A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate CAIR Right-Center biased based on conservative religious views (pseudoscience) that offset their left leaning civil rights positions. We also rate them Questionable based on use of poor or lack of sourcing, questionable funding from governments, and allegations of antisemitism and possible connections to terrorist organizations, though unproven.
Reasoning: Poor Sourcing, Questionable Funding, Pseudoscience
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in June 1994 by Nihad Awad, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. It is headquartered on in Washington, D.C., with regional offices nationwide. According to their about page “CAIR’s vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.” CAIR also lists their 10 core principles that you can read here.
Critics of CAIR, such as the United Arab Emirates, have accused it of pursuing an Islamist agenda and have claimed that the group is connected to Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, claims which CAIR has rejected and described as an Islamophobic smear campaign.
Funded by / Ownership
Until 2011, CAIR was a non-profit, however in 2011 they lost its nonprofit status. According to research by Politico “A CAIR attorney initially told POLITICO that its appearance on the IRS list referred to a defunct arm of the nonprofit, and that CAIR and CAIR foundation were unaffected — a claim that a review of the IRS documents did not support.” In 2013, CAIR was reinstated as a non-profit charity and remains so today. CAIR is funded through donations from individuals as well as grants from such organizations as: Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ($30,000 since 2008) and the Tides Foundation ($5,000 since 2002). According to the right leaning Influence Watch, “In 2013, it was revealed that from approximately 2007 to 2012, CAIR, Inc., transferred $1.08 million to the CAIR Foundation. CAIR, Inc., had disclosed in 2005 that it received a total of $1.2 million from six contributors in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.” Further, CAIR has received $405,000 from the government of Qatar.
Analysis / Bias
In review, CAIR is primarily an Islamic civil rights advocacy group, however they also produce Op-Eds that are published on their website. The Op-Ed’s utilize moderate loaded language in headlines such as this: Government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Approach Continues to Single Out Muslims. This article is strongly sourced to credible media outlets such as Reason, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, UK Parliament, DefenseOne, and Georgetown University. However, they also link to the conspiracy website Global Research. In another Op-Ed titled, CAIR: Columnist’s Anti-Islam Diatribe Ignores Words of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad there isn’t a single source listed with the exception of a quotes excerpts from the Quran.
CAIR has faced numerous allegations and criticisms over its history. In 2014, CAIR was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, due to alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR responded by calling the move “shocking and bizarre,” and In January 2015, CAIR said it would seek to appeal the designation in the UAE. Further, the USA has not designated them as a terrorist organization.
Several academics and conservative leaning politicians have accused CAIR of being a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in the United States. CAIR has rejected such associations as a smear campaign.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said CAIR is “undermined by its anti-Israel agenda [which]… dates back to its founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas affiliated anti-Semitic propaganda organization.”
Lastly, some Muslims have claimed that CAIR holds conservative views of women, suggesting they wear a veil.
CAIR has also received positive praise for its advocacy work, civil rights work, and for its involvement in the communities it serves. Further, CAIR works with the FBI as an ally in counter-terrorism operations.
In general, CAIR promotes a left leaning view regarding civil rights, however, they hold stronger right leaning views when it comes to secularism; instead advocating for conservative religious doctrine. This reliance on religious doctrine causes CAIR to have mixed views on topics such as evolution, where some accept Darwin’s theory (consensus of science) and others don’t.
Overall, we rate CAIR Right-Center biased based on conservative religious views (pseudoscience) that offset their left leaning civil rights positions. We also rate them Questionable based on use of poor or lack of sourcing, questionable funding from governments, and allegations of antisemitism and possible connections to terrorist organizations, though unproven. (D. Van Zandt 1/26/2019)
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