2018 Civil Rights Report: Introduction

Freedom of religion is a foundational ideal of our nation. Americans who are Muslim, like all Americans, possess the right to practice their faith according to their sincerely-held religious beliefs. Like any person in America, irrespective of religion or race, American Muslims deserve to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.

Driven to uphold our nation’s commitment to this core value of religious freedom, CAIR provides free legal and advocacy services to any person who has been a target of religious discrimination and bias. We employ more than 30 staff attorneys and have offices in 25 states. CAIR’s legal team is tasked to assist every client in obtaining a fair and just resolution to their case, free of charge.

While CAIR’s focus is to win justice for each client, processing these cases provides us with a wealth of data. This report assembles this data on an annual basis to offer a comprehensive reflection of the civil rights implications of anti-Muslim bias in the United States.

As the only report of its kind, providing both hard numbers and real stories of impact on the lives of American Muslims, it also functions as a benchmark of the status of American Muslim civil rights over time. As such, the information it provides serves as a resource for the community, allied organizations, media professionals, and researchers.

CAIR is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith. We do so with gratitude for the protections already established through the long, and often ugly, struggles of other targeted communities.

As we work to help our clients and empower American Muslims, our broader goal is to set legal precedent, pass laws, and shape a society which guarantee that the promise of America remains true for our future generations. We envision a nation in which all Americans enjoy their fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness


The primary author of this report is Zainab Arain of CAIR’s Research and Advocacy Department. Many thanks to CAIR national staff, namely Arsalan Bukhari for his strategic insights and Gadeir Abbas and Robert McCaw for their contributions to the issue-centered sections of the report. CAIR is also deeply grateful to Dr. John Robbins (CAIR-Mass.) for his invaluable edits.

This report would not be possible without the hard work of the following CAIR civil rights staff: Khaula Hadeed (Ala.), Layla Ikram (Ariz.), Maureen Dadabhoy (Los Angeles, Calif.), Saad Sweilem (Sacramento, Calif.), Susanne Arani (San Diego, Calif.), Ammad Rafiqi (San Francisco, Calif.), Thania Clevenger (Fla.), Edward Mitchell (Ga.), Barbara Dougan (Mass.), Foadeh Yahya (Mich.), Jack Cooper (National), Jay Rehman (N.J.), Albert Cahn (N.Y.), Sana Hassan (Cincinnati, Ohio), Julia Shearson (Cleveland, Ohio), Romin Iqbal (Columbus, Ohio), Veronica Laizure (Okla.), Zohra Lasania (Pittsburgh, Penn.), Nikiya Natale (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas), Arsalan Safiullah (Houston, Texas), and Jasmin Samy (Wa.).