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HomeFact CheckWas CAIR Founded After 9/11 in Response to Muslim Discrimination?

Was CAIR Founded After 9/11 in Response to Muslim Discrimination?

Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., represents Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., represents Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., represents Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On March 23, 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. was the featured speaker at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The 4th Annual Valley Banquet was held at the Hilton Woodland Hills in California.

Rep. Omar made the following remarks, which made national headlines and the rounds on social media:

CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties


CAIR was founded after 9/11 in response to Muslim discrimination.

There are two elements that need to be examined in this claim review, the first being the date and second the reasoning behind the founding of the organization.

As it relates to the timeline, CAIR was founded in June 1994. The first case the group took on was in 1995, and involved the alleged discrimination of a Muslim employee who was denied the right to wear the hijab at work.

As it relates to the reasoning, some have claimed the group was at least in part founded in response to the action film True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The 1994 action film was condemned by Muslim groups for stereotyping Arabs as Villains.

It was released in July, a month after the official founding of CAIR.

The United Arab Emirates and others have accused CAIR of being an Islamist supremacist group pursuing an Islamist agenda, and claimed the group is connected to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In documents obtained by The Investigative Project as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made a series of allegations surrounding CAIR.

  1. CAIR was founded by two members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s now-defunct “Palestine Committee” (PALCOM).
  2. The Palestine Committee (PALCOM) was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas’ political and financial agenda in the United States.
  3. Nihad Awad, who currently serves as executive director for CAIR, was one of those former committee members and a close associate of Hamas leader Moussa abu Marzook.

The case, which came to be known as the Holy Land Foundation, was ultimately dropped by the Obama Administration.

In early 2007, an article in The New York Times claimed “more than one [U.S. government official] described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association.”

Yet, Fox News reported in 2009 that the FBI severed all formal outreach with CAIR, a direct result of their concern about CAIR’s ties to Hamas.

Nevertheless, the primary element of this claim is verifiably false and the supporting details surrounding the claim are at best in doubt.

False icon for fact check claim review rating

This rating indicates the primary claim reviewed is verifiably false, and peripheral or supporting relevant details can not be confirmed.

Learn more about the rating system used for PPD FactCheck here.


  1. The North American Muslim resource guide: Muslim community life in the United States and Canada. Mohamed Nimer, Taylor & Francis, 2002.
  2. Muslim minorities in the West: visible and invisible. Hadda, Yazbeck, and Smith, Jane I. p. 35, Rowman Altamira, 2002
  3. Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. Shaheen, Jack. 2001
  4. United States Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the Immigration Court, p. 10. Dallas, Texas, 2010.
  5. Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S.,The New York Times. March 14, 2007.
  6. FBI Cuts Ties With CAIR Following Terror Financing Trial Archived November 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, January 30, 2009.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • According to the defenders of the Muslim faith, there should have been no problem with a Muslim woman being elected to Congress. Instead, we watch as the Democratic party circles the wagons around a vocal Jew-hater. I doubt that attitude developed after being sworn-in, so her voters were probably aware of it. Interesting. times, indeed. A district with a majority of voters supporting a vocal Jew-hater. In America. Disturbing, to say the least.

  • Judeo Christian is Western Roots. Islam is satanic verses.

    • Islam is actually almost word for word the old testament. You could not be more wrong.

      • Not really…
        The only thing being considered directly as God’s words in the Old Testament are the 10 Commandments.
        All Coran is supposed to be direct words from Allah, including when it says to kill all infidels unless the convert or that jihad is mandatory and being martyred when doing jihad the only way to be sure to go to heaven, or when it says that stealing (from infidels) is legal… It’s a bit different than Moses publishing very harsh religious laws in the Leviticus on his own interpretations of the 10 Commands.
        Coran also deals with the New Testament reproducing the heretical view of gnostics.
        You must have fully red both Bible and Coran to get these are not the same AT ALL. Coran actually is the Hubal cult under disguise with borrowing to Judaism and Christianity to lure Jews and Christians into following a cult absolutely against their values…

    • dude i was an anti-islamist too but now i have memorised the whole quran like 100 million others. speaking of which holy book is more “violent”, apparently its the ((jewish book)) but i have no problem with them as eveyr other relgions or no religions are false and stupid anyways. america has more islamic roots than satanic judeo chritsian roots lmao. ever read old testament? no justice, full of misoginy and violence, explicit orders to kill innocent people and babies and donkeys. women are explcilty called inferior to men in new testament. its 21st century and we still havnt banned the bible, shame.

  • I thought CAIR was created in October 1993 in philadelphia

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