(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/3/09) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, announced today that it has elected North Carolina State Senator Larry Shaw as its new board chairman.
CAIR’s new chairman said he looks forward to partnering with the Obama administration to protect civil liberties and to help improve America’s international image.
Shaw is a long-standing member of the North Carolina Senate General Assembly and a former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives General Assembly. He also serves as the chairman of the Transportation Committee and vice-chairman of the Finance Committee. Shaw was the country’s highest-ranking Muslim elected official before the election of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in 2006. Prior to becoming a public official, Shaw gained extensive business experience in the food service industry. He has been on CAIR’s national board for three years.
In September of 2003, the six-term legislator was elected as vice-chairman of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus of the state’s general assembly.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history, a time that requires change and renewal,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “I welcome Senator Shaw as CAIR’s new chairman and believe he will be a key player in broadening the dialogue on issues of importance to our nation, from civil rights to political participation and interfaith relations.”
In a statement, Sen. Shaw said:
“CAIR exists to uphold the right to liberty that Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. We will challenge any attempts to erode constitutionally-protected liberties. We will also continue to work to ensure that American Muslims play a positive and productive role in our society.
“In carrying out our mission of promoting justice and mutual understanding, we honor and will continue to learn from groups who have faced similar challenges, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and many others.
“CAIR embraces the cultural and religious pluralism that is a hallmark of America and repudiates any misuse of Islam to falsely justify violence or intolerance.
“We look forward to partnering with the Obama administration to help defend civil liberties and to project to the world the best of our nation’s universal, constitutional and pluralistic values of freedom and justice.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org