Civil Rights Report 2017: Background

From 1995 to 2009, CAIR published an annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States. This report is the successor to those documents.

CAIR has invested significant resources in improving our human resources, case intake and investigation, case management, and classification processes in the intervening years. We also decided to exclude bias directed at CAIR from this report so it more accurately reflects the experience of the community and not an institution.

The changes since 2009 come in four primary groupings:

  1. Expanded legal staff: Around 2009, CAIR made a strategic decision to expand our legal staff nationwide. It now has more than 35 attorneys on staff across the United States. The inclusion of more attorneys in the data gathering process has provided CAIR with a greatly expanded capacity to conduct independent investigations of the complaints we receive. 
  2. Completely revised case classification system: To better discuss the landscape of issues the Muslim American community faces, the National office solicited input from scholars, experts, and CAIR stakeholders on how to improve and refine our case classifications. Their suggestions were incorporated to develop a more robust classification system.
  3. Decentralized case management: A new database launched at the end of 2014 has enabled CAIR to chart incidents of discrimination as they occur throughout the country, while simultaneously securing and maintaining the privacy of those who contact CAIR for assistance. Each chapter maintains its own case management system to which no other CAIR affiliate has access.
  4. Decision to exclude bias sent directly to CAIR: As part of its new system, the National office has chosen to exclude hate mail and threats received at its offices. Since 2009, and with the expansion of social media, CAIR’s online presence has markedly increased. With that increase, those seeking to express their anti-Muslim sentiment and beliefs have targeted CAIR through Twitter, Facebook, and other modes of communication.  As such, inclusion of anti-Muslim hate mail received at our offices in this report would have had a substantial and dramatic effect on the total number of incidents occurring in Washington, D.C. We do not believe that this would have been the most accurate way to demonstrate the experience of American Muslims in this country.