What is CAIR?
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group. Established in 1994 as a non-profit, grassroots civil rights organization, CAIR is dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public. In offering that perspective, CAIR seeks to empower the Muslim community in America through political and social activism.
The national headquarters is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and is assisted by 32 regional offices in the United States and Canada – including CAIR-Connecticut, based in Hartford.
CAIR’s vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.
CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. CAIR provides an Islamic voice by:
- Promoting Civil Rights: CAIR counsels, mediates and advocates on behalf of Muslims who have experienced religious discrimination or hate crimes.
- Government Affairs: CAIR helps elected officials understand policy issues related to Islam and Muslims.
- Communications: CAIR works with local and national news media to ensure an accurate image of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public.
CAIR-Connecticut gives a voice to the state’s more than 150,000 Muslims, including 35,000 in Central Connecticut. Formed in 2004, CAIR-Connecticut is based in Hartford, with an office in New London. To better serve the Muslim community – and all Connecticut – more offices are expected to open throughout the state.
CAIR-Connecticut helps fulfill the CAIR mission by helping Connecticut Muslims become active, participating members of society by:
- Educating the public and public officials on important Muslim values such as emphasis on strong families, improving neighborhoods and protecting Connecticut’s great quality of life. CAIR-CT organizes conferences and training seminars for government and law enforcement agencies, media professionals and the academic community to highlight relevant Islamic practices and offer suggestions for religious accommodation. CAIR also provides sensitivity and diversity training workshops to employers, educators and organizations.
- Advocating and mediating on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes. CAIR-CT works to protect and defend the constitutional rights of American Muslims, thereby supporting the rights of all Americans.
- Monitoring legislation and government activities and working with public officials to find common ground on public policy issues. Because of these positive relationships, policymakers turn to CAIR-CT when they need insight on issues affecting the Muslim community.
- Working with the local and national media to ensure an accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the media. CAIR- CT challenges negative stereotypes in the media while also providing positive feedback to reporters who provide sensitive, accurate representations of Islam and Muslims.