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CAIR Joins Coalition Urging Police to Protect Rights While Safeguarding Public Health

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/18/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined The Leadership Conference Education Fund in urging law enforcement agencies nationwide to protect civil rights and the health and safety of communities and officers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A policy paper, titled “Public Safety During COVID-19 and Beyond: Recommendations for Protecting Public Health and Our Civil Rights” and endorsed by more than 100 civil rights organizations and law enforcement groups, states in part:

“All people deserve to feel safe in their homes, communities, and country. Safety is a civil and human right without which people cannot thrive and democracy cannot function. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the institutional and historical flaws in our approach to public safety. In some places, police have begun to enforce public health orders through stops, arrests, and uses of force—practices that already disproportionately affect people of color and poor people. This has magnified the intersection between unconstitutional or harmful policing, misguided responses to public health, community trust of law enforcement, and confidence in our democratic systems.”

Recommendations include:

  • Prioritize a Public Health Response to a Public Health Crisis: State and local health agencies should take the lead in enforcing public health orders, not police. Law enforcement can support health agencies through community education and awareness about the directives and referring community members to social services providers and programs.
  • Practice Fairness, Promote Equity: Police should prioritize bias-free policing policies and practices and stop making arrests and detentions for offenses that pose no imminent harm to others and are not a threat to public safety, including immigration, to the maximum extent possible.
  • Commit to Accountability and Transparency: In addition to holding officers accountable for proper COVID-19 responses, police departments should collect and publish data to learn more for future crises.

READ: Public Safety During COVID-19 and Beyond: Recommendations for Protecting Public Health and Our Civil Rights

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 Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen,

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