On January 11, 2023, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a Facebook livestream press conference to announce a new report outlining the group’s legislative priorities in the coming years. According to a post on the CAIR website:
We encourage every member of Congress to co-sponsor and support these American Muslim legislative priorities to better protect and uphold the rights of all Americans and improve the lives of those impacted by our country’s policies overseas.
Read the rest here.
The 25-page report, titled “CAIR Congressional Legislative Priorities in the 118th Congress” and sent out to all congressional offices in the US House of Representatives and Senate, contains several key priorities of the American Muslim community as endorsed by CAIR, such as the reintroduction and adoption of 23 acts, including:
- The Combatting International Islamophobia Act, a bill that would establish a special envoy office at the US State Department to monitor and combat international Islamophobia, and which has been criticized by opponents for its lack of linguistic precision and potentially undermining freedom of expression.
- The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN Act), that would broaden the nondiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination based on religion.
- The Access to Counsel Act, which would ensure US citizens and Green Card holders can consult with an attorney to help them understand their rights when going through the inspection process at US borders and ports of entry.
CAIR also supports greater congressional oversight and committee hearings focused on the FBI’s Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) – which it incorrectly describes as „unconstitutional” –as well as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) legacy programs. In its report, CAIR says it also supports congressional hearings examining connections between charitable and foundation donations to anti-Muslim hate groups and anti-Muslim hate crimes. CAIR further speaks out in favor of designating India as a Country of Particular Concern over what it says are human rights and religious freedom violations. CAIR says it would support the introduction of congressional acts and resolutions stopping US military aid and weapon sales to several countries in the Middle East, including Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.
CAIR describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” It was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time. Documents discovered during the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood and that CAIR itself is part of the US Muslim Brotherhood. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three founders. Recently, CAIR has been generally portrayed in the media as a Muslim civil rights group. CAIR regularly campaigns against laws restricting state business with companies that boycott Israel and its leaders have a history of defending individuals accused of terrorism by the US government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam.”
For more on CAIR, go here.