Press Releases

CAIR Condemns Trump’s Order to Keep Gitmo Open

Order is reversal of Obama administration’s stated policy to close the prison

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/31/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned President Donald Trump’s announcement last night during the State of the Union address that he signed an executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay open, revoking the Obama administration’s 2009 order to close the facility.

Trump’s order creates the possibility sending new prisoners to the detention camp. The order states: “The United States may transport additional detainees to US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay when lawful and necessary to protect the Nation.”

SEE: Trump Executive Order Keeping Guantánamo Prison Open

In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:

“We condemn President Trump’s order to keep the illegal, exclusively Muslim-populated military prison in Guantánamo Bay open. Reports of abuse and a lack of due process at Guantánamo have tarnished our nation’s image in the international community and diminished our moral authority to prosecute suspected terrorists in U.S. custody.

“By returning to this deeply-discredited military detention strategy, President Trump is playing politics with our nation’s security. Guantánamo’s severely mismanaged military tribunals have yet to convict a single defendant, at a time when our civilian courts routinely try terrorism cases.

“Guantánamo subverts the criminal justice system by not giving the 41 men detained there due process and their day in court. Those determined to be innocent should be released and sent back to their families.

“The accused should be given a fair trial, consistent with our nation’s constitutional values. Only the guilty should be sentenced, providing closure to their victims. Moreover, our government should not prolong the of imprisonment of detainees already cleared for release.”

CAIR advocates for the immediate release or for the civilian trial of all remaining detainees at Guantánamo and seeks the closure of the prison. CAIR cautions against the closure the prison being accomplished by creating a comparable facility with the same inadequate judicial processes inside the U.S.  

In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close the prison within in one year, stating this action would “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even during times of war.”

On January 11, CAIR co-hosted a rally in front of the White House with human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo detainee attorneys, 9-11 family members, ex-military officials, and members of diverse faith communities to mark the 16th year anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay prison camp and to stop torture. 

CAIR Government Affairs Department Coordinator Amineh Safi opened the rally with a prayer to close the prison.

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 Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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