Shortly before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) published a guide providing teachers with educational resources and tips that almost exclusively highlight the attack’s impact on American Muslims while urging no mention be made of the attackers’ Islamist ideology. According to the guide, titled “Remembering and Reflecting Teaching September 11, 2001 in Diverse Classrooms”:
August 23, 2021 Although most schools teach students about 9/11 in an appropriate way, our civil rights organization usually receives a spike in complaints from students and families on anniversaries of 9/11. […] With this in mind, we write to share informative resources that your school district can use to ensure that your lesson plans about the 9/11 attacks are accurate and reliably sourced, protect Muslim students from bullying, and educate students about the impact that 9/11 had on all Americans, including American Muslims.
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The CAIR guide was designed for grades 6–12 and includes a list of general lesson plans about 9/11 and documentaries, news reports, and articles covering the attacks and their impact on Americans, especially American Muslims. CAIR also provides a list of recommended tips to help ensure that incidents of bigotry are avoided during classroom discussions of 9/11. To that end, CAIR states teachers should refrain from using language that “validates the claims of the 9/11 attackers” by associating their acts of mass murder with Islam and Muslims. Teachers are also advised to avoid using terms such as “Islamic terrorists,” “jihadists,” or “radical Islamic terrorists,” which CAIR describes as “inaccurate and inflammatory.”
In late August 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that CAIR had published a 17-page “Journalist’s Guide to Reporting on Islam and Muslims,” purportedly designed to give journalists and other media professionals the tools to gain a “better understanding of Islam,” in which it used misleading language, incorrectly stating that “jihad” was “a fictional English term without an Arabic origin” solely used to misconstrue Islam as a political ideology. Also, in August 2021, the GIOR reported CAIR had published a statement saying officials and journalists reporting about the political upheaval in Afghanistan should refrain from using terms like “Islamist” and “jihadist,” also misleadingly describing them as “fictional terms with no Arabic equivalent.”
CAIR is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist network covered by the GIOR. CAIR describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group” and was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time.
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