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CAIR Calls on Congress to Probe Why More than 1,400 Private Companies Have Access to Illegal Watchlist

(WASHINGTON, DC, 2/20/19) The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on Congress to investigate why the federal government has given more than 1,400 private companies access to the terrorist watchlist.  

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.  

[MEDIA ADVISORY: Whether this disclosure complies with the federal court’s order to provide comprehensive information about private sector dissemination is subject to a pending legal dispute, which will be heard by a federal judge this Friday in Alexandria, Va. 10 a.m., Judge Anderson’s Chambers, Eastern District of Virginia, 401 Courthouse Sq., Alexandria, VA 22314]  

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

“The indiscriminate dissemination of the watchlist is but the latest indication that the federal government’s watchlisting system is an illegal boondoggle,” said CAIR Litigation Director Lena Masri. “We call on congressional leadership to investigate the private sector dissemination of watchlisting information that stigmatizes the innocent and makes none of us safer.”

“This is a wholesale profiling of a religious minority community,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “To share private information of citizens and non-citizens with corporations is illegal and outrageous.”

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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