence over an earlier ruling by district Judge Jorge Solis.
In 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that Department of Justice officials determined after "looking at the facts and the law, a prosecution would not be appropriate." This conclusion was reached after two reviews conducted under both the Bush and Obama administrations.
After Holder, the chief law enforcement officer in America, stated this fact, internet rumor held that a prosecution had been suppressed due to political interference.
This allegation has also been put to rest.
James Jacks, the U.S. Attorney who led the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation issued a statement that was partially reproduced in the Dallas Morning News: "'The decision to indict or not indict a case is based upon an analysis of the evidence and the law,' [Jacks] wrote. 'That's what happened in this case.'"
The Dallas Morning News (U.S. attorney in Dallas says Obama's White House didn't meddle in case, April 29, 2011) went on to report the following:
"Nathan Garrett, a former FBI agent who was also a prosecutor in the Holy Land case until he left for private practice in 2007, said 'politics played no role' in determining who was prosecuted when he was there.
"'Decisions were hashed out in often tough and pressure-filled situations and conditions, but always -- in my experience -- grounded in evidence and law,' he said. 'The process was what the American people would want and expect it to be.'"
Garret's assertion was later mirrored by special agent in charge of the Dallas FBI Field Office, Robert E. Casey Jr. The Dallas office did the investigating preceding the HLF indictments. Reflecting on his twenty-six years in the FBI, Casey said, "...I've never been told to stop doing something that was legitimately authorized because of some political or other agenda." (Source: Jason Trahan, "FBI's top North Texas agent looks back at his career," Dallas Morning News, March 1, 2012.)
Finally, there is no legal implication to being labeled an unindicted co-conspirator, since it does not require the Justice Department to prove anything in a court of law. Merely claiming someone is guilty without due process is both un-Constitutional and offensive to the principles of our justice system.
The short answer to this is guilt by association. CAIR has hundreds of board members and employees and thousands of supporters. It would be illogical and unfair to hold CAIR responsible for the personal activities of all these people.
For example, when Aldrich Ames (CIA) and Robert Hanssen (FBI) admitted to being spies for foreign governments, it did not automatically associate the CIA or FBI with being complicit in any of these criminal activities. Currently, former members of US Congress are serving jail time and others are under the cloud of ethical suspicion. Does such behavior by members of Congress while in office incriminate the entire U.S. Congress?
The acts of a person done outside the scope or duration of his or her employment, and without the employer's knowledge, have no legal bearing on the employer.
CAIR believes that anyone who is found guilty of committing a crime, especially one that furthers terrorist motives, should receive a fair, objective trial and, if found guilty, be punished to the fullest extent of the law. CAIR would never compromise its principles, both American and Islamic, in the furtherance or assistance of any illegal endeavors.
McCarthy-like attempts to portray CAIR as guilty by association with certain individuals evoke memories of attempts to smear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a communist or womanizer.
The smears normally involve the following individuals: Ismail Royer, Dr. Bassem El-Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, and Ghassan Elashi.
ISMAIL ROYER -- In January 2004, Royer pled guilty to weapons charges. He did not plead guilty to any charge of "terrorism." Any criminal action to which he pleaded guilty was done when Royer was no longer employed with CAIR and it was certainly not at CAIR's direction.
BASSEM EL-KHAFAGI -- El-Khafagi was never an employee of CAIR and was never convicted on terrorism charges. According to the Associated Press (AP) article announcing his plea, federal officials stated that he was charged with writing bad checks in February and June of 2001. El-Khafagi was an independent contractor for CAIR, effective November 2, 2001. The actions of which he was accused occurred before any relationship with CAIR had commenced and without any knowledge by CAIR's of any wrongdoing on his part. Writing bad checks is a criminal offense, not terrorism. Surely if there had been strong evidence of terrorist activities, the Justice Department would have vigorously pursued those avenues and not allowed him to plead guilty to non-terrorism related charges.
RABIH HADDAD -- Haddad was never an employee of CAIR. He was "deported for overstaying his tourist visa" and was "never charged with a crime." He was never an employee or associate of CAIR. His only association with CAIR was as a speaker at a single CAIR chapter event. He was not a "CAIR fundraiser," as is sometimes claimed.
GHASSAN ELASHI -- Elashi was never an employee or officer of CAIR. The fact that Elashi was once briefly associated with one of our more than 30 regional chapters has no legal significance to our corporation since any actions he took were outside the scope and chronology of his association with one of our chapters.
Writing in the New York Times on March 11, 2011, Scott Shane reported, "Last month, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said that the bureau had no 'formal relationship' with CAIR, but that the organization's officials and chapters regularly worked with F.B.I. officials on investigations and related matters. This included a news conference held on Thursday in Sacramento to announce an arrest in a mosque vandalism case."
CAIR's work with law enforcement was highlighted by the Congressional Research Service, the non-partisan institution which works for the U.S Congress, in its 2010 report American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat:
CAIR has long worked to improve Muslim community relations with law enforcement, a CAIR press release issued in October of 1998 is the earliest record we have of CAIR meeting with FBI representatives.
Despite this, in 2008, FBI offices contacted many CAIR chapters stating that they were suspending some ties between the Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group and FBI field offices. This action was apparently taken in relation to issues laid to rest in Internet Disinformation #6.
The letters also stated that the FBI would continue to work with CAIR on civil rights issues impacting American Muslims.
As a civil rights organization, CAIR is frequently called upon to challenge FBI actions. In this role we have filed legal challenges against the FBI in cases involving the placement of an agent provocateur in mosques in California (the case noted above) and the apparent use without a warrant of a GPS tracking device on a man's car, also in California. We have also challenged the bureau on its use of anti-Muslim trainers for its agents.
As a Muslim advocacy organization, CAIR frequently calls upon the FBI to investigate acts of hate directed at community members. As demonstrated above, when persons of concern are brought to our attention we also report that.
"The Constitution is the law of the land and CAIR likes it that way. Our organization expends enormous legal and advocacy energy defending its principles," CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick told the New York Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs by in 2011. McGoldrick's words are the best summary we can offer of CAIR's position on our nation's founding document.
CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor said the same thing in a 2011 blog post discussing the role of Islamic law in the United States, a subject that is in vogue among conspiracy theorists who assert that Muslims are sneaking sharia into America:
"The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. Individuals may enter into agreements based on their faith. Such practices are reasonably common. However, any such agreement must comply with U.S. law. So if I choose to finance my house with a sharia-compliant company, the resulting contract must be within the boundaries of standing law."
For the most part, the subversion conspiracy allegation relies on a line found in wiretaps of a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia during which a participant discussed "establishing alternative organizations which can benefit from a new atmosphere, ones whose Islamic hue is not very conspicuous." The conspiracy theory runs that CAIR was the product of this discussion.
CAIR is subjected to reams of false accusations, but even our most vehement detractors never assert that the organization is "not very conspicuous" in its "Islamic hue."
Indeed, "Islamic" is all over our founding. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was created as an "organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims," a "Washington-based Islamic advocacy group" and an "organization dedicated to providing an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public." (Emphasis added.)
In 1995, CAIR took on its first discrimination case involving an employer refusing to reasonably accommodate an employee's choice to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf. Since the headscarf is one of the key things frequently associated with Islam in the public consciousness this choice appears contradictory of the alleged goal of being inconspicuous.
In 2002, PR Week noted that, "Since 1994, CAIR has employed a well-rounded plan in its role as a top Muslim voice in the US." (Source: PR Week, 11/04/2002) That CAIR is the American Muslim organization most frequently cited by media outlets, a "top Muslim voice," also undermines any assertions that CAIR was sneakily founded to be "inconspicuous."
Another pillar of the subversion conspiracy theory is that CAIR is attempting to infiltrate the United States government for nefarious purposes. This conspiracy theory's key document is the book Muslim Mafia. One of the book's authors has likened Islam to a "cancer" and the other once proposed putting pigs' blood in water in Afghanistan.
At the time of the book's release, Newsweek concluded, "CAIR has tried to place interns on Capitol Hill, but as it points out, that's standard practice for advocacy groups of all types and allegiances. There's no proof of sinister motives or an effort to encourage international jihad."
The book's sole credibility boost came from its forward, which was written by then U.S. Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC).
According to Mother Jones, community activist Mohamed Elibiary met with Myrick in September 2011. Elibiary says, "[Myrick] let me know that she doesn't hold any bad feelings towards the community and that some of the previous things, like her writing the foreword for the Muslim Mafia book, was done through bad advice she received."
Mother Jones adds the following:
It wasn't Myrick's only attempt to make things right. She conveyed a similar message to Ellison. "I don't think she ever knew what she was really getting herself into," Ellison says. "She was a little stunned that she would be associated with hating a religious minority group. I think she re-evaluated a number of things, and I think she's far less aggressive than she used to be."
CAIR staff and volunteers see their job as making sure that American democracy works for everyone. One of the ways we achieve this goal is by undertaking advocacy efforts or filing legal challenges against our government when we believe it has exceeded the authority granted to it by the Founding Fathers.
Much of our legal work involves upholding First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
For instance, Awad v. Ziriax, a lawsuit filed by CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad seeking to block the implementation of an anti-Muslim amendment to that state's constitution argues that the law would violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, as well as the Supremacy Clause. On January 10, 2012 the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to block implementation the law based on Awad's arguments.
Similarly, on March 2, 2011, CAIR filed a civil rights lawsuit against the FBI on behalf of a California Muslim who found a secret GPS tracking device that was placed on his car without first obtaining a warrant. The lawsuit states that the FBI violated the California Muslim's First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights when the bureau failed to obtain a warrant to place the GPS tracking device on his car to monitor his daily activities.
Also, CAIR frequently invokes the Constitution's Article VI in defending the right of minority faiths, most recently in the case of Mormon Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to hold public office.
Eighteen years of work, dozens of campaigns, and thousands of civil rights cases, much of it involving defense of constitutional principles result in a very public track record of making democracy work for everyone.
In 2011, the FBI undertook to training materials dealing with Islam and Muslims and remove items that incorporated "factual errors"; "poor taste"; employment of "stereotypes" about Arabs or Muslims; or presenting information that "lacked precision." Included in the assessments of the five subject matter experts assigned by the FBI to conduct the review is the finding, "Page 10 inaccurately implies that CAIR and MAS are [Muslim Brotherhood] organizations." This factual error linking CAIR to a foreign agency appears to have been removed on the basis of the subject matter expert's recommendation.
CAIR is a high-profile organization that represents a minority in the United States that is often treated as suspect and frequently subjected to discrimination. We recognize that this very public profile, along with our community's current struggle to find full acceptance in our nation's pluralistic landscape, will draw the ire of nativists, bigots and those who seek to profit from the Islamophobic "fear industry."
CAIR's former board chairman and North Carolina State Senator Larry Shaw summed up the truth of the organization's mission when he issued the following statement in March, 2009:
"CAIR exists to uphold the right to liberty that Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. We will challenge any attempts to erode constitutionally-protected liberties. We will also continue to work to ensure that American Muslims play a positive and productive role in our society.
"In carrying out our mission of promoting justice and mutual understanding, we honor and will continue to learn from groups who have faced similar challenges, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and many others.
"CAIR embraces the cultural and religious pluralism that is a hallmark of America and repudiates any misuse of Islam to falsely justify violence or intolerance.
"We look forward to partnering with the Obama administration to help defend civil liberties and to project to the world the best of our nation's universal, constitutional and pluralistic values of freedom and justice."
We realize that many people and entities are subjected to the misinformation campaign about CAIR. It is our hope that those who seek the truth and are willing to evaluate the full picture share these responses with interested individuals and entities.
A SAMPLE OF AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
2011: CAIR received an award for "Civil Rights Preservation" from the Muslim Journal, the nation's oldest American Muslim newspaper. The Muslim Journal has over 36 years of continuous weekly publication.
2011: Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SFBA's executive director, receives the 2011 Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC).
2011: CAIR-Georgia was awarded the 2011 Mission & Excellence Anti-Racism Award by the Georgia Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and MAP for Nonprofits. The annual "Mission & Excellence" awards are given to six non-profit organizations that make "outstanding contributions to Georgia's high quality of life." CAIR-GA received the award in the "Anti-Racism" category. It awards an organization that "works to eliminate prejudice and racism in society; demonstrates a commitment to pluralism and inclusively; and develops unique and thought-provoking strategies to combat racism."
2011: Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's national communications director, was recognized among the world's "500 Most Influential Muslims" by the Jordan-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.
2011: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid received two awards for civil rights advocacy at the Michigan Council of Human Rights (MCHR) annual banquet. Walid accepted the Spirit of Detroit Award given by the City Council of Detroit and the MCHR 2011 Activist Organization Award for advocating for the civil rights of all Americans through encouraging dialogue and building coalitions that promote justice and understanding.
2011: CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director Muneer Awad was awarded the Russell Bennett Recognition by the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries. The Russell Bennett Recognition is given to an individual who, like Russell Bennett, provides courageous social justice leadership within the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry area.
2011: Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's national communications director, was profiled as a "DC Influencer" by PR Week. The publication is "the essential title for PR professionals in the US."
2011: CAIR-Georgia was named a "2010 Difference Maker" by the St. Cloud Times. Each year, the publication's editorial board selects individuals and groups it believes have made the biggest difference in the community. 2011: CAIR-Georgia co-founder and president Lori Saroya received the St. Catherine University "Rising Star" Alumni Award for her community advocacy and social justice work with CAIR-GA. 2011: CAIR-Washington (state) received the "Connecting Communities" award from the Faith Action Network. Faith Action Network was created in 2011 through the union of the Washington Association of Churches and the Lutheran Public Policy Office.
2011: Nihad Awad, CAIR's national executive director, was included on the "Power 500" list compiled by Arabian Business Magazine.
2011: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid was awarded the "Pastor's Award" at Central United Methodist Church's 7th Annual Peace and Justice Banquet. The award recognizes Walid's work in promoting religious dialogue and cooperation among Christian and Muslim clergy and speaking out against religious intolerance.
2010: Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SFBA's executive director, receives a San Francisco Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) 2010 Unity Award.
2010: Sarwat Husain, a CAIR national board member, received the "most distinguished alumni" award from the University of Incarnate Word.
2010: Lori Saroya of CAIR-Georgia received a "Community Leadership Award" from the Islamic Resource Group, an affiliate of the Islamic Networks Group.
2010: Nihad Awad, CAIR's national executive director, was included on the "Arabian Business Power 100" list compiled by Arabian Business magazine. In describing why Awad was named to the list, the magazine said, "...CAIR's actions have forced many large outlets to be more tolerant of Muslim culture."
2009: Nihad Awad, CAIR's national executive director, was recognized among the world's "500 Most Influential Muslims" by the Jordan-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.
2009 and 2011: CAIR-GA co-founder and president Lori Saroya was recognized as a Facing Race Ambassador by the St. Paul Foundation. Facing Race Ambassador Awards celebrate and honor individuals and organizations working to create a racially equitable community.
"...We should be giving an award to CAIR, both here in Tampa and across this nation, for the work you are doing, not just on behalf of the Muslim community but on behalf of us all. For every time you challenge stereotypes or discrimination on behalf of Muslims, you challenge them on behalf of us all." - Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the North American region of the World Council of Churches and pastor of First United Church of Tampa (September 2011)
"CAIR is an admirable organization that has served as a positive force, working with diverse community leaders to promote mutual understanding and dialogue, protect civil liberties, and defend liberty and justice for all people in America. CAIR works to raise awareness about Islam and Muslims and has continuously and courageously condemned all forms of terrorism and extremism." - October 2008 letter signed by leaders of groups representing Korean Americans, Christians, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans and union workers.
"We could and would have freely and accurately characterized CAIR as a responsible and highly-esteemed force for reconciliation and sanity, both in international affairs and in deepening interfaith understanding here in the United States." - January 2007 letter of support signed by 203 Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha'i leaders, professors and concerned citizens
CAIR is a responsible force for reconciliation and sanity, both in international affairs and in deepening religious understanding here in America. We urge Congress to state clearly what we know is true: CAIR makes a valuable contribution to democracy and interfaith relations." - Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr., Professor Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology, Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Co-Director, Faith Voices for the Common Good, Rev. Peter Laarman, Director, Progressive Christians Uniting, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, President, Starr King School for the Ministry (March 2007)
"As a Christian pastor, I support of the work of CAIR, Council on American Islamic Relations. This is a national group with a very balanced and effective voice that speaks up for the rights of all peoples, and especially Muslims in the United States. It is akin to the NAACP. I think that because it is so effective, it has been targeted. I have worked with CAIR locally in the Tampa Bay area and nationally supporting interfaith relations. I find the leaders to be clear, moderate, and at the same time very articulate in defending Muslim-American rights. We need groups like CAIR in these fear-mongering times." - Pastor Warren Clark, Tampa, FL (Source: St. Petersburg Times, 3/19/2007)
"The impact of your report was to give the false impression that 'the Jewish community' condemns CAIR and the Congressman for speaking, because you did not bother to report other Jewish opinions. Nor did you make any effort to ascertain and report that in fact CAIR speaks out strongly against terrorist attacks by Muslims, while you reported the utterly uncorroborated assertions by two local Jews that CAIR 'has connections to terrorists.' This kind of reporting encourages these McCarthyist assertions. It gives credence to lies. Good reporting should tell the whole story, not a one-sided version of it." - Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center, in a letter to Philadelphia Enquirer reporter Tom Infield. In his letter, Waskow notes that he is a rabbi who has been "described by last week's issue of Newsweek as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in the United States, and one described by the Forward newspaper at the end of 2005 as one of the 'Forward Fifty' of most effective and creative Jews (not just rabbis) from the whole country. ..." (April 2007)
"I was deeply touched when I received a phone call from Mr. Ahmed Bedir of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in St. Petersburg informing me of this initiative to raise funds for the Palestine Damaged Churches. He told me that it is important in our secular society to build places of worship rather than destroy them. I wholeheartedly agree." - Father Guido Gockel, U.S. National Secretary, CNEWA a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support (October 2006)
"Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia believes that the [Council on American-Islamic Relations], Pennsylvania, is engaged in some of the most urgent civil rights work currently being done in the Commonwealth." - Hannah Schwarzschild, Jewish Voice for Peace -- Philadelphia (March 2007)
"We...acknowledge that CAIR-PA is a very excellent organization which builds bridges of understanding between Muslims and the broader culture." - The Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation (March 2007)
"We are grateful for our continuing friendships with members of CAIR-Ohio, for their credible, gracious and courageous witness to the Muslim experience in Ohio, the meaning and diversity of Islam, and the critical issues in our shared search for peace and justice and hope, here and around the world." - Revered John C Wagner, Miriam R. Wagner, Professor Emeritus, United Theological Seminary, United Methodist Church (2006)
"When you attack CAIR you attack virtually every Muslim in America." - L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca (Source: Los Angeles Times, 3/24/2010)
"I applaud your efforts to provide education, justice, outreach and empowerment to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Americans in the Chicago area. I am impressed by your numerous success stories. I also admire the work you do for civil rights and advocacy. That work is critical to ensuring the rights guaranteed to all Americans in our Constitution." - Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart (March 2011)
"The Washington Field Office of the FBI praises CAIR's dedication in representing the heart of the Muslim American community." - Congratulatory letter from the Washington, DC Field Office of the FBI (October 2006)
"I wanted to say that we really appreciate the effort of Ahmed Bedier [Executive Director, CAIR-Tampa] here in Florida and all the good work that he does on behalf of CAIR in the community in the area of civil rights...Mr. Bedier has done a great job in reaching out to law enforcement, establishing open forums for us to exchange information in order to keep the nation safe." - Carl Whitehead, Special Agent in Charge, Tampa Bay, Florida Field Office of the FBI, speaking at the CAIR 2006 Tampa Banquet
"[CAIR-Chicago's] commitment to maintaining a dialogue leading to the frank and honest exchange of ideas, concerns and recommendations on issues affecting the communities we mutually serve is laudable." - Weysan Dunn, former Special Agent in Charge, Springfield, Illinois Office of the FBI (February 2007)
"Thank you for the opportunity you extended to me to attend the 3rd Annual Banquet of the CAIR Midwest Chapter on February 11, 2007. I expect to attend the Banquet and will be present with other members of the Chicago Field Office." - Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago, Illinois Office of the FBI (February 2007)
"Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares." - Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005 (Source: New York Times, 3/14/2007)
"CAIR-Chicago has shown itself to be a strong partner in our community." - Philip J. Cline, former Superintendent of Police, City of Chicago (February 2007)
"CAIR's vision to be an advocate of civil rights and to promote peace and just is something we can all strive for." - Lance H. Newman, Special Agent in Charge, Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (September 2006)
"We are fortunate to have someone of your expertise and credentials take time to address many of the over 800 attendees from Georgia's criminal justice agencies." - Paul Heppner, Deputy Director, Georgia Crime Information Center, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (August 2006)
"Organizations such as CAIR have played a tremendous role in helping to build a statewide dialogue of diversity and partnership, working closely with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and other state partners to expand outreach efforts aimed at connecting diverse populations in our state. Through its continuing efforts, CAIR has set an outstanding example for other organizations to follow in our collective efforts to Turnaround Ohio." - Henry GuzmÃ¡n, Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety (2006)
"[Community Alternative Policing Strategy] believes that the strength of any community lies in the propensity of its citizens to serve the common good; CAIR-Chicago has been an impressive agent of community organizing." - Vance T. Henry, Former Director of CAPS, City of Chicago (February 2007)
"Oh behalf of the CAPS Implementation Office, I would like to extend our support to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As you continue to move forward with your mission to defend the civil rights of all, end bigotry and promote tolerance and acceptance of our many differences we offer you our continued support and encouragement." - Ronald M. Holt, Director of CAPS, City of Chicago (April 2011)
"Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks...This is a great country. It's a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They're outraged, they're sad. They love America just as much as I do." - former President George W. Bush during a visit to a Washington, D.C. mosque. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was among those accompanying the president, September 17, 2001
"The vision of CAIR to promote 'justice and mutual understanding' is of course also an American vision, and its mission 'to enhance understating of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding" is in the best traditions of American civil rights movements, both past and present.' - former New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) (April 2009)
"I'm glad that you have established such a strong voice in the community and that you are working to maintain a strong sense of cultural and economic identity." - former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) (December 2005)
"It has been a pleasure working with the Council over the years to further our mutual understanding, and I look forward to continuing our progress in the years to come." - former Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (D) (March 2010)
"I congratulate CAIR-Chicago on another successful year of serving the needs of the Muslim population in Illinois, and for working toward ensuring justice and civil rights for all the communities you serve." - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) (April 2011)
"As Governor and on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I thank everyone involved with CAIR-PA for your commitment to serving the needs of our commonwealth's Muslim community and building a stronger, more united Pennsylvania." - former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) (April 2007)
"Frances and I, on behalf of all Ohioans, appreciate your vision to promote justice and mutual understanding. As modern technology seems to shrink our planet, all peoples must strive to understand and respect each and every culture. This is one of CAIR's goals, that of enhancing understanding of Islam. We gather under CAIR-Ohio's theme this year "American Muslims: Connecting and Sharing" to do just that, to connect and share and get to know each other better. Muslims have been in Ohio since the 1800's and the Islamic Center in Toledo is the third mosque ever built in the United States. We honor the Muslim traditions of strong family, hard work, and education. We all deeply value the many contributions Muslims make to this great state. May God bless you!" - former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) (June 2007)
"CAIR-OH's service to the community and outreach efforts to increase understanding and dispel stereotypes are outstanding. Your continued efforts to protect civil liberties and growth in services to best serve Ohio communities has empowered Ohio's Muslims." - former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) (March 2010)
"As Attorney General of the State of Ohio, it is my honor to congratulate the Council on American-Islamic Relations on their 9th Annual Banquet." - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) (May 2011)
"The strength of America lies in its diversity. More than most any nation on Earth, America is truly a melting pot where people of all creeds, colors and religions come, drawn by our collective commitment to the values of human rights, democracy and equality. Trying times can challenge that commitment. That is one reason civil rights organizations, such as CAIR, are so important." - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) (April 2011)
"Since 1998, CAIR has positively contributed to enhancing understanding of the Muslim community in the Greater Cincinnati area and the State of Ohio. Now, more than ever, promoting understanding and relations between people from different backgrounds is of utmost importance. I commend CAIR for tirelessly promoting acceptance of Muslims in America, while also defending and protecting rights." - Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (May 2010)
"I particularly want to commend CAIR for working to educate others about Islam, a religion of more than one billion people in the world. CAIR also has provided members of the Muslim community in the United States with an important voice in promoting social justice and mutual understanding. CAIR has 31 offices nationwide and in Canada and through your work you have helped promote a dialogue among employers, law enforcement officials, and government agencies. CAIR understands the importance of developing mutual understanding and trust." - Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) (November 2007)
"CAIR-Chicago advances a greater understanding of the Muslim culture and serves as an essential thread in the multicultural fabric of our nation. Your efforts to advocate for tolerance promote the civil liberties of all communities." - Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) (April 2011)
"Through their continued efforts to educate and introduce Americans to positive aspects of the Muslim community, CAIR-LA provides an important link and resource for the Los Angeles region. Their unwavering dedication to increasing awareness and acceptance is truly praiseworthy." - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (November 2011)
"It is my understanding that CAIR seeks to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coaltions that promote justice and mutual understanding. Seventeen years of advocacy work is a noteworthy accomplishment, and all those who have contributed to the council's success over the years should be proud of the exemplary work you have done." - Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) (October 2011)
"Since its inception in 1994, CAIR has been at the forefront of enhancing understanding and building coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. - Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) (October 2011)
"I applaud CAIR's mission to enhance understanding and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - former Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) (November 2006)
"I want to thank the Arab-American and Muslim-American leaders in Michigan and across the country for their hard work. ... The Council on American Islamic Relations sent a delegation to Baghdad to lobby for her release." - Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaking about the release of reporter Jill Carroll in 2006
"CAIR promotes a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America with the hope that this example, along with communication and grassroots activism, will eliminate any misrepresentations of Islam on the part of non-Muslims." - former Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH) (September 2010)
"I commend all those who work with your organization to help defend civil liberties, strengthen the dialogue between faith communities and improve the lives of others." - Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (October 2011)
"I commend the Council for their efforts promoting justice and mutual understanding." - Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) (September 2011)
"Since 1996, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles area has served to promote justice and mutual understanding and to protect the civil liberties of American Muslims. Your efforts to educate the community of Los Angeles by offering diversity and sensitivity training on Muslims and Islam are truly appreciated. - Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) (November 2011)
"I wish to thank CAIR for reminding us that what we share is greater than what sets us apart, and that the sum of our remaining differences is one of our nation's greatest sources of strength. " - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) (September 2011)
"I have seen firsthand the type of important work CAIR does every day." - Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) (October 2011)
"Even in difficult times, CAIR stands up to defend the community it serves. By enhancing this nation's understanding of Islam and encouraging dialogue, CAIR builds coalitions that promote justice, understanding and acceptance of all faiths. CAIR understands one cannot fight violence with more violence and strives to bring all Americans together to live in peace and harmony." - Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) (October 2011)
"Most recently, I stood with CAIR on their stance against the Peter King hearings which looked at the "radicalization of American Muslims" and worked on Capitol Hill as the Chairperson of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in strong opposition to these unjustified hearings. The work CAIR has done consistently to combat discrimination and misunderstanding in a direct and professional manner is truly commendable." - Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) (October 2011)
Foley: "What did you think about the swipe? Because it certainly seemed that [CAIR] is the group that this hearing was designed to go after." Clarke: "Well I'm glad you mentioned that and that's why in my statement I raised the fact that the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan worked with Federal law enforcement officials. As a matter of fact just last year alone CAIR-Michigan met with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security combined thirteen times to help coordinate work between law enforcement at the Federal level and the Muslim community. So CAIR in Michigan definitely had good relations with law enforcement and that has been helpful to protect our citizens from any type of likely threat." - Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI), Interview with the Craig Foley Show on WDET Detroit, March 11, 2011.
"CAIR has a long and distinguished history of consistent efforts that reflect a strong support for civil rights and social programs that promote the understanding and cultural heritage of the rapidly growing Muslim American community." - Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) (September 2011)
"It is noteworthy that [CAIR] and its supporters continue to be actively involved with efforts to establish positive relationships and eliminate fear, mistrust, discrimination and violence." - Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (October 2011)
"CAIR understands that in defending Muslim Americans against employment discrimination, prison abuse, hate crimes, and citizenship delays they are also defending our American values for every American." - Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) (March 2011)
"It is important that we recognize the many positive contributions Muslim Americans continue to make in our communities." - former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) (November 2008) "Through several different platforms including multiple civil rights campaigns, an influential voice in the media and an active government relations division, CAIR has successfully established itself as one of the leading advocates for American Muslims." - Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) (September 2011)
"By presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public, CAIR-Ohio works to establish the role and the future of the Muslim community in this new era of hope." - former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) (May 2010)
"As a firm believer in civil and human rights, I appreciate CAIR's work to defend the U.S. Constitution and safeguard the rights of all Americans. CAIR has been a leader in this effort and has strengthened the freedoms that all Americans enjoy." - Rep. Keith Ellison (D-GA) (September 2011)
"I'm proud to represent members of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of CAIR and I commend you for your tireless work in defense of civil rights and equality for each and every member of our community." - Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) (September 2011)
"Together with your grassroots organizing and outreach efforts, CAIR will no doubt continue to be a leading civil rights organization for years to come!" - Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) (September 2011)
"I would like to commend the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the work you do defending civil liberties, empowering American Muslims and building coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) (October 2007)
"Your mission to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding is to be commended. Continue to impact the lives of our youth, propelling the community forward. May your tem of staff and volunteers have continued success." - Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) (May 2011)
"I applaud your efforts in educating and enhancing understanding through open dialogue." - former Rep. Wayne T Gilchrest (R-MD) (November 2005)
"Through it all, CAIR has been a steady force steering us towards understanding and the core values that define our nation. Whether it is working in Chicago to build bridges or tirelessly walking the halls of Congress in Washington, CAIR is there." - Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) (September 2011)
"I am pleased to congratulate CAIR not only for the work it has done to promote and protect the civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans, but also for its ongoing efforts to foster a better understanding of Islam across the United States. Your work continues to make an important difference to our country." - Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (December 2005)
"It is only through the strength of our diversity and the commitment of organizations such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations that we will be able to meet our challenges head on." - Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) (September 2011)
"I thank CAIR for its advocacy and continuing to open the lines of communication to ensure that we make democracy work for everyone." - Rep. Jesse L. Jackson (D-IL) (October 2011)
"Your dedication to the community is most admirable. Because of your efforts the lives of many citizens have been enriched." - former Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) (November 2007)
"In my home state of Ohio, CAIR has helped make my district a more inclusive and welcoming place for American Muslims." - Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) (September 2011)
Awarded Certificate of Congressional Recognition and Achievement, presented to CAIR-Ohio "in recognition of your 9th Annual Banquet" - Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) (May 2011)
"Again, I welcome you to this year's banquet and offer my sincere thanks to CAIR for your outstanding work on behalf of the American Muslim community." - Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) (October 2011)
"...I take great pride in recognizing CAIR. Your dedication and commitment is truly worthy of the respect, admiration and commendation of the United States Congress." - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) (October 2011)
"I applaud the Council on American-Islamic Relations for its efforts strengthening the understanding of Islam, encouraging dialogues, and building coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (September 2011)
"...I would like to congratulate CAIR on its mission of promoting civil liberties, justice and mutual understanding." - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (October 2011)
"Georgia's growing, vibrant Muslim community is an indispensable part of the fabric of our state, and I am pleased that CAIR is active in representing their interests at home and across the United States." - Rep. Betty McCollum (D-GA) (September 2011)
"CAIR does important work in defending civil rights and civil liberties and educating people about the Muslim faith in communities across the country, including Seattle, which I represent in Congress." - Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) (November 2007)
"CAIR-NY has proudly served the Muslim community and New York City for more than thirteen years, advocating on civil rights and youth empowerment issues. Though 2010 brings many challenges, both foreign and domestic, for the United States of America, I believe within my heart that CAIR-NY will continue to strengthen the relationships it has forged with communities across New York City and educate the population about Islam." - Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) (May 2010) "Throughout its existence, CAIR-LA has been instrumental in promoting cultural and religious understanding of the Muslim community. I am pleased that CAIR-LA has been dedicated to building coalitions between non-Muslim and Muslim communities in an effort to eliminate stereotypes and promote tolerance, compassion and understanding. I commend CAIR-LA for playing a vital role in the integration of the Muslim community into American society in an effort to promote patriotism and pride in their home country. I look forward to a continued partnership with CAIR-LA as we strive for freedom and understanding among all who call America home." - Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) (November 2008)
"CAIR's contributions to the American Muslim community encompass a wide array of services. Since 1994, CAIR has worked tirelessly as an advocate for justice and mutual understanding." - Rep. James P. Moran (D-VA) (September 2011)
"...I would like to acknowledge and commend the Council on American-Islamic Relations of the Greater Los Angeles Area for its remarkable commitment to the American-Islamic population, and for fostering cultural understanding in our community." - Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) (November 2007)
"I applaud your commitment to addressing the social and economic issues that plague the Islamic community and for creating initiatives that will provide understanding, encourage dialogue and promote justice. I know that you derive satisfaction through your work, but it is also important that your accomplishments are praised by the community at large. I salute you." - Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) (November 2007)
"With over 30 CAIR Chapters spread throughout the United States and Canada it is clear that CAIR has become the preeminent organization representing the concerns of Muslim Americans. I want to personally commend CAIR for its work on issues including civil liberties and opening dialogue with various communities in America. - Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) (2006)
"I encourage further efforts to come from CAIR-NY. I appreciate your organization's steadfast determination to protect the civil rights of Muslims in our City, our nation, and throughout the world." - former Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) (March 2010)
"Over the years, CAIR has continued its support and advocacy on behalf of all American citizens. It is important to continue these efforts to empower American Muslims and present an accurate portrayal of the Islamic culture." - Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) (October 2011)
"At a time when members of the Muslim American community come under misguided scrutiny, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with CAIR and other progressive leaders to denounce religious bigotry. - Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) (September 2011)
"I commend CAIR for promoting cultural tolerance and acceptance by empowering American Muslims to reach out to their local communities and facilitate positive change." - Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA) (October 2011) "I would like to encourage CAIR to continue its work in advocacy and empowering dialogue and dedication to the community. - Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) (September 2011)
"Thank you for your service to the people of Maryland. Your dedication, action and commitment make a difference to the quality of dialogue in our community; and I very much appreciate the opportunity to salute your achievements." - Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-MD) (November 2007)
"The tireless efforts of CAIR and their many partners have helped make our country and our world a more unified, respectful, and more tolerant place. For that, I am truly thankful." - Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) (November 2006)
"CAIR's core goals of enhancing understanding of Islam, promoting justice and empowering American Muslims are especially important now that the United States and our allies in the Islamic world face a common enemy in al Qaeda and its perversion of one of the world's great religions." - Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) (November 2007)
"CAIR does such important and necessary work in a difficult environment to change such perceptions and wrongs -- from racial profiling and civil rights to promoting justice and mutual understanding -- at a time when it is challenging to be an American-Muslim." - former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) (April 2007)
"I applaud CAIR's mission to "enhance the understanding of Islam and to encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) (October 2011)
Awarded Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition to the CAIR-Ohio "in recognition of their 9th Annual Banquet" - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) (May 2011)
"On behalf of the United States Congress and the residents of the Eleventh Congressional District, Ohio, I commend the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ohio for your service to our community. I extend my personal thanks to your members for all of their efforts to improve the needs of Ohio's Muslims in their quest for civil rights. Enjoy your 4th Annual Sharing Ramadan interfaith Community Iftar Banquet. It is my hope and expectation that this organization will continue to thrive and experience ongoing success." - former Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH) (September 2007)
"I believe, as you do, that awareness and activism are the keys to change. CAIR's vision to promote justice and mutual understanding is essential to our nation. I commend CAIR for its dedication in encouraging the American Muslim population to take a more active role in the government." - Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) (November 2008)
"The Council on American Islamic Relations has been a strong voice. Your leadership has provided for the protection and promotion of the interests of the Islamic American community while advocating the cause of peace, human rights and social justice." - Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) (October 2011)
"Let me take this opportunity to commend CAIR for all of your efforts to promote the civil rights of American Muslims." - former Rep. Albert L. Wynn (D-MD) (November 2007)
"Over the years, (Council on American-Islamic Relations, Cleveland)'s work and advocacy for greater understanding among cultures and religions has proven to be a blessing to our state. Your goal of promoting compassion and cooperation among diverse ethnic groups is a tremendous gift. " - former Ohio Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell (2006)
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations Columbus Chapter is hereby recognized for their work as a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. Their unwavering adherence to the cause of enhancing the understanding of Islam, encouraging dialogue, protecting civil liberties and empowering American Muslims should serve as an inspiration to others for what can be achieved with such hard work and dedication" - former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Certificate of Commendation (March 2010)
"I applaud and commend the Council on American-Islamic Relations for its stellar efforts and commitment in helping to ensure justice, civil rights, and the ending of discriminatory practices throughout the communities you dutifully serve." - Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White (March 2011)
"I wish to commend CAIR-MI for its manifold historic achievements in the community as it continues to serve as the leading voice on civil and human rights issues affecting Michigan Muslims." - Mayor Virgil Bernero (Lansing, MI) (March 2010)
"We commend your dedicated efforts and vision as a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. We express our appreciation for your contribution to the welfare of our community." - Mayor Michael B. Coleman (Columbus, Ohio) (September 2010)
"CAIR-Chicago works to present a balanced and accurate media portrayal of Islam and Muslims and makes our city a better place to live, work, and raise families." - former Mayor Richard M. Daley (Chicago, IL) (April 2011)
"I salute the valuable work that the CAIR-Ohio does on behalf of the American-Islamic community." - Mayor Frank G. Jackson (Cleveland, OH) (March 2010)
"I...commend the work of CAIR-Ohio on behalf of all people in promoting the many freedoms guaranteed to the citizens of our great democracy." - Mayor Kevin M. Kennedy (North Olmsted, OH) (March 2010)
"Thank you for all the work you do in our communities, CAIR." - Mayor Bob Wieckowski (City and County of San Francisco) (October 2011)
"Proclaimed March 2, 2010, to be "CAIR Day" in the City of Cincinnati in recognition of CAIR-Ohio's mission to "enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - Mayor Mark L. Mallory (Cincinnati, OH) (March 2010)
"CAIR-PA has actively engaged the media to encourage positive representation of Islam and Muslims and promoted interfaith relations an community outreach through workshops and presentations in cooperation with social organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious and educational institutions. On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, I congratulate you on the 5th Anniversary of your worthy organization and commend the CAIR-PA administrators and staff for their on-going efforts to raise our awareness of Islam and the American Muslim community through the building of coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." - Mayor Michael A. Nutter (Philadelphia, PA) (March 2011)
"For 10 years CAIR-MI has worked to promote a positive view of Islam and Muslims in America, protect civil rights for everyone and encourage understanding and justice for all. Your efforts have had a positive impact on the residents of Dearborn and the region. We support your important mission. - Mayor John B. O'Reilly, Jr. (Dearborn, MI) (March 2010)
"I am pleased to join with other members of our community in recognizing CAIR's dedication to promoting a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. Thank you for bringing people together from all ethnic backgrounds in the pursuit of mutual understanding and respect." - Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa (Los Angeles, CA) (November 2008)
I commend CAIR for its continued advocacy and extend my best wishes for the future success of this vital organization." - Mayor Bob Wasserman (Fremont, CA) (October 2011)
"Your advocacy efforts aimed at protecting civil liberties, encouraging dialogue and fostering understanding serve as an inspiration to all who seek justice." - California State Senator Ted Lieu (November 2011) "For the past 15 years, CAIR has tirelessly worked to protect and empower American Muslims. The campaigns that this organization implements and its unswerving loyalty to the people it represents is truly inspiring." - California State Senator Carol Liu (November 2011)
"For over a decade, since its inception, CAIR-NY fights daily seeking equality and justice for all. Doing this, they benefit not merely New Yorkers making up the country's largest Muslim population, many facing religious persecution or racial discrimination, they also help to demonstrate the strength and beauty of America's diverse democracy." - New York State Senator Bill Perkins (March 2010)
"Your organization has worked diligently to help others and you are to be commended on behalf of the many people who have benefited from your contributions. I am proud to express my gratitude to all of the dedicated individuals who have provided an outstanding example of patriotism in action over this decade." - Michigan State Representative Bob Constan (March 2010)
"I applaud CAIR for your efforts to allay the fears of those who may tend to allow their lack of understanding to cloud their opinions regarding a totality of people, organizations whom they have prejudged. CAIR's renowned impact on society generated by the Muslim community in Chicago and nationwide is one that should be respected and as cited in your subject matter this year, one which your organization is committed to the challenge of further emphasizing and promoting the goodwill of our Muslim neighbors in Chicago and Muslim communities worldwide. - Illinois State Representative Mary E. Flowers (February 2011)
"Your fight for those who don't have the resources to defend themselves is invaluable. The advocacy efforts of your organization are vital to all American Muslims, Americans, our community and our state." - Michigan State Representative Rashida H. Tlaib (March 2010)
"...I would like to thank CAIR-NY and its dedicated [sic] for the very important work they are doing to help serve and protect our City's growing Muslim community." - New York, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn (May 2010)
"CAIR-Ohio is committed to educating the public and public officials on important Muslim values such as emphasis on strong families, improving neighborhoods and protecting the civil liberties of all residents so that there may be greater harmony and a better America." - Columbus, OH City Council (June 2007)
"The Franklin County Board of Commissioners extend on behalf of all the people of Franklin County sincere thanks to CAIR -- Ohio for their efforts to advocate for freedom, democracy, and human rights for all Americans." - Mary Jo Kilroy, Paula Brooks, and Dewey Stokes, Board of County Commissioners, Franklin County, Ohio (2006)
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby commend the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Pittsburgh Chapter on its work in our City..." - Pittsburgh City Council Proclamation, passed in City Council Tuesday, March 2, 2010
"Number one, it's not fair of to you criticize CAIR, OK? Because CAIR isn't fostering any kind of jihad, as far as I know." - Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor (December 2010)
"I only wish you could have gone to the CAIR dinner with me and seen--no offense--the parade of unremarkable American normality that I saw; pleasant, concerned, decent people sharing a meal, albeit with a few more veils and skullcaps than are considered usual here at the moment." - Neil Steinberg, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/19/2010
"Thank you [CAIR Cleveland] so very much for organizing and leading my recent meeting with Muslim women... You provided me with yet another opportunity to learn and absorb information about what makes up the family of Ohio's people." - Ohio's First Lady, Frances Strickland (2006)
"Muslims across the nation are proud of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for being the ambassadors for Muslims in the United States." - Munir Adhami (Source: Letter to the Editor published in the Los Angeles Times, 1/11/ 2007)
"The FBI and other agencies have repeatedly used CAIR to build bridges with the Muslim community, and the 'apologist' tag certainly wasn't shared by the high-ranking Republican who met with the group at an Islamic center after 9/11: President Bush." (Source: New Jersey Star Ledger editorial, 3/16/2007)
"A small band of critics have made a determined but unsuccessful effort to link it to Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department, and have gone so far as calling the group an American front for the two." (Source: New York Times, 3/14/2007)
"Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association." (Source: New York Times, 3/14/2007)
One Arab-American advocate compared CAIR to 'the tough cousin who curses at anyone who speaks badly about the family'." (Source: New York Times, 3/14/2007)
"Already fighting on behalf of American Muslims is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, as it is commonly known. The organization...has developed a reputation for being something of a pit bull in protecting the civil rights of Muslims." (Source: The Indianapolis Star, 9/04/2005)
"The United Way of Hernando County would like to thank [CAIR-Florida] for your generous donation of $5,000 to support the annual Thanksgiving Day Baskets for veterans and the needy." - Kathy Jones, Interim Executive Director, United Way of Hernando County (November 2006)
"I remember meeting some of you in 2004 at the voting station when CAIR mobilized community members and provided busses to transport voters to the polls after Friday prayer. CAIR's partnership in the Get Out The Vote campaign shows its commitment to being a voice to the American-Muslim community and should be applauded." - Buddy Johnson, Supervisor of Elections, Hillsborough County, Florida (August 2006)
"It was overwhelming, their support." - Host Gator Co. President Brent Oxley after CAIR supporters "swamped" the web host with "literally thousands" of complaints about Right Wing Howler, a blog whose author expressed support for the sentiment "...we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now." The web site was shut down. (Source: St. Petersburg Times, 12/20/2006)
"The efforts of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in improving cross cultural communications is commendable. " - Brigadier General Mark Wheeler, Chairman Senior National Representatives Coordination Group, United States Central Command (February 2007)
"... (T)he Council on American-Islamic Relations has emerged as a vigilant force against discrimination against Muslims." (Source: East Valley Tribune, 1/19/2008)
"Since 1994, CAIR has employed a well-rounded plan in its role as a top Muslim voice in the US." (Source: PR Week, 11/04/2002)
"The Council on American Islamic Relations, among the more effective lobbies for Muslim Americans' civil liberties..." (Source: Salon.com, 7/10/2008)
"I want to express my deepest gratitude to CAIR-Ohio for helping me with my legal problems. I know I am never alone as long as we have CAIR-Ohio to help all Muslims in Ohio. The lawyer of CAIR-Ohio helped me when my landlord was discriminating against me on the basis of my religion and race. I now know about whom to call if my legal rights are being taken away. Thanks to everybody at CAIR-Ohio who are providing a great service to the Muslim community." - Ahmed Hamud, Columbus, Ohio (2007)
"Organizations such as CAIR have played a tremendous role in helping to build a statewide dialogue of diversity and partnership..." - Henry Guzman, Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety (2006)
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, and the entire CAIR Board, for the gracious invitation to speak and attend the first CAIR GA banquet last week. I don't mind telling you I was a little nervous about being there and worried about the negative potential impact I might have on the attendees but my worries were for nothing. I was most absolutely treated as if I were an honored guest and was treated with the highest amount of respect. I felt more like a friend than a stranger. As a matter of fact, I believe I even made a few very wonderful new friends! - Ken Rodgers, former President of American Council of the Blind, Georgia Chapter (June 2007)
"Georgia U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, who watched the [hearing held by Rep. Peter King], also took exception to [Georgia Rep.] Cravaack's characterization [of CAIR]. "I'm frustrated by the blanket condemnation of (the council)," Jones said. He said his terrorism unit of prosecutors has a working relationship with the council's local chapter as well as other entities in sniffing out extremism or wrongdoing. "I hope that (the hearing) does not have an adverse impact on the good things happening here in Georgia with our Somali community," Jones said. "We are on a good path with closer collaboration. (Source: Georgia Pioneer Press, March 11, 2011)
"CAIR is an aggressive Muslim civil liberties organization, modeled on the Anti Defamation League, that has made it a target for criticism. It was indeed named as an "unindicted co-conspirator or joint venturer" in the Holy Land Foundation case--an Islamic charity that in 2008 was convicted of funding Islamic militant groups. But CAIR was not alone in that designation; nearly 250 other organizations and individuals were also named. The federal government said the organizations were included on the list in order to produce evidence at the trial, but the district court and a federal appeals court later ruled that it had been a mistake to make the list public." (Source: Washington Post, March 10, 2011)
"But the FBI doesn't call CAIR a terrorist group. Nor does it allege that CAIR was founded or financed by Hamas. In America, if somebody has committed a crime, even somebody unpopular, we bring charges. We don't float Internet rumors at a congressional hearing." Also, 'CAIR supported the development of the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress,' [Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee] Baca said. 'Furthermore, they support the Muslim outreach program that I'm doing. . . . I have not experienced anything that suggests that CAIR supports terrorism.'" (Source: Washington Post, March 13, 2011)
"CAIR itself has never been charged with any wrongdoing; being named an 'unindicted coconspirator' in the Holy Land Foundation case was later reported to have been 'largely a tactical move by the government.' And the difficult relationship with the FBI is due at least in part to the agency's controversial use of paid informants at several mosques." (Source: Christian Science Monitor, March 10, 2011)
"Indeed, some of the statements about CAIR at the hearing were oversimplified at best. Mr. King noted, for example, that CAIR was listed as an 'unindicted co-conspirator or joint venturer' in a terrorism financing case against a charity, the Holy Land Foundation -- but so were more than 200 other groups and individuals. CAIR was not accused of a crime.
"Mr. Wolf mentioned that a poster declaring 'Build a wall of resistance -- Don't talk to the F.B.I.' had appeared on the Web site of the group's California chapter. But the poster had been created by non-Muslim activists in the 1970s, and CAIR officials took it down after a few days, saying it did not represent the group's policy.
"CAIR has had a tense relationship with the F.B.I. and on occasion has urged Muslims not to talk to law enforcement officials without a lawyer present, a caution [CAIR Executive director Nihad] Awad said was very much in keeping with the American system of justice. 'As a civil rights organization,' he said, 'we have the difficult job of encouraging constitutionally informed cooperation with law enforcement.'
"CAIR, along with other advocacy groups, has complained about the F.B.I.'s use of informers who pose as militants from Al Qaeda or similar groups, saying the government uses them in effect to draw young Muslim men into militancy.
"Last month, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said that the bureau had no 'formal relationship' with CAIR, but that the organization's officials and chapters regularly worked with F.B.I. officials on investigations and related matters. This included a news conference held on Thursday in Sacramento to announce an arrest in a mosque vandalism case.
"CAIR officials also note that they went immediately to the F.B.I. in 2009 when they were approached by the parents of five young Muslim men in Virginia who had disappeared. The men turned up in Pakistan, where they were reportedly trying to join the fight against American troops in Afghanistan." (Source: New York Times, March 11, 2011)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was created as an "organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims" (CAIR letter to Vice President Gore, 10/06/1995), a "Washington-based Islamic advocacy group" (Press release, 8/28/1995) and an "organization dedicated to providing an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public" (Press release, 12/13/1995). Prior to establishing CAIR, its founders observed that "the core challenge [in America], that of stereotyping and defamation, was having a devastating effect on our children and paralyzing adults from taking their due roles in civic affairs" ("The Link," a newsletter published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, February-March 2000). Within that understanding, they formed CAIR to challenge anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide.