FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: WE CAIR: Coalition for Accountability & Islah-Reform Contact: Jinan Shbat (202-688-7966 – firstname.lastname@example.org) www.WeCAIR.net
WOMEN’S COALITION DEMANDS CAIR’S CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER NIHAD
AWAD RESIGN AFTER NPR EXPOSES HIS FAILURE TO ADDRESS
PERVASIVE SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION AND GENDER BIAS
(Washington, DC, 4/16/2021)– The WE-CAIR Coalition for Accountability & Islah-Reform is calling for the immediate resignation of senior leadership at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) following National Public Radio’s shocking investigative report on sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse by senior CAIR officials in offices across the country. The facts outlined by NPR reveal a pattern of covering up abuse and blanket denials by CAIR National and its affiliates.
SEE: Civil Rights Org CAIR Accused of Ignoring Alleged Misconduct (NPR)
WE-CAIR is a coalition representing former CAIR employees, board members, and community members who have been victimized by CAIR leaders. The coalition has identified over thirty women who have had their civil rights violated by an organization that claims to protect those rights. They know of many more too afraid to come forward.
In a statement on behalf of the group, Jinan Shbat, a former CAIR employee quoted in the NPR article, said:
“We are demanding that CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad and his Board Chair Roula Allouch resign immediately. When they learned of the shocking allegations of domestic violence and sexually predatory behavior from numerous women against Hassan Shibly, they refused to publicly condemn such conduct. For a civil rights organization this is outrageous. Many other cases have also been swept under the rug. Their removal can pave the way for reform after an independent inquiry into the working conditions that have led to years of sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints by women at both CAIR National and other CAIR chapters.”
“Protecting the civil rights of American Muslims is vital but CAIR senior leaders have betrayed that mission and have abused their power for years. In fact, CAIR leaders have violated women’s civil rights by covering up sexual abuse and harassment and allowing a culture of gender discrimination at their National office. Victims have been routinely intimidated for daring to complain. We believe over the years hundreds of thousands of dollars of donated funds have been used to legally intimidate women into silence. If ordinary Muslims and supporters knew how their hard-earned donation money was being misused, they would be outraged.”
The coalition is demanding that CAIR lift non-disclosure agreements from the past two decades to enable other victims to come forward. Further, CAIR’s National Council should submit to mediation with an independent victim-centered panel of mediators so that former and current employees and volunteers can speak free from threats of legal retribution. That is the just and Islamic thing to do.
The coalition is also calling on CAIR’s civic and community partners, including but not limited to organizations such as: the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), major philanthropic foundations, and members of U.S. Congress, to suspend their partnership with CAIR until there is change in leadership and a full accounting of the longstanding malfeasance at the organization.
The coalition states: “The Muslim community and our allies must speak out against this egregious violation of women’s rights, which is antithetical to the core tenets of both Islam and US law. Justice demands that we come together to help end the victimization, marginalization and abuse of women by organizations like CAIR.”
Any abuse survivors or those discriminated against wanting to learn more about their legal options or to join a support group with other CAIR victims can email email@example.com. For more information see www.WeCAIR.net.
Note to Media:
1.CAIR and Sexual exploitation of women: Several efforts have emerged in recent weeks to document issues of abuse and discrimination at CAIR:
- CAIR Victims Forum (Instagram)
- CSDocuProject (Twitter)
- An Open Letter to CAIR Banquet Speakers
- SEE: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/15/984572867/muslim-civil-rights-leader-accused-ofharassment-misconduct
- Hassan Shibly: Prominent Muslim-American Figure Accused Of Domestic Abuse (Morocco World News)
- CAIR-Florida’s Executive Director Resigns After Wife Sues For Domestic Violence Injunction (WMFE)
2. CAIR and violating workers employment rights:
- 2019, an employment discrimination lawsuit was filed against CAIR-California. The lawsuit alleges official organizational policies that discriminate against certain employees, as well as a pattern of long-tolerated abuse. This case was settled and the CAIR-San Diego executive director is no longer employed there.
- Jan 8 2021 a second employment discrimination lawsuit was filed against CAIRCalifornia alleging gender discrimination.
- In 2017 CAIR National viciously retaliated against staff (mainly women) for attempting to unionize: .https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/labor-group-charges-unionbusting-by-cair SEIU Local 500 wrote: “Disappointed that a civil rights group like #CAIR is trying to stop it’s employees from even voting on having a union”