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CAIR Elects Omar Zaki as National Board Chair

large 03-02-2012-1(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/2/12) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, announced today that it has elected California small business owner and U.S. Army veteran Omar Zaki as its new board chairman. Zaki takes over the position from former State Senator Larry Shaw (NC), who will remain on CAIR’s board.

A Southern California native, Omar has been active with CAIR and the American Muslim community for more than a decade and has served on CAIR’s national board since 2011. He previously served as director of government relations for the Southern California chapter of CAIR. In that capacity, he helped create a multicultural advisory council for the FBI and served as an advisor on that council from 2004-2006. He also served on Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca’s advisory council in support of law enforcement.

Omar serves on the City of Riverside Human Relations Commission, the board of the International Relations Council of Sister Cites International and the California Council on Criminal Justice.

“I would like thank Larry Shaw for his dedicated service to CAIR and to the cause of defending the civil rights of all Americans, and I hope I can achieve a record of success similar to his,” said Zaki. “I am delighted to help lead CAIR in the direction of building partnerships and developing greater awareness and understanding of the American Muslim community, and to help uphold the American values of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness for all.”

“Omar’s deep commitment to working with and for the Muslim community and his longstanding service with CAIR make him a natural choice to lead our national board,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “I look forward to working with him as we continue protecting civil liberties and promoting mutual understanding.”

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

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