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CAIR Questions Denial of Visas for Afghan, Gambian DC Robotics Contest Teams

screenshot 2017 07 05 14 03 41(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/5/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today questioned the denial of visas to members of two teams of young people from Muslim-majority nations — one from The Gambia and the other from Afghanistan – seeking to compete in a prestigious international robotics contest in Washington, D.C., later this month.

American officials gave no reason for the denial of the teams’ visas and CAIR is asking whether the government’s actions are related to the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” executive orders.

SEE: Afghan All-Girl Engineering Team Denied US Visas While Robot Granted Entry

Visas Denied to Gambia Teens for Global Robotics Contest in Washington

“We, as a nation, should be welcoming and honoring these outstanding young people, not barring them from entry,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “This inexplicable decision on the part of government officials sends a negative message to youth worldwide who look up to our nation and value its tradition of free scientific inquiry.”

Last week, CAIR decried the Trump administration’s new Muslim ban guidelines as a violation of a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and promised to file legal challenges to the rules if implemented.

CAIR’s statement came after that court allowed the administration to reinstate parts of the Muslim ban while the court considers whether the executive order is constitutional. The ruling authorized immigration officials to deny new visa applications submitted by foreign nationals who lack a credible claim of a “close” and “bona fide” relationship with individuals or entities in the United States.

SEE: CAIR Decries Trump Administration’s New ‘Muslim Ban’ Guidelines, Promises Legal Challenge


CAIR said the court’s decision ignored the Islamophobic origins of the policy and emboldens Islamophobes in the Trump administration.

SEE: CAIR Says SCOTUS ”˜Muslim Ban’ Decision Ignores Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Emboldens Islamophobes in Trump Administration

The Washington-based civil rights organization recently launched an app to share critical ‘know your rights’ information and simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging Muslims to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.

SEE: Victim of a hate crime? Now there’s an app for that. (CNN)

For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here:     

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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.          

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CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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