Press Releases

CAIR Joins 100+ Rights Groups in Denouncing ADL’s Pattern of Suppressing Justice Movements, Calls on Allies to Stop Working with ADL

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/12/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined a broad coalition of more than 100 civil rights and human rights advocacy organizations in denouncing the Anti-Defamation League’s “history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements,” particularly those led by “immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence.” 

The coalition also called on community organizations, advocacy groups and social justice workers to reconsider their working relationships with the ADL, stating: 

“We cannot lift up or partner with the ADL on progressive causes, because the ADL’s credibility as a social justice organization is precisely what allows it to undermine the rights of marginalized communities, shielding it from criticism and accountability while boosting its legitimacy and resources. We cannot collaborate with the ADL without betraying our movements.” 

The coalition released an extensive report documenting the ADL’s troubling history of 1) surveillance of progressive organizations and movements, 2) support of militarized police training exchange programs, 3) suppression of human rights and Palestinian voices, 4) support of racist and white supremacist influencers, 5) promotion of Islamophobia, 6) suppression of campus activism, 7) trampling on progressive social justice movements.   

CAIR joined the coalition in calling on allies and all those concerned with social justice to reconsider their support of the ADL and cease working with the organization in light of its ongoing anti-justice practices. It also invited allied organizations to join the coalition in its efforts to raise awareness about this issue by signing on here

CAIR also noted the ADL’s pattern of repeatedly partnering with Islamophobic forces and disregarding Muslim sensitivities even as it condemns Islamophobia. During the controversy over the establishment of Park 51, commonly known as the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, the ADL baselessly and recklessly called into question the funding sources of the community center and demanded answers to the possible connections the community’s “leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values.” 

The ADL also called on the Islamic Center be built elsewhere. In doing so, the ADL legitimized anti-Muslim bigotry, marking itself on the wrong side of one of the most blatantly anti-Muslim moments in American history. 

The ADL has also publicly attacked various American Muslim politicians organizations for speaking out in support of Palestinian human rights, conflating legitimate condemnation of the Israeli occupation with anti-Semitism.

More recently, in its committed and ongoing support of right-wing Israel policies, the ADL executive director publicly joined openly anti-Semitic and Islamophobic pastors such as Robert Jeffress and John Hagee at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, a unilateral act condemned by President Trump the international community.  

In a statement, CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

“We stand with over 100 other civil and human rights organizations in saying enough is enough. A true civil rights organization should not condemn bigotry while standing with bigots. Nor should a civil rights organization advocate for anti-free speech laws, arrange for police officers to learn tactics that threaten minority communities, or smear Americans who dare to speak up for human rights abroad. And American Muslims should not partner with the ADL or any organization that engages in such conduct until they drastically change their ways.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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 Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw,