The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was established in 1994 to challenge stereotypes of Islam and Muslims. Today, the organization has a nationwide presence and a headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The vast majority of CAIR's work deals with civil rights and anti-defamation. These two categories alone account for 50 percent of the 1,999 news releases reviewed for this report.
CAIR has consistently won praise from elected officials and the media for its tenacious efforts to combat both discrimination against Muslims and defamation of Islam.
In addition to attacks on individuals, Islamic institutions are frequent targets of Islamophobic hatred. Since 1994, CAIR has detailed at least 64 acts of destruction and desecration of Islamic places of worship--including shootings, vandalism, arson, and bombings.
CAIR has expended tremendous energy on educational efforts, including the production of public service announcements (PSA) introducing Americans to their Muslim neighbors and rejecting terrorism. We have published guides to Islamic religious practices for professionals--such as doctors, law enforcement and educators--who routinely interact with Muslims. We have also delivered books on Islam to thousands of American public libraries and offered free materials to individual citizens and public officials interested in learning more about the faith.
CAIR believes that Muslims worldwide must offer themselves as personal examples of the Islamic values of compassion, tolerance and moderation. We encourage members of the American Muslim community to work in public service.
CAIR puts this belief into action by hosting Muslim Youth Leadership Summits around the nation. CAIR has three main training events for the general community: Know Your Rights, Civic Participation and Media Relations. As a singular example of how widespread these training events are: CAIR conducted 42 civic participation training events for the community nationwide in 2008.
The centerpiece campaign to CAIR's call for public service is the "Muslims Care" campaign. Through this program, Muslim leaders are encouraged to give sermons about volunteerism and community members receive a step-by-step guide to participating in activities such as blood drives, health awareness fairs and student tutoring.
CAIR serves as an example to all Muslims that the American system affords everyone an opportunity to successfully redress their grievances in a non-violent, lawful manner. Though the organization is not theological in nature, CAIR is faith-based and its message to its own community has always centered on the "middle way."
We have demonstrated that Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience through arguments grounded in the faith's primary sources. (For example, a CAIR release issued 3/22/2006 contains the following conclusion: "Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention.") CAIR has rejected so called "death fatwas" and the use of violence as a response to incidents like the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. The organization supports political solutions to problems over the use of violence.
CAIR has always shown support for America's founding principles and religious pluralism. CAIR affirms the right of free speech, on multiple occasions even defending its detractor's right to free expression. CAIR strongly supports the Constitutional right to due process.
CAIR strongly opposes racial and religious profiling.
We have a well-established, very public record of denouncing terrorism and religious intolerance. CAIR has condemned attacks on--and raised money to rebuild--churches and has repeatedly repudiated anti-Semitism.
While supporting the nation's strategic campaign to combat terrorism and to protect American citizens from attack--whether or not we agree with particular tactics used to carry out that campaign--CAIR has generally opposed U.S. invasions of foreign nations.
CAIR uses the international prestige earned through