In late August 2021, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 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” and to give a nuanced representation of American Muslims and their faith. According to the document:
This guidebook is designed to give journalists and other media professionals the tools they need to gain a better understanding of Islam and write more informed, accurate and balanced stories about Muslims. In this guidebook, readers will find (…) best practices for reporting on the Islamic faith and a list of accurate and appropriate terminology to employ when covering issues relating to Muslims.
Read the rest here.
In addition to general information about the history of Islam and the Muslim faith, the guide contains advice on how to make contact and interact with the Muslim community. In the guide, CAIR states that Islam does not recommend hugging or shaking hands with unrelated Muslims when meeting them, e.g., for an interview. CAIR also uses misleading language, stating that “jihad” was “a fictional English term without an Arabic origin” solely used to misconstrue Islam as a political ideology.
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.” Other recent GIOR reporting about CAIR has included:
- A November 2020 report that CAIR had issued a statement congratulating President Biden on his victory, vowing to hold the Biden Administration accountable on Muslim inclusion and civil rights issues.
- A March 2021 report that CAIR joined had Democratic Lawmakers in demanding President Biden not reappoint a Minnesota State Attorney over Islamophobia allegations.
- An August 2012 report that a CAIR report containing new findings on the increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in the US had been published on the same day as an open letter by 25 Democratic lawmakers that called on the US Secretary of State to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.
CAIR is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). It 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.