Press Release: CAIR Supports NY City Council Security Grant Program to Protect Muslim, Jewish and Other Community Institutions

Press Release:


CAIR Supports NY City Council Security Grant Program to Protect Muslim, Jewish and Other Community Institutions

(NEW YORK, N.Y., 3/20/17) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today announced its support for a proposed New York City Council security grant program that would allocate $25 million to protect to help protect Muslim, Jewish and other nonprofit institutions, safeguarding those community centers and cultural institutions at the greatest risk of attack.

Official statistics show a 54 percent uptick in hate crimes New York City in 2016; however, reports to CAIR-NY indicate a much greater increase in such incidents targeting the Muslim community. CAIR-NY officials say they continue to see evidence of systemic under-reporting of anti-Muslim attacks.

"Given the unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, we expect Muslim community centers and mosques will be among those receiving much-needed funding under this program," said CAIR-NY’s Board President Zead Ramadan.

"New York's Muslim and Jewish communities have both seen a disturbing rise in violence, and we expect that this funding will help both faith communities keep their members safe," CAIR-NY's Legal Director Albert Cahn.

SEE: Protecting New York's Communities from Hate Crimes    

A soon-to-be-published CAIR report on Islamophobia in America is expected to show that 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias.

Yesterday, CAIR’s Iowa chapter called for a hate crime investigation of an anti-Muslim message left at a mosque in that state.

Video: CAIR-Iowa Calls for Hate Crime Probe of Trump Supporter's Anti-Muslim Message Left at Mosque

CAIR’s Arizona chapter recently called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the desecration of copies of the Quran, Islam’s holy text, by an intruder at a Tucson mosque.

Video: CAIR Calls for Hate Crime Probe of Quran Desecration at Tucson Mosque  

The Texas office of CAIR also welcomed an arrest of a man suspected of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Victoria in Victoria, Texas, in January.

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Arrest in Arson Attack on Texas Mosque  

CAIR is asking American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety." The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website:  

CAIR’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election.

Muslim community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: 

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.   

-END -

Muslims are the least popular religious group in the U.S. They’re disliked even more than atheists.

Last Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released the results of a new survey showing that American attitudes toward Muslims had improved in the past few years. While respondents to a 2014 survey gave Muslims an average rating of 40 on a 100-point “feeling thermometer” — a scale measuring favorability toward different groups — that number had climbed to 48 by last month. Headlines noted the shift, which many observers found surprising given recent debates about terrorism and President Trump’s order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.

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How 9/11 Prepared Muslims for Trump

In the days and weeks after 9/11, Debbie Almontaser was escorted to work by a neighbor, as were many Muslim-Americans who feared for their safety.

In those early days, some Muslim women feared wearing the hijab when they went outside. A Sikh man was killed in Mesa, Arizona, days after 9/11 by a man who thought he was Muslim. Others felt they were constantly suspect, viewed with suspicion by friends and neighbors they had known for years.



We're Still Here

The inauguration we’ve all been dreading is over and guess what?  We’re still here.  We know you’re afraid, we know the unbearable uncertainty you feel, but in the face of fear, we’re seeing a community united by courage.  Across this state, New Yorkers of every color, faith, gender, age, and ethnicity are reminding ourselves of our own power.  Time and again, the American people have channeled our outrage into the enduring work of making a better, freer, and fairer nation.

We at CAIR-NY stand ready to carry on this proud tradition, working to secure a society that protects the rights of all people. Today, President Trump took an oath to protect and defend the constitution.  He assumed responsibility to safeguard religious freedom, freedom of press, and the rights of all Americans.  Today, we take our own keep him to that promise.

We’re ready to take on this fight, but we can’t stand alone.  Although we’re proud to be part of the nationwide CAIR network, each chapter is responsible for raising its own funds, and we rely on your contributions for our continued commitment to civil rights. Our voice is louder when the community supports our work, so please consider making a secure donation in President Trump's honor today.

A Non-Muslim Guide to Standing up to Islamophobia

You have most likely heard some type of comments regarding Muslims and Islam. Whether you know a Muslim or not, felt compelled to respond, but simply did not know what to say, you are not alone. I applaud you for taking the opportunity to find out how you can help fight Islamophobia and encourage peace in the world. This guide will help you to be an ally to the Islamic community and the basic principles can apply to the defense of all groups and help to eradicate stereotypes and discrimination.

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Muslim group sent out post-election polling robocalls asking religious affiliation, prompting fears of Muslim surveillance

Robocalls administered by a Muslim group asking Muslim-Americans about their religious affiliation caused alarm among recipients fearful of a surveillance program under a Trump administration.

The ominous calls went out earlier this week and were administered by Emerge USA, a nonprofit advocacy group for Muslims, South Asian and Arab Americans who outsourced a company to conduct post-election polling, one of the call’s recipients told the Daily News after confirming it with his mosque leader.

Emerge USA reportedly did not give public notice about the robocalls and the calls did not identify which group administered them.

“If they had said, ‘Hey, this is where it’s coming [from],’ it would have saved us being concerned about it,” a 27-year-old Muslim-American from the Philadelphia area who didn’t want to be identified by name told the Daily News.

“There’s just a lot of talk about surveillance of Muslims within workplaces and surveillance of mosques,” he said, after saying Tuesday that he personally knew 5 or 6 fellow Muslim-Americans in the Philadelphia area who received the calls. Donald Trump has proposed the surveillance of Muslim-Americans as a way of combating homegrown terrorism, a policy civil liberties advocates blasted as a violation of their constitutional rights.

Concerned Muslim-Americans posted to social media about the bizarre calls, which asked them to press “yes” if they were Muslim and “no” if they were not. Some recipients said the call would abruptly hang up no matter their response to the question.

CAIR has received reports of American Muslims receiving robocalls asking if they "identify" as Muslim. No other questions are asked.


Emerge USA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The advocacy group has chapters in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas but it’s unclear whether the calls were sent out in all of these locations.

The calls were sent out amid numerous reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes following Election Day.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s tracking, more than 700 hate crimes have been reported since Trump’s stunning election win, roughly 50 of which have been anti-Muslim.

“I think given that environment, it made us worry,” the call recipient said.

We must show solidarity with Muslim-Americans in face of Trump administration fear-mongering

I am a Jew. But starting today, in the eyes of the Trump Administration, I want to be seen as a Muslim.

There are too many people inside the Trump transition team talking about registering Muslims or even interning them in camps — so starting today, I am wearing a yellow Islamic crescent and star on my jacket, and urging all Americans to do the same, until this racist nonsense is banished from our public discourse.

There have been too many attacks on Muslims already, too many immigrant children coming home from school crying because a bully told them they'll be deported after Jan. 20, too many Trump supporters not seeing that there’s a vast chasm between Islam and terrorism committed in the name of a perverted version of Islam.

As a Jew, I am particularly sensitive to efforts by government to divide us along ethnic or racial lines. The Germans did that in the 1930s with disastrous results. We did it to Japanese-Americans during World War II, which remains a stain on our national conscience. And the Trump campaign certainly did it during the election season with heightened rhetoric.

Indeed, Trump's military adviser Gen. Michael Flynn tweeted earlier this year that "fear of Muslims is RATIONAL." (Flynn has been appointed to the cabinet, but it's unclear if that rhetoric got him the job.)

Of course, when the Nazis infamously made Jews wear yellow stars in German-occupied territories, thousands of righteous Gentiles stood up to Hitler by protecting Jews. There's a legend that King Christian of Denmark wore a yellow star in solidarity with Jews. OK, that story isn't true, but it doesn't mean we can't be inspired by it.

In that spirit, it is time for all of us to stand up to those who would oppress Muslim-Americans. That's why on Friday morning, I went to a craft store near my Brooklyn home, bought some yellow felt, and crafted an Islamic crescent and star, modeled after the "Jude" stars of the Nazi era. It's not perfect, but it makes the Gandhian point, "I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew — and so are all of you."

It's unclear whether President Trump will follow through on campaign trail chatter about requiring Muslims to register with the government. But this week, one of his advisers told Reuters about an internal debate within the Trump transition team about a proposal for a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries. A day later, a key Trump surrogate spoke glowingly of internment camps.

“We did it during World War II with the Japanese,” said Carl Higbie, who, until this week, was the spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC.

He didn't back down from the legality of the idea when challenged by host Megyn Kelly.

“I’m not proposing that at all,” Higbie said. “But I’m just saying there is precedent for it.”

There's also precedent for killing millions of Native Americans and dumping PCBs into the Hudson River, but that doesn't mean anyone should be talking so calmly about bringing either back.

I am not prejudging President-elect Trump. He may disavow the overheated language that is designed to divide us and make us look upon our Muslim neighbors in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn or Dearborn, Mich. with suspicion.

But starting today, if Americans do indeed look askance at their Muslim countrymen and women, they can start looking askance at me, too.

Sure, I know what the great Arlo Guthrie once sang in “Alice’s Restaurant” that "If one person does (something) ... they may think he's really sick." But in the same epic song, he went on to say, that if 50 people do something, "they may think it's a movement."

And that's what this is. You could merely sign the #RegisterMeFirst petition on Or you can do like I did: get to a craft store (not Hobby Lobby, though!) and make yourself a yellow crescent. Maybe we can end this Trumpian madness before someone in the U.S. government starts issuing real ones.



A promise to our Muslim neighbors.

By Albert Fox Cahn, Esq.
CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation

Yesterday, CAIR-NY gave a civil rights training at NYU, when a young woman raised her hand to describe a conversation with Rep. Mike Honda about his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. When she asked the Congressman if Muslim internment camps would be possible today, he said “yes.” Her voice shaking, she asked if we thought it was possible. It floored me, and for a moment I had no idea what to say. Then I looked out the windows behind her, and I saw the protest unfolding in Washington Square. Thousands of New Yorkers, coming together to stand against Donald Trump's unconstitutional campaign promises.

My response was this: “No, that will never happen. The reason isn’t found in the wording of our Constitution or the wisdom of our founders. It won’t happen because the people of this city, this state, and this flawed country will never let it happen. In the wake of Pearl Harbor there were no protests, there was no dissent, there was no solidarity with our Japanese neighbors. Today, there is an army of lawyers and activists primed to fight this presidency every step of the way. Khizir Khan famously asked Donald Trump if he had ever read the Constitution. I promise you, we and other civil libertarians will teach him what it means.”

CAIR-NY will do everything I can to uphold that promise, and I know that there are many others toiling away to do the same. I ask those of you who aren’t in a position to join this work directly, please donate to the groups who will, such as CAIR-NY ( Please add your voices to the chorus of Americans who say that our nation and our values are more resilient than any one man, even a President.

Volunteer Muslim Clinic Works to Help Latino and Latina Neighbors.

Originally published on
Muhammad Safwatullah
Manager, Al-Shifa health clinic

MUSCOY, Calif. ― When you drive up to the Al-Shifa Free Health Clinic, there will only be a few cars outside. But when you walk in, you’ll see a full waiting room. Why? Because many of our clients literally walk in.

Open since 2000, our clinic is on the outskirts of the city of San Bernardino, in a largely Latino area called Muscoy. Nearly a third of all residents live below the poverty line, and many of them do not have cars or access to other transportation. Without a clinic like ours close by, checkups would not happen and chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease would be left untreated.

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Cops release video of man suspected of setting Muslim tourist’s blouse on fire in midtown

MIDTOWN, Manhattan — The NYPD released footage of a man who they believe lit a Muslim tourist's blouse on fire in front of a luxury clothing store on Fifth Avenue last Saturday.

The 35-year-old victim, dressed in a traditional Muslim garb, was outside Valentino in midtown just before 9 p.m. when she says felt something warm on her left arm and noticed her blouse was on fire, police said.

She patted out the fire and saw a man standing next to her with a lighter in his hand, according to police.

The individual then walked away east on East 54th Street. Surveillance video shows the alleged attacker in a black tank top and dark-colored jeans.

The victim declined medical attention.

The NYPD's Hate Crime and Task Force is investigating.

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) condemned attack on the woman in the latest in a series of attacks on Muslims and urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to add resources for the investigation of hate crimes.

CAIR announced Tuesday a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the assault.

"It is important that the perpetrators of these crimes be apprehended and their motives be established," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "The spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and their institutions is the inevitable result of the ongoing mainstreaming of Islamophobia we are witnessing in our society."

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).