(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/19/17) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today filed a sexual and religious harassment and discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a Muslim employee of LSG Sky Chefs Inc. at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) who alleges that a supervisor forcibly removed her Islamic head scarf, or hijab.
According to the Muslim employee, no action has been taken against the alleged perpetrator of the physical attack. The Muslim worker has been an employee of the company for more than 25 years.
“We look forward to the EEOC fully investigating this potential act of religious and sexual discrimination and bringing justice for the Muslim employee,” said CAIR National Legal Litigation Director Lena Masri.
CAIR said it has witnessed an unprecedented increase in hate incidents targeting members of minority groups since the election of Donald Trump.
(MIAMI, FL, 10/19/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations-Florida (CAIR-FL), the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today welcomed the guilty plea of Gerald Wallace, who pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida Federal Court for threatening to shoot members of a mosque in Miami Gardens, Florida.
In a statement, CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz said:
“We congratulate the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida for their swift prosecution of the now-convicted felon Gerald Wallace. This criminal will now have some time to reflect on the damage he has done to Muslim worshipers.
(AUSTIN, TX, 10/19/2017) - The Austin, Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Austin) today welcomed its new executive director, Maira Sheikh.
Sheikh previously worked as a research fellow with a think tank focused on international law and human rights.
After completing her Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2012, Sheikh worked in Pakistan for five years to draft laws, policies and publications with domestic and multinational stakeholders that further improved the state’s compliance with its responsibilities under various international law instruments.
Her areas of expertise include international human rights law, the law of armed conflict and reform of counterterrorism legislation. Sheikh is the co-author of one of the only comprehensive publications on preventive detention during counterterrorism operations available in Pakistan. She has traveled to both the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, Switzerland and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., to engage international experts on the legal issues surrounding the use of preventive detention in Pakistan.
Sheikh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from Temple University. Before moving to Austin, she lived in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan. She is also bilingual, speaking both English and Urdu fluently.
“We are pleased that Maira Sheikh decided to join our team as the executive director of CAIR-Austin,” said CAIR Austin Board Chair Ahmed Mahmoud. “Her impressive background, legal education and her passion for protecting civil rights will enable her to build strong foundation that will serve the Muslim community in Austin now and in the future. Her focus on building strong partnerships with other civil rights organization in Austin will make our beloved city and state even more welcoming to people of all diverse backgrounds.”
The Austin chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was founded earlier this year.
"The Austin community support for CAIR has been increasing over the years,” said Mahmoud. “With the rise of Islamophobia in Texas and across the country, the Austin community recognized the need to expand the network of CAIR offices within the state of Texas by establishing a solid presence in the state’s capital."
Within Texas, CAIR-Austin joins three other chapters operating in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
Austin Chapter, Council on American-Islamic Relations
(NEW YORK, NY, 10/19/17) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the Manhattan District Attorney’s failure to prosecute a September 4 attack on an African-American woman in Manhattan as a hate crime.
According to the victim, Kimberly Halliday, her assailant repeatedly punched her body and head while saying “you’re the devil. . .you’re no good. Black b**ch.”
Despite these statements, the Manhattan District Attorney failed to seek an indictment for the attack as a hate crime. Bennett Smith, 22, has been charged with assault in the third degree, aggravated harassment and attempted assault, all of which are misdemeanors. If prosecuted as a hate crime, Smith could face multiple felony counts, which carry more serious punishments.
“This horrific attack shows how unequally New York City pursues and prosecutes hate crimes,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “We stand with all New Yorkers who want our city live up to that most basic promise: equal justice under law.”
“When we fail to take hate crimes seriously, we not only revictimize the targets of these attacks, but their communities as well,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Time and again, hate crimes against marginalized communities are charged less severely than hate crimes against other victims. This double standard must stop.” CAIR-NY and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.
Earlier this month, CAIR-NY condemned the anti-black, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic letters sent to seven businesses and the Israeli Consulate in New York City.
Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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