The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a nonprofit, grassroots civil rights and advocacy organization. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, with affiliate offices nationwide. Its national headquarters is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Since its establishment in 1994, CAIR has worked to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. Through media relations, lobbying, education and advocacy, CAIR works to make sure a Muslim voice is represented. Through our work, CAIR seeks to empower American Muslims and encourage their participation in political and social activism.
Founding: CAIR was founded in 1994 with headquarters in Washington, D.C. CAIR’s headquarters is located a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol building.
Offices: The first CAIR chapter was established in the San Francisco Bay area. Since then, CAIR chapters have been established in some 20 states, with several states having multiple chapters to better serve large Muslim populations. Each CAIR chapter is governed by an independent board and solicits its funding almost exclusively from its local community.
Employees and Volunteers: CAIR’s national office and chapters employ more than 60 staff, more than 300 active volunteer board or executive committee members, and numerous interns. CAIR’s consultative decision-making body includes nearly 200 people of diverse backgrounds across the U.S. and communicates on a daily basis to guide the organization.
Community Support: CAIR is a grassroots organization. Each year, thousands of Americans attend CAIR’s annual banquets in more than 20 cities. The largest CAIR banquet, in Southern California, draws about 2,000 attendees per year.
Building Bridges: CAIR banquets have been attended by state governors, U.S. senators and representatives, state assembly members and representatives, mayors, and city council members. Numerous interfaith leaders, social activists, academics and media personalities also attend the annual banquets. Letters of support and commendation have come from all of the above.
Active in America: CAIR volunteers and board members come from all walks of American life; they include lawyers, businesspeople, professors, doctors, teachers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. CAIR officials and board members also serve on other non-profit boards such as those of the ACLU, NCCJ, NAACP, and ICIRR. They regularly participate in interfaith dialogue and are part of civic advocacy and human rights coalitions.
Civil Rights: CAIR’s civil rights department counsels, mediates and advocates on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes. The department works to protect and defend the constitutional rights of American Muslims, thereby supporting the rights of all Americans.
Media: CAIR’s communications department works with local and national media professionals to help them portray an accurate image of Islam and Muslims to the American public. CAIR monitors local and national media in part to challenge negative stereotypes, and also to applaud and encourage balanced representations of Islam and Muslims. Over the years, CAIR has become a respected and credible source for journalists and other media professionals.
Government Affairs: CAIR’s government affairs department conducts and organizes advocacy efforts on issues related to Islam and Muslims. The department is active in monitoring legislation and government activities and responding on behalf of the American Muslim community. CAIR representatives have testified before Congress and have sponsored a number of activities designed to bring Muslim concerns to Capitol Hill. In order to increase Muslim participation in the political arena, CAIR and its chapters regularly organize voter registration drives across the country.
Islamophobia Watch: CAIR’s Islamophobia watch department is charged with monitoring and exposing the network of individuals and organizations in the United States that profits politically and financially by promoting anti-Muslim bias. The department implements projects and policies aimed at achieving CAIR’s vision regarding Islamophobia in America, which looks toward the time when being Muslim carries a positive connotation and Islam has an equal place among many faiths in America’s pluralistic society.
Youth Development: CAIR offices nationwide have active internship programs, and many also organize intensive annual youth leadership programs. The core mission of CAIR’s internship and Muslim youth leadership programs is to provide American Muslim youth the training, skills and experience for positive activism, to empower them to guide their communities from the margin to the mainstream and to foster a healthy American Muslim identity that fits comfortably within pluralistic American society.