Council on American-Islamic Relations, more donations than in years prior

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To support civil rights work, Chicago’s Council on American-Islamic Relations raised almost $400,000 in contributions.

CAIR’s New York and Chicago chapters hosted hundreds of community and interfaith leaders, public officials and activists, selling out their  annual banquets.

A not-for-profit organization, CAIR said it uses these contributions to fund numerous diverse projects with relevance to the well being of the Muslim-American community and society at large.

When funds are given, donars can specify how they would like it allocated. Choices include: CAIR membership, support of CAIR’S civil rights work, challenges against Islamophobia, support of CAIR’S leadership training programs, support of projects to inform the public about Islam, or Zakat.

On its website,, forms are available to:

  • report discrimination- “anti-Muslim hate crime, or an act of discrimination to be reviewed by CAIR-Chicago’s civil rights department.”
  • report media bias- “inaccurate, news stories and bigoted media coverage.”

A spokesperson at CAIR said the organization is proud of the diversity of guests who attended the banquet- in terms of ethnicity, age, gender, and profession, and even religion.

It is unclear which religions other than Islam were represented at the banquet.

“We were grateful to see every mosque and every Chicago Muslim organization with significant representation,” Lyndsey Stemm, a CAIR member, said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader, spoke at the Chicago banquet and paralleled the struggle of Muslim-Americans fighting for equal rights to that of other minority groups throughout U.S. history.

Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim scholar, offered the keynote address for CAIR’s New York banquet.

According to CAIR’s Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, “it was another successful event that capped another successful year.”

“We are grateful to God first and foremost, and to our community for its broad and unending support,” Rehab said.

“We have a beautiful, powerful community,” Stemm said.

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said, “we are grateful for the tremendous support CAIR continues to receive from the American Muslim community and from all those concerned about the protection of constitutional rights.”

CAIR’s Cleveland chapter, one of 19 nationwide, held a similar banquet featuring a keynote address by Stanford law professor and former head of Amnesty International USA Chip Pitts.

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