Press Releases

CAIR Offers DC Office Space to French Muslim Civil Rights Group Closed in Islamophobic Crackdown

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/4/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced that it has offered office space in its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., to a French Muslim anti-racism organization recently shut down by that nation’s government in a crackdown on the Muslim community and its legal rights.  

SEE: French Government Shuts Down Anti-Racist Group

CAIR said it has offered the office space and logistical resources to the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), which French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin falsely accused of spreading “Islamist propaganda.” In fact, CCIF’s main function was monitoring growing Islamophobia in France.  

In less than three months, the French government enacted a series of anti-Muslim measures that violated the rights of religious freedom of French Muslims. 

Despite not having any evidence, Darmanin announced a broad crackdown of up to 80 mosques suspected of “separatism.” Darmanin has also stated that foreign families that disagree with the display of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in schools might face deportation. Macron’s government, which supposedly values freedom of speech, has created a double standard by singling out French Muslims and questioning their legitimacy as French citizens. Macron is also coercing a body of Muslim leaders to accept a charter of “Republican Values” to prove their loyalty to France. 

SEE: France could close almost 80 mosques after deporting dozens of migrants in ‘crackdown on separatism.’

France to sue, deport ‘foreign families’ opposing Prophet Muhammad caricatures

France’s Macron asks Muslim leaders to back ‘republican values charter’

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:      

“The French Muslim community and its civil organizations are being unjustly pressured and bullied by their government.   

“The dissolution of the CCIF is not based on any legal ground and creates a dangerous precedent. In essence, the French government bizarrely believes that criticizing its Islamophobic policy is, in and of itself, an incitement to terrorism.  

“Targeting human rights organizations like CCIF — at the expense of the rule of law — is only the tip of the iceberg. In an unprecedented move, the French government wants to criminalize and dissolve any organization that disagrees with its plan to control Muslims, by labeling them as ‘separatists.’  

SEE: French Police Launch Crackdown on Mosques Suspected of ‘Islamic Separatism’

“A planned law on separatism focuses solely on Muslims and will allow the government to impose its pre-approved imams (Islamic religious leaders), tax Muslims’ finances (through Hajj) and deny Islamic organizations any sense of agency.  

“The disturbing developments in France should be of concern to people of all faiths and backgrounds worldwide who value freedom and justice. 

“We hope CCIF may be reconstituted and carry on important work challenging hate in France, even when that work must be carried out in another country like the United States where domestic laws guarantee free speech and religious rights.” 

He noted that CAIR recently issued a travel advisory warning American Muslims against traveling to France amid the French government’s “hypocritical and dangerous” campaign of Islamophobic bigotry targeting French Muslims, mosques and Islamic organizations.     

SEE: CAIR Warns American Muslims Against Travel to France, Condemns Macron’s ‘Hypocritical’ Attempt to Suppress Boycott Campaign   

Last month, CAIR condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to dictate the principles of the Islamic faith after he issued an ultimatum to French Muslim leaders to draw up a charter in 15 days that would falsely state that Islam is an “apolitical religion.”   

SEE: CAIR Condemns President Macron’s Attempt to Dictate Islamic Principles to French Muslims  

[NOTE: CAIR and other American Muslim organizations and institutions are actively involved in promoting Muslim civic engagement and political participationSEE American Muslim voters and candidates were active in the recent state and national elections.]   

In October, the Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization also called on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIFR) to investigate France’s ongoing campaign of “collective punishment” against the French Muslim community, as well as France’s longstanding history of turning anti-religious bigotry into government policy.   

SEE: CAIR Calls on U.S. Religious Freedom Commission (USCIFR) to Probe France’s Anti-Religion Laws and ‘Collective Punishment’ of French Muslim Community   


Over the past 20 years, France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit and punish the free exercise of religion, especially among Muslims. France has banned students, teachers, and public servants from wearing visible signs of their faith, including hijabs, at school or at work.      

French law also forbids people from wearing religious face veils in public, while simultaneously requiring them to wear medical face masks. Muslim women in some areas of France have also been fined by police for wearing full-body swimsuits.         

President of France Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech about the French Muslim community in which he claimed that “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country” and has expressed concern of “Islamic separatism” and called to “liberate” Islam.        

CAIR’s 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, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter