Press Releases

CAIR Applauds Federal Judge’s Decision Ordering Federal Government to Fully Disclose What Private Groups Have Access to the Watchlist

(WASHINGTON, DC, 2/22/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, welcomed a magistrate judge’s decision in Alexandria, Virginia earlier today ordering the federal government to fully disclose how and why and with whom it shares the terror watchlist. 

AP: Judge Orders Feds to List Private Groups Receiving Watchlist

“We applaud the judge’s decision to shed light on the government’s misuse of this illegal watchlist that has the potential to negatively impact the lives of so many innocent people,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Congress must follow this federal court’s lead and demand a comprehensive accounting of why so many private entities have access to the illegal watchlist and what they are doing with that access.”  

In issuing the order, federal magistrate Judge John Anderson ruled that the federal government had not complied with an earlier court order requiring the FBI and other agencies to provide “detailed, complete, and specific” information about how, why, and to whom they provide watchlist information to.

Read the federal court’s order:

Today’s hearing was scheduled to deal with the revelation from earlier this month that the federal government disseminates its watchlist to more than 1,400 private groups.  

CAIR: Feds Share Terrorist Watchlist with 1,400 Private Groups (AP)

The federal government’s disclosure comes in response to a court order obtained by CAIR in its legal challenge to the watchlisting system (El Hady v. Kable). After years of denying that the watchlist is available to private companies, the government’s disclosure raises critical questions about how the watchlist is shared and what recipients of watchlist information — which include hospitals and universities, among other private entities — do with that access.   

For years, CAIR has represented innocent Muslims — people who have not been charged, arrested, or convicted of a violent offense — who have been targeted by the watchlisting system. Some have lost jobs, been separated from their families, and all have been stigmatized by being treated as a “terrorist” by their own government.

SEE: Detroit Mother Calls Out Feds For Breaking Up Family, Files Lawsuit

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.


CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-742-6420,, CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,


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