The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization. CAIR's mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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Outreach campaign protects students in response to inflammatory Op-ed

The letter incites violence against Muslims by attempting to connect Muslim airport employees with an alleged box cutter found on a plane, simply because of the relationship between box cutters and the September 11 attacks. These accusations are baseless and pose a significant threat to employees who are Muslim or appear to be Muslim.

Also in the letter, three Muslim exchange students at the local small town high school are identified as evidence of a Muslim ‘takeover’ of America, giving disgruntled readers specific human targets upon whom to release their aggravation.

Appalled by this letter, Mona contacted CAIR-WA to report her fear of violent retaliation against the identified students.

Recognizing a need for a quick response, CAIR-WA was able to draft a letter notifying the editor of the Union Post of the consequences of irresponsibly publishing incitements to violence against a frequently targeted minority group like the Muslim community. The letter written by CAIR-WA included statistics of the kinds of cases the civil rights department encounters frequently, like violent attacks targeting Muslims, arsons, hate-inspired murders, anti-Muslim vandalism, and anti-Muslim bullying and harassment.

In addition to a response letter, CAIR-WA immediately initiated a successful outreach campaign to local law enforcement and school officials. The student’s high school principal and district’s superintendent expressed their concerns with the letter and assured that steps will be taken to ensure the safety of the students identified in the original op-ed. Local law enforcement was also able to assure steps will be taken to assure the safety of the Muslim students.

Because Mona contacted CAIR-WA immediately after reading the opinion letter to the editor, she was able to identify effective ways to respond and in getting as much help as she can to ensure the Muslim students in her community are not future targets of hate violence. Mona also published a response to the op-ed in the same paper, voicing her concerns and correcting some of the errors in the letter.

If you or someone you know has seen similar incitements to violence or harassment against the Muslim community, please report it immediately to the local police and to CAIR-WA to discuss effective resolutions to the issue. You may contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 206.367.4081.

[1] Name has been changed to protect privacy.