This New York Times article on the challenges facing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) exposed the relentless efforts by “a small band of critics” made up of racist right-wing and neo-Zionist extremists who seek to silence and marginalize American Muslims and groups that represent them by exploiting anti-Muslim fears in our nation.

CAIR’s purpose is very clear. It is a grass roots organization that serves as America’s largest and most visible Muslim civil rights group. CAIR is to the Muslim community what the NAACP is to the African-American community or what the ADL is to the Jewish community.

For the record, CAIR unequivocally condemns terror attacks targeting people of all faiths and in all areas of the world.

CAIR operates under the strict guidelines of its core values. These values include: support for freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and a commitment to supporting policies that promote dialogue, civil rights and diversity in America and worldwide.

Funding for CAIR chapters is no secret: Monies are raised here and spent here, with not a penny of it going overseas.

It is important to note that not a single active law enforcement official has ever accused CAIR of any wrongdoing. CAIR enjoys positive relations with officials from city hall to Capitol Hill, from the police to the FBI.

With this in mind, it is obvious that the attacks against America’s largest and most visible Muslim civil rights group have nothing to do with national security but rather are rooted in hatred toward Muslims and Arab-Americans.

The real “scrutiny” should be directed toward the motives of the Islamophobes who are generating these baseless accusations. Their politically motivated attacks are meant to silence the voice of American Muslims and to promote the only agenda they deem acceptable – their own.

Ahmed Bedier, Tampa executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Tampa


As a Christian pastor, I support the work of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. This is a national group with a very balanced and effective voice that speaks up for the rights of all peoples, and especially Muslims in the United States. It is akin to the NAACP. I think that because it is so effective, it has been targeted.

I have worked with CAIR locally in the Tampa Bay area and nationally, supporting interfaith relations and human rights. I find the leaders to be clear, moderate and, at the same time, very articulate in defending Muslim-American rights. We need groups like CAIR in these fear-mongering times.

Warren Clark, pastor, Temple Terrace


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