Author Archives: Shahum Ajmal

CAIR Announces Victory in Constitutional Challenge to Federal Terror Watchlist

BREAKING MEDIA ADVISORY:
CAIR to Announce ‘Complete Victory’ in Constitutional Challenge to Federal Terror Watchlist
(WASHINGTON, DC, 9/4/19) – On Thursday, September 5, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a noon news conference at its Capitol Hill headquarters to outline the practical and constitutional implications of the Muslim civil rights organization’s “complete victory” in its challenge to the federal government’s terror watchlist in Elhady v. Kable (E.D.Va.).
Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that the government has unconstitutionally failed to provide watchlisted persons with notice and an opportunity for individuals to challenge their status.
The judge granted CAIR’s motion for summary judgment in the case of 23 American Muslims who were unjustly labeled as suspected terrorists by their government, causing extensive harm to their families, careers, and ability to travel.
WHAT: CAIR News Conference Announcing Watchlist Victory
WHERE: CAIR’s Capitol Hill Headquarters, 453 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington DC 20003
WHEN: Thursday, September 5, Noon
WHO: CAIR Executive Director, CAIR Legal Team, Affected Clients
CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-642-4934, lmasri@cair.com; CAIR
Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, gabbas@cair.com; CAIR Trial Attorney
Carolyn Homer, 202-516-4724; CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid (248) 842-1418.
BACKGROUNDER:
“The vagueness of the standard for inclusion in the TSDB, coupled with the lack of any meaningful restraint on what constitutes grounds for placement on the Watchlist, constitutes, in essence, the absence of any ascertainable standard for inclusion and exclusion, which is precisely what offends the Due Process Clause,” wrote Judge Trenga.
“CAIR’s legal team has finally brought an end to the secretive watchlist, which is effectively a Muslim registry created in the wake of the widespread Islamophobia of the early 2000s,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “What a remarkable way to honor CAIR’s 25th Anniversary in 2019.”
“CAIR has a half-dozen other watchlist cases pending in federal courts across the country, and this opinion will pave the wave for our continued victories,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. “Today’s opinion is a victory for the more than one hundred American Muslims we represent and for the thousands of American Muslims who are currently stigmatized by the watchlist.”
“Every step of this case revealed new layers of government secrets, including that the government shares the watchlist with private companies and more than sixty foreign countries,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “CAIR will continue its fight until the full scope of the government’s shadowy watchlist activities is disclosed to the American public.”
“The fundamental principle of due process is notice and the opportunity to be heard,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Justin Sadowsky. “Today’s opinion provides that due process guarantee to all Americans affected by the watchlist.”
“The watchlist’s arbitrary criteria has long enabled the government to target Muslims based on their faith and then build a secretive network map of their associations,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer. “Today, the government’s unlawful surveillance of the Muslim community has begun to be curtailed.”
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.
On November 9, CAIR will hold its 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, 202-774-0770, aajeen@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com
Watch full News Conference video by CAIR legal team:

San Diego Synagogue Attack

CAIR Pittsburgh Expresses Solidarity with Jewish Community After Deadly San Diego Synagogue Attack

Muslim civil rights group offers houses of worship booklet outlining stepped-up security measures

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/27/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed solidarity with the Jewish community in the San Diego-area and nationwide following a deadly shooting at a synagogue near that city.

Early news reports mention that one person has died and three people are injured in an apparent hate crime at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, Calif.

SEE: 1 Dead, Suspect Detained Following Synagogue Shooting in Poway

Today is the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, known in Jewish tradition as the “Festival of Freedom.”

In a statement, CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania said:

“We condemn this disturbing and despicable attack on our neighbors at a house of worship, offer our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured, and express our solidarity with the Jewish community during this time of shock and grief. We renew our commitment to work together against this disturbing trend of attacks on houses of worship, which should be sanctuaries for worshippers.”

The Washington-based civil rights organization is urging all houses of worship and faith-based and advocacy organizations to take extra security precautions as outlined in its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet. The advice in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to all institutions, regardless of organizational mission.

The booklet may be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/BestSafetyPractices

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.

END

CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601, zlasania@cair.com; CAIR Strategic Communications Manager Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, abukhari@cair.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

CAIR-Pittsburgh, Interfaith and Community Leaders to Hold Rally to Protest Islamophobic Fox News Host’s Appearance at St. Barnabas Health System

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/24/19) – On Thursday April 25, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Pittsburgh), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, along with a large coalition of interfaith organizations, peace activists and other community leaders, will hold a protest outside the Marriott hotel in Cranberry Township, Pa. where Islamophobic Fox News host Jeanine Pirro is set to speak at a charitable event for the St. Barnabas Health System.

SEE Facebook Event Page: Protest at Jeanine Pirro – St. Barnabas event

https://www.facebook.com/events/308697199808535/

SEE: Jeanine Pirro’s History of Anti-Muslim Attacks 

In March, Pirro attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) decision to wear an Islamic head scarf, calling it “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”

WHAT: Rally to Protest Islamophobic Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro’s Appearance at St. Barnabas Health System
WHO:
CAIR-Pittsburgh and a wide coalition of supporting organizations
WHEN:
Thursday, April 25, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
Marriott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Dr., Cranberry Township, PA 16066
CONTACT:
CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601, zlasania@cair.com

The peaceful protest will condemn bigotry, Islamophobia, and violent propaganda and protesters are encouraged to bring their own signs.

Last month, CAIR called on St. Barnabas Health System in Pennsylvania to drop Islamophobic Fox News host Jeanine Pirro as a speaker at the April 25 event.

Three days later, CAIR welcomed the withdrawal of major sponsors from the event after issuing a call for them to pull out.

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Withdrawal of Sponsors for Penn. Event Featuring Islamophobic Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro
https://www.cair.com/cair_welcomes_withdrawal_of_sponsors_for_penn_event_featuring_islamophobic_fox_news_host_jeanine_pirro

The Washington-based civil rights organization is also asking Americans to take part in its click and send action alert calling on the St. Barnabas Health System to drop Pirro as a speaker.

ACTION ALERT: Contact St. Barnabas Health System to Ask That Jeanine Pirro Be Dropped as an Awardee and Speaker at the “Founder’s Day” Celebration
https://www.votervoice.net/CAIR/campaigns/64476/respond

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.

END

CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601, zlasania@cair.com

CAIR Condemns Attacks on Christian Worshippers and Others in Sri Lanka

PRESS RELEASE
CAIR Condemns Attacks on Christian Worshippers and Others
in Sri Lanka
(PITTSBURGH, PA, 4/22/2019) — CAIR-Pittsburgh, a Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that left more than 290 dead and more than 500 injured.
In a statement, CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania said: “The savage attacks on Christian worshippers celebrating Easter Sunday and others in Sri Lanka are an affront to all humanity. We mourn today the loss of our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and send our sympathies to the Christian community and all Sri Lankans. The past weekend is otherwise an auspicious one when Easter, Passover (Pesach) and Middle of Shaban overlap. Muslims respect the sanctity of all forms of prayer. We renew our commitment to work against all forms of hate this weekend as we join thousands others and pray for Sri Lanka.”
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.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601,zlasania@cair.com

CAIR Condemns Terror Attack on New Zealand Mosques, Urges Stepped-Up Security by Muslim Communities in U.S., Worldwide

(WASHINGTON, DC and PITTSBURGH, PA, 3/15/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations, and its Pittsburgh Chapter(CAIR-Pittsburgh), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today mourned the deaths of more than 40 worshipers gunned down in terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during prayers on Friday, condemned the apparent anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that motivated the attacks and urged mosques in the United States and worldwide to step up security measures. 

A man who claimed responsibility for the attacks left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he said he was a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the attack was carried out “by an extremist right-wing violent terrorist” and media reports indicate that the manifesto posted before the attack includes anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The white supremacist author of the manifesto called himself a supporter of President Donald Trump, who he sees “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Authorities have detained four people and defused explosive devices following what appeared to be a carefully-planned terror attack.

SEE: Christchurch shootings at two mosques leave 49 dead, Australian arrested in relation to terror attack

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/christchurch-shooting-at-mosques-leads-to-multiple-fatalities/10904306

40 Killed in New Zealand Mosque Shootings; 4 Held

https://www.apnews.com/ce9e1d267af149dab40e3e5391254530

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

“To God we belong, and to Him is our return. We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer.”

Video of the attacks has been posted online. CAIR is asking that the video not be shared.

“Instead of spreading the hate-filled message of terrorists, we should share messages of love and solidarity with the loved ones of those killed or injured in the attacks,” said Awad.

Awad urged President Trump to speak out against the attacks and the white supremacist motive of the terrorists.

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president and has repeatedly expressed concern about Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.

SEE: CAIR Says Trump’s Islamophobic ‘Prayer Rug’ Tweet Designed to Distract from Latest Legal Problems

https://www.cair.com/cair_says_trump_s_islamophobic_prayer_rug_tweet_designed_to_distract_from_latest_legal_problems

The Washington-based civil rights organization is urging mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet. The advice in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to all institutions, regardless of organizational mission.

The booklet may be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/BestSafetyPractices

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 

END

CONTACT: CAIR Pittsburgh President Safdar Khwaja 412-512-3034, skhwaja@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

CAIR-Pittsburgh Welcomes Resignation of School Official Over Anti-Muslim Post

CAIR-Pittsburgh Welcomes Resignation of School Official Over Anti-Muslim Post

(PITTSBURGH, PA,2/8/19) – The Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Pittsburgh) today welcomed the resignation of a school board member who shared an anti-Muslim Facebook post.

SEE: Plum School Board Member to Resign Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Share

https://triblive.com/local/allegheny/14592492-74/plum-school-board-member-to-resign-over-anti-muslim-facebook-share

Plum school board member who published anti-Muslim Facebook post to resign

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2019/02/08/Plum-school-board-Brian-Wisniewski-resignation-anti-Muslim/stories/201902080126

Yesterday, CAIR-Pittsburgh joined the NAACP Allegheny East Branch in calling for the resignation of Plum Borough School District Member Brian Wisniewski who shared an anti-Muslim post to his personal account that read: “Does it worry anybody that we have three devout Muslims in Congress who have unlimited access to our TOP SECRET GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS?” Wisniewski claims he shared the post by mistake.

A special board meeting is reportedly scheduled for Saturday to approve the resignation.

SEE: CAIR-Pittsburgh Joins NAACP in Calling for Resignation of School Official Over Anti-Muslim Post

https://www.cair.com/cair_pittsburgh_joins_naacp_in_calling_for_resignation_of_school_official_over_anti_muslim_post

“We welcome this reported resignation and hope it sends the message that bigotry of any type will not be accepted in our state’s schools,” said CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania.

Earlier this week, CAIR condemned Islamophobic and racist social media posts posted on the public Twitter account of a Maryland police officer

SEE: CAIR Condemns Bigoted Posts by Baltimore County Police Officer, Calls for Apology, Diversity Training

https://www.cair.com/cair_condemns_bigoted_posts_by_baltimore_county_police_officer_calls_for_apology_diversity_training

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

CAIR 2018 Civil Rights Report: Targeted

http://www.islamophobia.org/reports/224-2018-civil-rights-report-targeted.html

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.

END

CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601, zlasania@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com