The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest
advocacy group for Muslims in the country, has established a Connecticut
office in New London, making it the organization’s first chapter in New

Mosques in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Danbury, Waterbury and other
cities and towns are supporting the new CAIR chapter, said Badr Malik, of
Old Lyme, who is the state chapter’s executive director.

“We were getting calls from people having problems with civil rights
issues” Malik told The Day of New London, “and thought we should have
something to help people.”

CAIR, based in Washington, D.C., with 28 regional offices in the United
States and Canada, is marking its 10th year as an Islamic civil rights
organization. Its new office in New London is on State Street in the Harris

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, said a local
chapter has to show it has the numbers and commitment to carry out the
organization’s activist, interfaith mission.

“We believe that if you do the work, the community will follow,” Hooper
said. That means “defending people and challenging anti-Muslim bigotry in a
very active way.”

The group’s critics complain that it does not condemn specific Islamic
terrorists to way it condemns terrorism in general.

Malik said the chapter already has some cases, including that of a Muslim
who lost his job in Bridgeport after taking time off for mandatory Friday
prayers. CAIR members will accompany the plaintiff to court later this
month, he said, “but we have to hear the other side” before taking a

Since Islamic terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001,
civil rights has become a major issue for American Muslims, who found
themselves under increased scrutiny and sometimes detained without what
they considered due process.

CAIR maintains an e-mail list that dispatches press releases and reprints
of newspaper articles, often including a dozen or more items on single day.
Hooper likened CAIR to the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties

CONTACT: CAIR-CT, Badr Malik, 860-995-6628, 860-575-4400, E-Mail:


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