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COMMUNITY ADVISORY: CAIR Encourages Public Schools Marking 9/11 Anniversary to Do So With ‘Accurate and Appropriate Lesson Plans Free from Bigotry’

CAIR Also Encourages Muslim Parents, Students to Report Any Islamophobic Curriculum or Anti-Muslim Bullying

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/10/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today encouraged public schools which mark the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to do so with lesson plans that are accurate, free from bigotry, and created by appropriate sources.

CAIR also encouraged Muslim parents and students nationwide to monitor and report any use of anti-Muslim teaching materials or incidents of anti-Muslim bullying, which have repeatedly occurred in schools on the anniversary of 9/11.

ACTION: Any bias incidents may be reported to CAIR at:  

In a statement, CAIR National Research & Advocacy Director Dr. Abbas Barzegar said:

“We encourage educators who mark the anniversary of 9/11 by teaching lesson plans about the attacks to do so accurately and carefully. In recent years, some teachers have used inappropriate source materials, injected Islamophobic views into classroom discussions or singled out Muslim students for attention, all of which can lead to bigotry and bullying. Students must learn about the 9/11 attacks through accurate materials presented in a safe educational environment.”

In past years, CAIR has received reports of teachers using biased or inappropriate teaching materials about 9/11, some of them created by anti-Muslim hate groups. Muslim students and parents have also reported spikes in bullying. 

CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles Area office (CAIR-LA) today provided a list of educational resources for educators to supplement their lesson plans. Recommended steps for teachers and administrators include: 

  • Being sensitive to the religious diversity in your classroom and choose your language carefully when referring to the perpetrators. Educators should be mindful of stereotyping the Muslim community and how this could have an impact upon students. 
  • Being sensitive to the visual materials – photos, videos, audio – and their emotional nature and potential impact upon students. Choose materials that clearly meet the goals and objectives of the lesson. 
  • Instructors should avoid articulating their personal political beliefs into discussions about 9/11. 
  • Being sensitive to the vulnerability of students who have a history of trauma in their own lives and how they may connect this event to their personal experiences. 
  • Avoiding having students engage in educational activities that simulate the roles of perpetrators, bystanders, upstanders, etc. 

Last October, CAIR marked National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month with the release of an anti-bullying guide for Muslim parents and students. 

CAIR’s guide, titled “Bias and Bullying: Empowering Muslim Children in the Age of Islamophobia,” provides key recommendations for families and communities to help stop the spread of bigotry, hate and Islamophobia in schools.  

SEE: CAIR Marks National Bullying Prevention Month with Release of Anti-Bullying Guide for Muslim Families 

The guide also offers a five-step checklist for “What to Do If You Are Bullied at School” and “Know Your Rights” materials for Muslim students in Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Farsi, Somali, and Urdu. 

SEE: CAIR Anti-Bullying Guide

CAIR offers anti-bullying and bystander intervention workshops, as well as a free guide to explain relevant Muslim religious practices to educators.  

SEE: Guides to Muslim Religious Practices

Washington, D.C.-based CAIR and the American Muslim community are standing in solidarity with all those challenging anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy.        

Video: CAIR Director Nihad Awad Speaks at Unveiling of Black Lives Matter Banner  

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

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