On eve of 9/11 CAIR holds press conference on Islamophobia

On eve of 9/11 CAIR holds press conference on Islamophobia
CAIR hosted a press conference to discuss the continued marginalisation of Muslims in America.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
11 September, 2021
Robert McCaw, CAIR's government affairs director, discusses the organisation's survey. (screengrab from livestream event)

The Council on American Islamic Relations is commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by trying to raise awareness of the rampant Islamophobia Muslims have experienced over the past two decades as well as their contributions to society.

“Despite Islamophobia, American Muslims believe in the constitution, and they believe in the American promise,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, as he spoke at a livestreamed press conference Friday morning on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington. He then highlighted the different fields that Muslims have contributed to, including art, politics, education and first responders.

“Our community has been resilient, aided by so many allies in our communities at large,” he said.

In light of their strides over the past two decades, he believes that Muslims are in a much stronger position than they were at any other time.

Nevertheless, a survey on American Muslims’ lived experiences that they conducted and shared at the press conference showed that they still see a high level of bias against their community.

Of those surveyed, 60 percent said that they have experienced one or more incident of anti-Muslim bigotry or discrimination since 9/11; 34 percent said that anti-Muslim rhetoric had an impact on their mental health; 63 percent do not believe media accuracy on Muslims has improved since 9/11. While the report, available on the CAIR website, included a number of detailed questions about Muslim marginalisation, it also included areas of resiliency in the community.

The conference concluded with the testimony of a local Muslim man whose family has been harassed by their neighbour for the past several month due to their faith. Months of vandalism eventually escalated this week to a verbal assault on the family’s daughter. His statements showed that while many Muslims in America have made great strides, many also remain marginalised.