CAIR Friday Legislative Roundup: Three Steps Forward, One Step Back

This week, Congress voted on three important legislative measures affecting the international Muslim community. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, breaks down each of these bills.

Senate Approves, but House Rejects, Joint Resolution That Would Have Withdrawn U.S. Military from Yemen

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 54, directing President Trump to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in Yemen, except those engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda, within 30 days unless: (1) the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date, or (2) a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces has been enacted by Congress.

Introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the Senate adopted the bipartisan bill by a vote of 56 “YES” to 41 “NO,” with all Democratic Party members voting “YES” in support, six Republican Party members working across the aisle to vote in support, and 3 Republican Party members abstaining.

The Republicans that voted in support of the resolution were Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Todd Young (R-IN).

However, the House preemptively blocked a similar measure on Yemen a few hours earlier in a vote of 206 “YES” to 203 “NO” in support of halting consideration of any debate in the House on congressional war powers with regards to Yemen for the remainder of the 115th Congress, which ends this year. Republicans in the House argued that Democrats can debate the issue of withdrawing the U.S. military from Yemen in January when they take control.

CAIR notes that Joint Resolutions require the approval of both chambers and the signature of the president to become laws.

On November 27, CAIR issued an action alert urging both the House and Senate to adopt S.J.Res. 54. The war in Yemen, which began in 2015 when a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia launched a campaign to oust Houthi rebels that had taken over the Yemeni capital, has taken the lives of more than 50,000 and displaced some 3 million people. Save the Children estimates that an additional 85,000 Yemeni children may have died from starvation or disease since the fighting began.

Fifty prominent figures, including two former U.S. ambassadors to Yemen, leading law professors, a Nobel Peace Laureate, and Noam Chomsky, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging them to pass S.J.Res. 54.

CAIR Welcomes House Approving Resolution Calling Burma’s Murder of Muslims ‘Genocide’

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 1091, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the atrocities committed against the Rohingya by the Burmese military and security forces since August 2017 constitute crimes against humanity and genocide. It also calls on the Government of Burma to release Burmese journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo sentenced to seven years imprisonment after investigating the attacks.

The House agreed to adopt the resolution by a vote of 394 “YES” to 1 “NO,” with Arizona Congressman Andrew Steven Biggs being the only representative in Congress to vote against recognizing Burma’s genocidal targeting of Rohingya Muslims.

On December 5, CAIR issued an action alert urging members of Congress to support H.Res. 1091.

CAIR Welcomes Senate Adoption of Resolution Condemning the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Supporting Diplomatic Solution in Yemen

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate adopted by voice vote Senate Joint Resolution 69, which clearly expresses the sense of the Senate that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Virginia resident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. #JusticeforJamal

The resolution is the clearest and most public rebuke the U.S. government has provided in response to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman issuing misleading statements about and ordering the murder of Khashoggi.

The resolution also demanded that all parties in the ongoing civil war in Yemen seek an immediate cease-fire and negotiated political solution to conflict and increased humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflict.

The joint resolution is not expected to be taken up by the House for the remainder of this Congress and will have to be voted on again in the next Congress to pass and be sent to President Trump.

On December 6, CAIR applauded the introduction of a similar Senate resolution blaming Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder.

CAIR-LA Condemns Anti-Mexican Hate Attack in Ontario Eatery

(ANAHEIM, CA - 12/14/2018) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned an apparently race-motivated attack on a man at a restaurant in Ontario, a city in San Bernardino County.

According to KTLA/5, the incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when the victim, identified as “Jose,” was ordering lunch at the Waba Grill off Mountain Avenue. Video showed Jose walking away from the register when another man walked directly into him, knocking Jose to the ground.

In an interview, Jose, 44, said his assailant stood over him and said, "Watch out, you f—ing Mexican.”

Video showed the man re-engage with Jose as the victim stood up.

READ: Assailant Hurled Racist Remark at Man in Ontario Restaurant, Victim Says; Video Shows the Sudden Attack

According to KTLA/5, Ontario police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

“We condemn this apparently racially-motivated attack and applaud the Ontario police for investigating this as a possible hate crime,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “Californians of all backgrounds must stand together in the face of growing hatred and division in our state and nation. Additionally, perpetrators of hate crimes need to be charged and prosecuted as such to send a message that this type of behavior is not acceptable in our society.”                                                                                                                                 

Ayloush urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-LA's Civil Rights Department at 714-776-1177 or by filing a report at:

CAIR-Georgia Congratulates Muslim Servicewoman on Winning Navy Promotion, Hijab Approval

(ATLANTA, GA - 12/12/2018) -- The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today congratulated Genevra M. Wilson—an American Muslim woman who serves in the United States Navy Reserves—for her elevation to the post of Chief Petty Officer, and for winning approval to continue wearing a hijab with her new uniform.
On July 27th, 2018, CAIR-Georgia sent a letter to the Navy seeking approval for Chief Petty Officer Wilson's religious accommodation request. Wilson continued to wear her hijab while waiting for official approval, which she finally received last month. 

SEE: CAIR-Georgia Letter to United States Navy

Chief Petty Officer Wilson appears to be the first Muslim woman in the history of the United States Navy to serve at that rank while wearing a hijab.

In a statement, CAIR-Georgia executive director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

"We congratulate Chief Petty Officer Genevra M. Wilson on this historic elevation to her current post, and we thank the U.S. Navy Reserves for approving her request to wear a hijab with her new uniform. 

"By successfully standing up for her rights, Chief Wilson serves as an inspiration to people of all faiths. Chief Wilson also serves as a living reminder that American Muslims play an integral role in every aspect of our nation. 

"We pray that Chief Wilson will continue to stand up for her legal rights, and uphold her values, during her career with the United States Navy Reserves." 

 As of 2017, the U.S. Army has also permitted Muslim servicewomen to wear hijabs as part of their official uniform.

SEEU.S. Army Approves Turbans, Hijabs Worn for Religious Reasons

Wilson is one of about 5,000 Muslim-Americans who currently serve in the United States military. Muslims have also served in numerous conflicts dating back to the founding of the United States, including soldiers Yusuf Ben Ali and Bampett Muhammad in the Revolutionary War, Captain Moses Osman in the Civil War, and numerous Muslims in World War II.

 SEEEncyclopedia of Muslim-American History

 American Muslims, like many other Americans, have also opposed participation in wars that they considered unjust, including boxer Muhammad Ali, who famously refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

CAIR Condemns Racist, Islamophobic Stickers Found Again in Rhode Island Town

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/13/2018) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the reappearance of racist and anti-Muslim stickers in Johnston, R.I.

The anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-African American stickers were reported to law enforcement on December 12, more than one week after similar stickers were taken down. Reports indicate the racist stickers, stating “It’s okay to be white,” “White Lives Matter” and other bigoted themes, were found across the town. One sticker showed an image of the middle finger pointing at a Jewish Star of David. 

SEE: Racist Stickers Spread for Second Time in Two Weeks

“The reappearance of these racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic stickers is a reflection of the growing bigotry we have witnessed since Donald Trump’s election,” said CAIR Communications Manager Naaz Modan. “It is important for law enforcement authorities to investigate and identify the individuals responsible for spreading these hate-filled messages.”

"We're appalled by this flagrant and public display of bigotry," said CAIR-MA Executive Director John Robbins.  "We're encouraging anyone with information about the incident to contact their local law enforcement office."

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry and hate crimes since the election of Donald Trump as president.

Last week, CAIR decried racist graffiti found in a bathroom at a university in California. Just one week before that, CAIR decried racist graffiti found on an African-American mural.

SEE: CAIR-LA Decries Racist Graffiti, Mass Shooting Threat Scrawled in Bathroom at Cal State NorthridgeCAIR-LA Decries Racist Graffiti on African-American Mural In Los Angeles

The Washington-based civil rights organization 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 many other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

SEE: CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Charge for Va. Woman Accused of Using Racial Slurs, Threatening to Shoot Family

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.



CAIR-Michigan Files Civil Rights Complaint on Behalf of Muslim Kicked Off Greyhound Bus for Speaking Arabic

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, 12/12/2018) - The Michigan chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), an office of the nation's leading civil rights advocacy organization, today filed a discrimination complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights against Greyhound on behalf of a Muslim man who was kicked off of a bus for speaking on his phone in Arabic.

Earlier this year, Abrahaim Mohamed, an American Muslim, was traveling from Michigan to Ohio by Greyhound bus. After the first stop, Mohammed was not permitted to continue on to his final destination because the bus driver stated that she did not like the way he was speaking on his phone. Mohamed asserts that several other passengers were also speaking on their phones but were allowed to continue their trip. The only difference between Mohamed and the other passengers using the phone was that Mohamed was speaking in Arabic. 

CAIR-MI has made several attempts to reach out to Greyhound to discuss this matter but has received no response.  Greyhound's lack of response to the biased treatment against Mohamed prompted CAIR-MI to file a formal civil rights complaint on his behalf. 

"Companies like Greyhound that provide a service open to the public have a duty to ensure that all of their customers are safe from racism and anti-Muslim bigotry at the hands of their employees," said CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy Doukoure. "American Muslims should feel free to go about their day-to-day lives without having to worry that they will be discriminated against simply for speaking to their loved ones in a language other than English."

"Greyhound’s lack of concern in addressing the situation is extremely troubling given the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments that have swept across the nation in the past two years," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. "Such incidents bring into question whether it is safe for immigrants and those who speak languages other than English to continue to ride Greyhound."

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CAIR-NJ, Coalition Partners to Host Muslim Advocacy Day at the New Jersey State Capitol Focusing on Religious Registry, Adoption

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J., 12/11/18) – On December 17, Muslims from around New Jersey will take part in a “Muslim Day of Advocacy at the State House” in Trenton, N.J. Advocacy day participants will focus their lobbying efforts on issues such as legislation to prevent an attempt by this or any other administration from establishing a religious registry and maintaining a child’s religious upbringing when placing that child in adoption or foster care.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) is co-sponsoring Muslim Advocacy Day in Trenton along with a coalition of Muslim organizations from around the state. This is the first such event to take place in New Jersey’s capitol.

Throughout the day, New Jersey Muslims will meet with individual legislators. There will be a reception for press and government officials from noon to 1 p.m. 

WHAT: Muslim Advocacy Day at the New Jersey State Capitol

WHEN: 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. (Media are urged to arrive at 12 P.M.)

WHERE: New Jersey Statehouse Annex 145 W State Street, Trenton, NJ, Committee Room 6

CONTACT: CAIR-New Jersey Government Affairs Director Jay Rehman, (908) 668-5900,

For a list of participating Muslim organizations visit the New Jersey Muslim Voters Project website at

CAIR-CA Representatives and Religious Leaders Arrested at the Border in Support of Asylum-Seekers, Immigrants

(SAN DIEGO, CA, 12/11/18) - Representatives of the California chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), along with other local and national faith leaders, were arrested yesterday at the San Diego-Tijuana border in an act of peaceful civil disobedience in support of asylum-seekers and immigrants.


More than 400 people of faith -- including American Muslim leaders from across the nation such as Imam Omar Suleiman, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Taha Hassane and Imam Naeem Baig -- gathered at Border Field State Park in San Diego to begin a solemn procession to the border.

When the procession reached the law enforcement zone, border patrol agents dressed in riot gear blocked them from advancing to the border wall. In an act of civil disobedience, faith leaders moved forward to offer a ceremonial blessing. Thirty people were arrested.

CAIR-San Diego: 32 Arrested by Border Patrol at Immigration Rally - Times of San Diego

"We stand today, tomorrow and every day, committed to ensuring that every human being receives dignified treatment and the right to seek refuge for themselves and their families,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, who was taken into custody in an act of civil disobedience. “It is not only international law, it's basic human values. Love, dignity and respect know no borders."

“It is our responsibility as people of faith and of all Americans to stand in solidarity with those being affected by Trump’s xenophobic, racist policies in our borderlands,” said CAIR-San Diego Advocacy and Policy Coordinator Mejgan Afshan. “Today’s action was a way to tell our sisters & brothers across the border that we stand with them and all those seeking asylum because it is a human right.”

Yesterday’s solidarity event launched a week of action called “Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice” that began on Human Rights Day on December 10 and will end on International Migrants’ Day on December 18. The event is one of many across the nation, organized by AFSC, in solidarity with immigrants in this country and crossing the border.

Participants of this national mobilization are calling on the United States government to end the detention and deportation of immigrants, respect the human right to migrate and end border militarization.

For more information about Love Knows No Borders: A Moral Call for Migrant Justice, visit:

CAIR, Members of the Public Urge USCIS to Withdraw Trump’s Proposal to Restrict New Green Cards for Those Using Public Aid

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/10/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, and 287 members of the public, today submitted comments to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) formally requesting that the agency withdraw its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to restrict new green cards for those who have participated in public aid programs or who are deemed “likely at any time” to do so.

SEE: USCIS-2010-001 Docket Folder

The proposed rule was officially posted in the Federal Register on October 10, kicking off a 60-day public comment period before the change takes effect. CAIR called on members of the public to join in its comments on October 11.  

On September 25th, CAIR joined the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), co-chairs of the Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing our Future campaign (PIF), and over 1,100 other organization in an open statement strongly opposing this proposed rule and urged “the Administration to withdraw this dangerous proposal and work with us to build policies that support immigrants as healthy, productive and successful members of America’s communities and families.”


CAIR wrote in part to its submission to USCIS:

We strongly oppose this rule, which threatens the health and well-being of all Americans, including immigrants, and we urge the administration to withdraw this dangerous proposal and work to build policies that support immigrants as healthy, productive and successful members of America’s communities and families.

We are deeply disturbed by the ambiguity of the standard of “likely at any time” to use public aid and the discriminatory nature with which it could be applied to target specific ethnicities.

We are also concerned by reports that the rule could have negative effects on public health, such as increasing use of emergency rooms and scaring immigrant parents from having their children legally vaccinated.

This policy places an undue burden on the working-class immigrants that form the backbone of our economy and puts the wealthy at the front of the line. In doing so, it constitutes a complete abandonment of the American Dream, the fundamental premise of which holds that the United States is a place for those seeking a better life, not just those already living one.

Claiming, as this administration does, that “self-sufficiency has long been a basic principle of United States immigration law” is a grossly anachronistic reading of American history and ignores our nation's longstanding commitment to welcoming immigrants.

Furthermore, not only does the proposed rule change harm immigrant communities, it also implicitly demotes the naturalized citizens also using these public aid programs, like the more than 73 million Americans currently enrolled in Medicare, to the status of second-class citizens and sends the message that they are not welcome in this country either.”

CAIR Condemns Twitter CEO’s Endorsement of Burma Tourism, Calls on Genocidal Burmese Government to Respect Human Rights

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/10/2018) – The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweets encouraging tourism in Burma and renewed its calls on the Burmese government to grant basic human rights, citizenship and restitution to the Rohingya Muslims, and to hold those responsible for the genocide accountable.

Over the weekend, Dorsey posted a series of tweets about a recent trip to the country, which in August 2017 undertook a military-led ethnic-cleansing campaign of the Rohingya Muslims in the northern state of Rakhine, killing thousands and causing upwards of 700,000 to flee their homes for neighboring Bangladesh. Dorsey called Burma “an absolutely beautiful country” and encouraged his followers to visit.

In statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

Now is the time to increase pressure on Burma to recognize the basic human rights and citizenship of Rohingya Muslims, allow them to return safely to their homes and grant restitution, not to turn a blind eye to the ongoing atrocities in that nation.”

Awad added that Burma should immediately release two Reuters journalists jailed for investigating the genocide last December.

Last week, CAIR urged lawmakers to pass a House resolution calling the attacks on Rohingya Muslims a genocide and urging the Secretary of State to make the same designation.


Earlier this month, the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), an independent human rights law group contracted by the State Department to investigate atrocities committed against the Rohingya, found that there were “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes” were committed by the Burmese military.

Separately, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said it found compelling evidence that ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and genocide occurred.

CAIR Opposes Nomination of ‘Unqualified and Islamophobic’ U.N. Ambassador Nominee Heather Nauert

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/7/18) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the Trump administration to withdraw its nomination of Heather Nauert for the position of U.N. ambassador, saying she is “Unqualified and Islamophobic.”

Early next year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Nauert. CAIR is urging the Senate and members of the Foreign Relations Committee to oppose and vote “NO” on Nauert’s nomination for the position of U.N. ambassador.

TAKE ACTION: Urge the U.S. Senate to Reject Islamophobic’ U.N. Ambassador Nominee Heather Nauert

READ CAIR’s Senate Factsheet:

CAIR said Nauert promoted Islamophobic smears while employed as a Fox News anchor.

In 2013, she criticized special swim classes for a group of Somali-American girls, describing the classes as the “minority becoming the majority at one community pool. Sharia law is now changing everything.”

In a 2009 Fox special on “stealth jihad,” she interviewed Islamophobic panelists, including notorious Islamophobes like Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney and Nonie Darwish, who claims that “Islam should be feared, and should be fought, and should be conquered, and defeated, and annihilated.” Nauert has also defended Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.

SEE: Trump’s New State Department Spokesperson Spread Anti-Muslim Hate as Fox News Anchor

Nauert previously bashed refugee students in Pennsylvania for wanting “an even better” public education and falsely claimed that child migrants from Central America were “an illegal health risk.”

SEE: Fox Shames Refugee Students For Seeking "An Even Better" Public Education

Right-Wing Media Keep Rehashing The Xenophobic Smear That Immigrants Bring Diseases

Other than her current position as State Department spokesperson, Nauert has no apparent diplomatic or government experience or expertise.

“Heather Nauert does not represent our nation’s diversity or its commitment to treating all Americans with equality and respect,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

“Such an important post should not be occupied by someone who is clearly unqualified and Islamophobic,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “There are many other individuals who do have the knowledge and background necessary for this post. Ms. Nauert’s nomination should be withdrawn.”

In June, CAIR applauded the decision by members of the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) to reject President Trump’s nominee for the position of director general to lead the organization, a post held by Americans since 1951.

It was reported that members of the IMO rejected Isaacs's nomination due to his past Islamophobic statements and in response to Trump administration policies such as the Muslim ban and migrant family separations.

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Rejection of Trump’s Islamophobic Nominee for U.N. Migration Post

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president. The Washington-based civil rights organization has also repeatedly expressed concern about Islamophobic and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.

The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period. Preliminary data for 2018 indicate that there have been 927 hate incidents targeting American Muslims.

New CAIR Report: Trump's Muslim Bans Increased Anti-Muslim Discrimination, Violence

CAIR launched an app to share critical "know your rights" information and to simplify the process of reporting hate crimes and bias incidents and is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.

For a quick download of CAIR's civil rights app, click here:

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to:

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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