CAIR’s Condemnation of Terrorism

CAIR issued more than 100 releases in which we specifically condemn terrorism during the period from 1994-2015. The organization’s formula on terrorism is simple and comprehensive: CAIR condemns terrorism whenever it happens, wherever it happens, whoever commits it.

CAIR is a natural enemy of violent extremists. Our positive track record of success fully discredits their arguments that minorities cannot receive fair treatment in our nation.

CAIR has condemned specific terrorist actions against Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Americans, Spaniards, Turks, Israelis, Saudis, Russians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, British, and so on.

CAIR has condemned specific terrorist groups by name. As a single example, on 3/11/2009, the 5th anniversary of the tragic Madrid attacks, CAIR issued a statement saying, “We unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by Al-Qaeda, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a ”˜Foreign Terrorist Organization.” Condemnations have included state-actors, as well as other groups like the Jewish Defense League, Islamic Jihad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Kahane Chai and the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and the Sabotage Battalion of the Chechen Martyrs group.

CAIR is an advocacy group and thus takes position on issues of importance to our nation.  Sometimes such stances are unpopular, but necessary.  For example, CAIR spoke out against torture and detainee abuse when majority public opinion was not in favor of our position.  We do not expect everyone to agree with all our positions but we, like every other American, exercise our freedom to express our views free from any fear of being ostracized, marginalized, smeared or threatened.

All date references in this document are from publicly issued CAIR statements.  This document is only illustrative, not exhaustive.

Alleged ISIS fighter tells others to avoid CAIR[i]

According to the SITE Intelligence group, in May 2015 an alleged ISIS fighter wrote to the group’s very small circle of supporters in the U.S.: “Be careful not to call upon the CAIR organization hastily. They are RAND Muslims and will give you up if needed to save their skin. Their aqeedah [belief] is false and their foundation is baatil [falsehood].”

Daesh’s need to call CAIR out for our anti-extremism efforts better sums up the impact of our actions against them than any statement we could author.


  • Joins international scholars on letter to ISIS leadership refuting the group’s ideology – Signed and issued a first-of-its-kind open letter in Arabic, with English translation, endorsed by more than 100 international scholars of Islam and Muslim leaders offering a religious refutation of the extremist ideology of the terrorist group ISIS.[i] The 28-page open letter — which uses classical religious references and covers 24 issues such as “the killing of innocents,” “killing of emissaries,” “jihad,” “declaring people non-Muslim,” “torture,” and “the caliphate” — is a result of deliberations by dozens of experts on Islamic law and offers a point-by-point deconstruction of any claimed religious justification for ISIS’s brutal actions. (9/24/2014)
  • Participates in Interfaith Delegation to Iran to Appeal for Release of American Hikers – An interfaith delegation including Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Washington, The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington and Interim Dean of Washington National Cathedral, CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad, and its Board Chairman former State Senator Larry Shaw (NC) travelled to Iran, met with representatives of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and spent over an hour with President Ahmadinejad and other senior government officials. Delegates were informed that their work prior to the trip and during their stay in Iran was extremely helpful and important in the decision to release American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. Bauer and Fattal had been found guilty by Iranian courts of entering Iran illegally, and were accused of spying for the United States government. They were sentenced to serve eight years in prison. (9/19/2011)
  • Sends Delegation to Baghdad to Appeal for the Freedom of a Captured American Journalist – CAIR sent two of its senior staff to appeal for the release of kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll. (1/18/2006)
  • Calls on Sudan to Release Woman Charged with Apostasy, Upholding the Organization’s Longstanding Position that Religious Decisions are a Matter of Personal Choice-In a statement on the issue of apostasy CAIR reiterated, “Islamic scholars say the original rulings on apostasy were similar to those for treasonous acts in legal systems worldwide and do not apply to an individual’s choice of religion. Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience” and “Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention. Faith imposed by force is not true belief, but coercion. Islam has no need to compel belief in its divine truth.” (5/15/14)
  • CAIR uses the international prestige earned through its domestic programs to make humanitarian appeals – CAIR delivered a letter to the Iran’s leader from the family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007. Similarly, in 2009, CAIR staff spoke directly to the Iranian President urging him to release journalist Roxana Saberi. CAIR’s
  • CAIR Condemns 9/11 Hours After the WTC is hit – On September 11th, 2001 CAIR issued a statement that read, in part: “American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians.”
  • CAIR Publishes Full Page Ad in Washington Post – The above message was published in a full page ad in the Washington Post on September 16th.
  • CAIR Launches on-line Petition – In 2004 CAIR’s “Not in the Name of Islam” petition declares that the terrorists are, “betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent.”  By August 2006 nearly 700,000 individuals and organizations endorsed the petition.
  • CAIR Launches Public Service Announcements – An ad campaign in 2003 and a Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign launched in 2005 also project this anti-terror message.  Over 6.5 million people viewed these messages.
  • CAIR Coordinates anti-terror Fatwa – CAIR coordinated a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism in 2005.  The fatwa was issued by the Fiqh Council of North America and endorsed by more than 340 American Muslim organizations, mosques and imams.  Among the statements in the fatwa are the following:“Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives.Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not martyrs.”It is haram (forbidden) for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.”
  • CAIR Appeals to Mosque Leaders to Send Anti-Terrorism Messages – CAIR Called on American Muslim religious leaders to dedicate their Friday sermons to “”¦condemn terrorism and promote peace and interfaith harmony” (6/07/2005). Following a series of bombings in Spain that left almost 200 people dead, CAIR called on prayer leaders, or Imams, in mosques across America and the Muslim world to use sermons at Friday congregational prayers (Jumah) to convey the message that terrorists are destroying the image of their faith (3/13/2004).


In January 2009, the United States Institute of Peace acknowledged CAIR’s vigorous condemnation of violence committed in the name of Islam in its report “Islamic Peacemaking Since 9/11.”

Some examples of repudiation of violent extremism include:

  • Defends Free Speech (1/07/2015) -“We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack [on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo] and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures. The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.
  • Elimination of Osama bin Laden (5/2/2011) – “We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel. As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam.”
  • New York’s Times Square Bomb Incident (5/4/2010) – “On behalf of the American Muslim community, we condemn the attack in Times Square and thank all those who reported their suspicions, disarmed the bomb or are participating in the current investigation. We welcome the arrest of a suspect and hope that anyone involved in the attack will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
  • Fort Hood, Texas Murders – CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that CAIR “reacted to the shooting spree, condemning the attack in the strongest terms possible.” On MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews noted that CAIR was “quick to condemn the massacre.”
  • Anwar al-Awlaki (3/18/2010 and 11/9/2009) – “There is no contradiction between being a Muslim and being an American. We repudiate Anwar al-Awlaki’s call for attacks on our nation and urge anyone who may be swayed by his extremist views to instead seek out scholars and community leaders who can offer a mainstream perspective on the positive role Muslims are obligated to play in every society.” CAIR also said, “The twisted and misguided views in Anwar al-Awlaki’s posting are not those of American Muslims and do not reflect mainstream Islamic beliefs or sentiments.”
  • The Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its report American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat, relates two instances of CAIR working with authorities regarding persons of concern:
    • Irvine, CA man talks of plan for a terrorist attack (2006) – “Posing as a new convert, Monteilh arrived at the Irvine Islamic Center in 2006 wearing robes and a long beard, using the name Farouk al-Aziz. Monteilh had a criminal record that included serving 16 months in state prison on two grand theft charges. Members of the Islamic Center of Irvine were reportedly alarmed about Monteilh and his talk of jihad and plans for a terrorist attack. The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported him to the Irvine police and obtained a three-year restraining order against him.” [Note: It was later revealed the Monteilh was an FBI informant.]
    • Five Alexandria, VA men disappear (2010) – “The story of the five men from the Alexandria, VA area…became public when the Council on American-Islamic Relations got their families in touch with the FBI after the five left the United States without telling their families.” (Note: After hearing the families’ concerns, Naeem M. Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA, contacted CAIR.)
  • Two additional cases illustrate where CAIR stands on reporting suspicious activity:
    • “A secret training session on the use of firearms” (2005) – CAIR reported a letter to the FBI which described an individual claiming to represent a group of 300 who alleged to be “receiving a secret training session on the use of firearms” and planned to “send some volunteers to Iraq, Palestine and Israel, under the guise of going for an Islamic conference.”
    • Dearborn, MI man seeking opinions of Taliban and expressing desire to travel to Pakistan (2009) – The President of the American Moslem Society Mosque in Dearborn contacted CAIR-Michigan to report a white male convert who was approaching youth during their Friday night gatherings. The convert would inquire if the attendees thought the Taliban was good and how he could travel to Pakistan. CAIR-Michigan informed the FBI who investigated and picked up the man in question.
  • Finally, CAIR calls upon the civic responsibilities of all members of the American Muslim community. CAIR features in its “Know Your Rights Pocket Guide: Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim” the following language: “If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.”


Here is one example.  The section at the end of this document provides additional examples.  On 12/20/1999, CAIR made the following statements in the wake of the arrest of an Algerian man who was allegedly trying to smuggle bomb-making materials into the United States from Canada:

  • “American Muslims condemn terrorism in all its forms.”
  • “”¦the possibility that a Muslim could be involved in such an attack in the United States”¦ is a cause of distress and apprehension for our community.”
  • “It therefore must be clearly stated that any Muslim who plans, attempts or carries out a terrorist attack would be acting outside the boundaries of his or her faith and would be repudiated and condemned by our community.”
  • “American Muslims would urge that any such individuals be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”


Date CAIR Condemned

1/3/1997 Letter bombs sent to the Al-Hayat offices in DC
8/7/1998 The bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
8/10/1999 Attacks on a California Jewish Center
9/11/2001 Terror attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon
9/12/2001 Terror attacks in New York and Washington
9/16/2001 Terror attacks in New York and Washington and resulting hate crimes
9/26/2001 Terrorism in all its forms
12/2/2001 Terror attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa
3/17/2002 Terror attacks on a Pakistani church
3/28/2002 Terror attacks in Netanya
3/28/2002 Terror attacks on Jewish Passover celebrations
7/23/2002 Terror attacks in Gaza
12/30/2002 The slaying of American medical personnel in Yemen
3/4/2003 Terror attacks in Philippines
5/13/2003 Terror attacks in Riyadh
7/5/2003 Terror attacks on a Pakistani Mosque
10/4/2003 Terror attacks in Haifa
10/15/2003 An attack on an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza
11/20/2003 Terror attacks in Istanbul
3/2/2004 Terror attacks in Spain
3/2/2004 Terror attacks on Shia Muslims
3/31/2004 The mutilation of American civilian contractors in Iraq  
5/11/2004 Beheadings in Iraq
6/18/2004 Beheadings in Iraq
6/18/2004 The murder of an American in Saudi Arabia
8/1/2004 Terror attacks on an Iraqi church
9/7/2004 Terror attacks in Russia
9/21/2004 Beheadings in Iraq
10/8/2004 The killing of British hostages in Iraq
11/17/2004 The killing of British hostages in Iraq
7/7/2005 Terror attacks in Great Britain
7/24/2005 Terror attacks in Egypt
8/4/2005 Terror attacks in Shfaram
10/30/2005 Terror attacks in India
11/9/2005 Terror attacks in Jordan
2/9/2006 Terror attacks on Shia Muslims
2/20/2006 Terror attacks on a Nigerian church
4/24/2006 Terror attacks in Egypt
7/11/2006 Terror attacks in India
7/28/2006 Attacks on a Seattle Jewish Center
7/11/2006 Mumbai Bombing
8/10/2006 Plot to blow up ten airplanes in route to the United States
9/11/2006 Rhetoric and world view of Al-Qaeda
12/8/2006 Alleged planned mall bombing
12/21/2006 Threat against peace activist
3/6/2007 Attacks on Iraqi pilgrims
4/5/07 Desecration of Chicago synagogue
5/25/2007 India bombing
6/13/2007 Samarra mosque bombing
9/11/2007 Bin Laden’s praise for 9/11 hijacker
2/21/2008 Attack on U.S. Embassy in Serbia
11/27/2008 Mumbai Attacks
4/29/2009 Terrorism and piracy in Somalia
3/18/2010 Anwar Al-Awlaki’s call for attacks on U.S.
3/29/2010  Hutaree Militia plan to kill U.S.   police officers
3/29/2010 Attacks on Moscow subway
5/5/2010 Times Square bomb threat
5/6/2010 Attack on California Rabbi
6/23/10 “honour” killings and murder of Aqsa Parvez
7/28/10 Vandalism of Olney synagogue
9/5/10 Perverted religious views of bomber Faisal Shahzad
9/22/2010 Vandalism of Chicago synagogue
10/30/2010 Yemeni attempt to bomb Chicago synagogues
11/05/2010 Threat on Iraqi church
11/10/2010 Massacre at Assyrian Church in Iran
1/3/11 Church attack in Egypt, Nigeria
4/28/11 Killing of peaceful protesters in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain
7/29/11 Plots to harm our nation’s security and safety
10/11/11 Threat to U.S. by Syrian Official
12/21/11 Religious intolerance
12/25/11 Attacks on Nigerian churches
1/2/12 Firebombing of New York mosque
1/5/12 Bigotry against minorities
2/7/12 Vandalism of Sikh house of worship
5/31/12 Burning of cross in Minnesota
6/15/12 Vandalism of Arizona church
8/5/12 Shooting in Wisconsin Sikh community
8/22/12 Ft. Hood shooting
8/23/12 Pakistani girl held for “blasphemy”
9/11/12 Attack on American embassy
9/12/12   Killings of American diplomats
9/14/12 Killing of U.S. Ambassador, diplomats, and Libyans who died defending the embassy
9/14/12 Violence at vigil for Ambassador Christopher Stevens
9/21/12 Killing of ambassador and following violence
11/20/12 All attacks against civilians
2/21/13 Bombing in Pakistan
2/25/13 Shooting of Sikh man
3/12/13 Anti-Christian violence in Pakistan
4/15/13 Boston Marathon bombing
4/19/13 Terrorism in all its forms
4/24/13 Boston Marathon bombing
5/7/13 Attack on elderly Sikh man
5/22/13 Attack on British Soldier
6/25/13 Killing of four Egyptians
8/14/13 Killing of dozens of pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt
8/22/13 Syria gas massacre
9/16/13 D.C. Navy Yard Shootings
9/23/13 Beating of Sikh professor
9/23/13 Attack on Nairobi mall
9/23/13 Church Bombings in Pakistan and Iraq
4/2/14 female genital mutilation, forced marriages, “honor killings”, and domestic violence
4/21/14 Jewish Center shootings
4/25/14 Nazi Swastika hate crime
5/5/14 Anti-Semitic attack in New York
5/5/14 Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls
5/7/14 Boko Haram
8/11/15 ISIS
8/20/15 Murder of James Foley. Labeled it “gruesome and barbaric” and a “violation of Islamic beliefs”
9/02/15 Murder of Steven Sotloff, labeled it “unconscionable and un-Islamic”
11/16/15 Murder of U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig
1/7/15 Attack on offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
1/11/15 Massacre by Boko Haram
2/03/15 “Unspeakable brutality” of ISIS killing of a captive Jordanian pilot
2/16/15 Heinous killing of Egyptian Christians and attacks in Denmark that targeted a free speech event and a synagogue
7/16/15 Killing of U.S. Marines in Tennessee
11/13/15 Paris terror attacks



CAIR’s position is clear.  Any action that harms innocent civilians is reprehensible.  Dialogue and diplomacy ought to be the way to overcome conflicts.  CAIR represents its constituents, clients and supporters through exclusively peaceful and democratic means. Objective people who are familiar with our work know that we expend enormous amounts of legal and advocacy energy defending Constitutional principles, particularly the Bill of Rights.

The unfortunate reality is that the loudest voices attempting to smear American Muslims and CAIR by hurling empty labels lack any similarly strong record of condemning atrocities.  It is time for people of conscience to repudiate this culture of demonizing minority groups by using the worst forms of stereotype and guilt by association.

The way forward is to address the major factors that contribute to terrorism, without justifying it.  Several scholarly works suggest that religion (Islam) is not the cause of terrorism.  Dr. Robert Pape author of Dying to Win and Cutting the Fuse, reports, “The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland”¦ suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism.”

There is no denying that people of vile intent covet the opportunity to recruit Americans to their mindset, pull them away from the straight path and seduce them into opting for violent extremism.

There is also no denying that””excepting a tiny minority””violent extremists have not found fertile ground in America. Many individuals and institutions””including law enforcement, homeland security personnel, and the leaders and members of the American Muslim community””deserve a share of the credit for this.


[1] The SITE Intelligence group document may be seen, in part, here:

[1] The letter can be read in full at


[1] Transcript, MSNBC: Hardball, 11/6/2009

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