Arguably, CAIR is the most effective Islamic organization in the United States whose purpose is to proactively address the current civil challenges we experience as American Muslims. Our situation in our country includes many struggles:
- Rising Islamophobia, biased media coverage and a sharp rise in anti-Muslim attitudes.
- A large segment of the population grossly misinformed about Islam.
- Nationwide mosque opposition.
- Religious discrimination at the work place including harassment and hostile environments for some.
- Law enforcement, border patrol and airport reentry issues.
- Bullying of children because of their religion.
- Endless delays in the processing of applications for Green Cards or U.S. citizenship.
- An entire political party and other political movements demonizing Islam.
- And much more…
Through your generosity, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has continued its operation and is well positioned to address these many challenges. Our mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CAIR-Pennsylvania is a professional, grass-roots organization with an office in downtown Philadelphia. This attribute is unique because the organization is funded solely by members of the local community. As a result, we are able to employ professional, dedicated staff to handle day-to-day operations; well-trained interns and volunteers assist hired staff during business hours to address your needs.
How does your financial contribution and other forms of support help to advance our mission? Here is how CAIR-Pennsylvania helps you:
1. Protects your Civil Rights. When you or someone you know has been a victim of anti-Muslim discrimination or an altercation, we do not let it go unchallenged. You report it to us and CAIR-Pennsylvania will stand for you. Our qualified staff will fully assess he situation and determine the best course of action. Alhamdulillah, we have many success stories where Muslim women and men who were discriminated against are now back on the job; in addition, employers have offered to do sensitivity training for managers and employees to better understand our faith and religious needs at the workplace for Muslim staff. In 2010, 60 cases were reported and handled. CAIR-Pennsylvania also conducts Know Your Rights seminars as a key civil rights educational experience for communities.
2. Engages Media. Alhamdulillah, there have been several radio, television and print appearances of our staff to discuss issues, challenge Islamophobic commentary and provide correct information on various religious affairs. In print media, several letters and Op-Ed pieces have been published in local newspapers in the Delaware Valley. Media outlets and journalists now view CAIR-Pennsylvania as a leading source to address questions and stories on Islam and Muslims. Some even ask CAIR-Pennsylvania staff to check for the accuracy of their articles. CAIR-Pennsylvania appeared in the media over 30 times this year – 30 instances where there otherwise would have been silence, or someone unqualified speaking about Muslims.
3. Educates the Public. At CAIR-Pennsylvania we believe that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Countering and discouraging Islamophobic behavior and challenging the ongoing misrepresentation in the media and the anti-Muslim propaganda require a proactive attitude through interfaith dialogue and dissemination of accurate information on Islam. We have developed “presentation-ready” material on Understanding Islam, Challenging Islamophobia, and other topics that are presented routinely by CAIR-Pennsylvania staff and volunteers. Such presentations are made to audiences at schools, public libraries, universities, churches, synagogues, and community centers. Some presentations are given as 10-part classes. CAIR also recently published and released its new “Challenging Islamophobia” pocket guide, which gives tips on dealing with anti-Islam rhetoric.
4. Builds Coalitions. CAIR-Pennsylvania has developed a broad civil rights, inter-faith and government network. These relationships are crucial to serve the Muslim American community. Often, CAIR-Pennsylvania is the only Muslim point of contact for many organizations and agencies. For example, airport officials with Customs & Border Protection held a meeting with CAIR-Pennsylvania staff to better understand hajj rituals and customs, in order to provide Philadelphia Muslims with a friendlier and more empathetic customs and security experience upon their return from hajj.
5. Trains the Next Generation of Leaders. At CAIR-Pennsylvania we believe that “youth are our future”. We are convinced that the best way to secure a better future for us all is to empower the next generation with the skills they need to make a difference. In 2009 and 2010, our dedicated staff and interns prepared and conducted 3 successful Muslim Youth Leadership Programs. These 2-day training programs focused on: Community and Interfaith Relations, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Media Relations and Communications. About 35 of our youth attended these programs. New MYLP programs are planned for the future.
6. Keeps you informed and engaged. CAIR-Pennsylvania has developed and continues to update a very interactive, user-friendly website. Our dedicated staff ensures that information is up-to-date with recent news, action alerts, media coverage, media watch, and outreach blogs. In addition, our quarterly newsletter and weekly email offer a summary of events and programs that were accomplished during the period.
As you can see from the examples above, CAIR-Pennsylvania is paving the way towards accurate representation of Islam and Muslims and advocacy for your rights to practice Islam without any discrimination. CAIR-Pennsylvania needs your help to sustain its operation. This can be through sharing of your time, talent and/or treasure.
Do you have a talent in writing? Are you a skilled speaker? Do you have IT experience? Are you interested in intercultural dialogue and community activism? Are you an attorney with civil rights experience? If so, CAIR-Pennsylvania invites you to volunteer and offer your time and talent to serve in any of the above programs.
Are you a working person who is too busy to actively fight anti-Muslim bigotry and to work for increased understanding of Islam and Muslims? If so, you can do your part by sharing your treasure. Therefore, we ask you to consider donating to CAIR-Pennsylvania Philadelphia Chapter through one of the following means*:
- Monthly donation or one time donation by credit card
- Periodic (monthly) direct deduction from your bank account
- Dollar a Day program: http://pa.cair.com/dollar-a-day/
* Please note that CAIR-Pennsylvania is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Your donations are tax-deductible and zakat eligible.
Thank you for your generous support. In supporting CAIR, you have empowered yourself and your community.