Celebrating CAIR's 25th Anniversary

Celebrate 25 Years with a $250 Donation Today

Celebrating CAIR's 25th Anniversary image

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Celebrate 25 Years with a $250 Donation Today

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Assalamu Alaikum,

It is an honor to celebrate our 25th Anniversary with you. This year's Gala theme, “Courage Under Fire,exemplifies the many instances our team has put themselves on the line in order to protect and empower our community- for a quarter of a century!

Alhamdulillah, over the last 25 years, what began as a volunteer effort led by a group of community activists has grown into the nation’s largest American Muslim civil rights organization.

In 1994, CAIR opened its first office in Washington, D.C. Soon after, its California chapter (CAIR-CA) was established through the opening of the San Francisco Bay Area office (CAIR-SFBA).

Among the organization’s earliest cases was challenging Nike on a shoe design which resembled the word Allah in Arabic script. Nike eventually apologized to Muslims worldwide, recalled the shoes, and made affirmative efforts to repair its relationship with the Muslim community, including constructing a basketball court for Granada Islamic School in Santa Clara. Shortly thereafter, CAIR opened its Southern California office, known today as CAIR Grater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA).

In 2001, after the tragic September 11 terror attacks, CAIR and other national American Muslim organizations coordinated a statement of condemnation and published a full-page advertisement condemning the attacks in the Washington Post. The years followed were marked by immense need and rapid growth.

Overnight, CAIR was called to support the American Muslim community as it reeled from hate crimes and increased law enforcement surveillance and targeting. While there were just eight CAIR offices in 2000, that number quickly grew to nearly 30. In California, CAIR opened additional offices in the Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) and San Diego (CAIR-SD).

The past 10 years have been full of innovative new programs, legal battles, and civic engagement efforts. In 2003, CAIR held its first Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) at the California State Capitol in Sacramento with 30 Muslim high school students from across the state participating in a political immersion and leadership-building retreat focusing on the importance of community organizing. This program eventually inspired the Muslim Gamechangers Network (MGN), a three-month social justice training program for high school students equips participants with the tools to critically understand their world, effectively challenge injustice, and build legacies of positive change in their communities.

In 2011, CAIR-SFBA filed its first lawsuits. The first challenged Abercrombie & Fitch’s discriminatory hiring practices, and the second sought relief against the FBI for placing a warrantless GPS tracking device on a local Muslim’s car. From its first lawyers and lawsuits, CAIR-SFBA’s legal team has grown to half a dozen attorneys, who today coordinate national campaigns, counsel class action lawsuits, and provide free civil rights and immigration legal services.

What began as a small effort to bring a few dozen attendees to the Capitol to meet with their legislators in 2012, has grown into a full-fledged celebration of civic engagement. Each year, CAIR-SFBA leads hundreds of local Muslims to attend Muslim Day at the Capitol (MDAC), in addition to organizing dozens to meet with their elected officials in-district, and hundreds more to call and email them. Collectively, these efforts have contributed to the increased visibility of Muslims running for office and the success of ground-breaking legislative proposals across the region.

As we reflect on the many accomplishments of the last 25 years, we renew our commitment to be courageous despite the obstacles that we face. We are committed to fight against bigoted, anti-immigrant policies to protect civil liberties, build coalitions, and develop the next generation of activists and leaders through civic engagement and outreach.

With your support, we will continue our work to preserve the rights and freedoms of all Americans, Insha’Allah.

Sincerely,

Musaab Attaras

CAIR-SFBA President