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CAIR Appoints Lena Masri as National Litigation Director, Acting Civil Rights Director

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/6/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the appointment of Lena F. Masri, Esq. as its national litigation director and acting civil rights director.

Prior to accepting her new positions, Masri was legal director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, where she spearheaded high-impact, landmark civil rights litigation that both challenged anti-Muslim policies and defended the constitutional rights of American Muslims.

Masri holds a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University – Indianapolis, School of Law, where she focused her studies in International and Comparative Law, as well as on International Human Rights Law.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan.

In 2014, she was awarded the RARE Everyday Hero Award by Winning Futures for her “extraordinary commitment, integrity, selflessness and courage to changing lives and inspiring others.â€Â  She was honored by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2013 and 2014 for her pro bono work on behalf of poor and indigent clients. Masri has also been recognized by several community organizations, including the Syrian American Medical Society, Syrian Expatriates, the American Muslim Diversity Association, among others, for her civil rights and humanitarian work and empowering the youth. 

Prior to joining CAIR-MI, she worked in different areas relating to national security and international human rights, including ethnic cleansing, genocide, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, use of child soldiers, money laundering, and sex trafficking. 

In 2008, she principally authored and presented a shadow report on the United States to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  She also spoke before the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism about arbitrary arrests and detentions, use of secret evidence in closed proceedings, secret detentions, refoulement (the expulsion of refugees or asylum seekers), and proxy torture.  She was awarded the Norman Lefstein Award of Excellence as a Gold Level Participant in the Pro Bono program at Indiana University – Indianapolis, School of Law and a Certificate of Recognition for United Nations Human Rights Reporting Initiative & Advocacy.

In addition to her past work with CAIR-MI, Masri manages her own law firm – Masri Law Office, PLLC – where she specializes in immigration and political asylum. She serves as a volunteer attorney for the Family Law Assistance Project, the Legal Aid Defender Association and Lakeshore Legal Aid in Michigan, representing poor and indigent clients and victims of domestic violence.

“We are delighted to have Lena Masri bring her considerable legal talents and experience to the national level at a time when the erosion of hard-won civil rights is a disturbing possibility,†CAIR National Board Chair Roula Allouch.

Allouch said Masri will oversee CAIR’s national civil rights department at the organization’s Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html   

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com  

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