Press Releases

CAIR Calls for DOJ Investigation of Abuses of Pipeline Protestors and Muslim Solidarity with Indigenous Americans

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/28/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to investigate documented reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement and private Dakota Access company security guards against peaceful protestors, journalists, and others at the protest of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

SEE: Guards accused of unleashing dogs, pepper-spraying oil pipeline protesters

CAIR is also calling on Muslim organizations to stand with indigenous Americans in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, as its planned construction threatens to destroy traditional burial sites, prayer sites and artifacts.

“CAIR stands in solidarity with the indigenous Americans in their struggle for the preservation of their traditional lands and heritage and calls on the DOJ to investigate reports of excessive police and private security abuses against peaceful protestors,†said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Awad added, “It is unconscionable that still to this day, in scenes reminiscent of the attacks on African Americans in the South during the Civil Rights Era, dogs are being unlawfully driven to viciously attack peaceful protestors who are exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceful protest and assembly.â€

CAIR also expressed grave concern over the official findings by the Morton County Sheriff’s office that security guards unlicensed in the handling of canines were able to operate in the state of North Dakota.

The dogs were used by private security guards to viciously attack and bite peaceful protestors who were joining together in a historical act of solidarity to stop the violation by the Dakota Access Pipeline of the rights of indigenous peoples.

SEE: Democracy Now: Probe Finds Guards Who Unleashed Dogs on Pipeline Protesters Were Not Licensed in ND

The September 3, vicious dog attacks were captured on video and posted to Democracy Now where they immediately went viral. The images showed vicious dogs with bloody mouths repeatedly being urged by dog handlers to bite peaceful protestors. The dog attacks are part of an increasingly militarized response by federal, state and local law enforcement and private security to crackdown and disperse the peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Thousands of protestors, who call themselves “protectors†of the land and water, from indigenous Canadian and Native American and their allies have come from around the Americas and the World to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline, which Native Americans, environmentalists, and climate justice activists believe will pollute their waters, degrade the environment, violate sacred land and treaty rights, and will contribute to global warming.

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 Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-341-4171,

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