CAIR believes Islamophobia in the United States is a current manifestation of the issue of prejudice that has plagued our nation since its earliest days. It is the same old hate, just with a relatively new target. Muslims, like Malcolm X, have been involved in historical U.S. movements combatting prejudice, but only after the 9/11 terror attacks did they become a primary focus for purveyors of hate. With this in mind, CAIR is dedicated to countering prejudice in general.
We recognize that while Muslims are a primary focus of hate today, it will one day pass to another group. We continue to work to ensure social and legal protections for all Americans, inspired by the sacrifices and ongoing struggles of African American Muslims and Christians as well as other minorities who have been marginalized including Japanese Americans, Jews, Catholics and others.
While this site calls attention to the groups and individuals promoting Islamophobia in the United States, we hope users will find the materials developed to counter prejudice can be used to counter hate against other groups as well.
CAIR’s Definition of Islamophobia
Islamophobia is closed-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An Islamophobe is an individual who holds a closed-minded view of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of Muslims.
CAIR’s Vision Regarding Islamophobia in America
We envision a time when being Muslim carries a positive connotation and Islam has an equal place among many faiths in America’s pluralistic society.
Among the indicators that this vision had become a reality would be the following points:
Islam has a 75 percent or higher favorability rating among the general public.
- A person’s Muslim faith is considered an asset in private employment and public service.
- Politicians welcome and seek public support from Americans of the Islamic faith.
- Association with anti-Muslim movements or rhetoric discredits those who put themselves forward seeking to earn the privilege of public service.
Questioning Islam or Muslims is not Islamophobia
We do not label all, or even the majority of those, who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes. Equally, we believe it is not Islamophobic to denounce crimes committed by individual Muslims or those claiming Islam as a motivation for their actions.
When CAIR identifies a group or individual as employing Islamophobia our researchers review the actions and rhetoric of the entity. Based on the results of this review the entity is entered into the American Islamophobe database and assigned to one of three categories:
Inner Core: Groups or individuals whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims and whose work regularly demonstrates Islamophobic themes.
Outer Core: Groups or individuals whose primary purpose does not appear to include promoting prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims but whose work regularly demonstrates or supports Islamophobic themes.
Of Concern: Groups or individuals who have used Islamophobic themes or supported Islamophobia in America, but whose work does not regularly demonstrate or support Islamophobic themes. CAIR monitors but generally does not further report on groups placed in this category.