Council on American-Islamic Relations
Executive Director and Co-founder
Nihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest non-profit Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. He is featured in The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center's "500 Most Influential Muslims 2009." Arabian Business magazine ranked Mr. Awad among 100 of the "World's Most Influential Arabs" for 2010
He has been frequently interviewed on national and international media such as CNN, BBC World Service, PBS, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America and Al-Jazeera. CAIR news releases are disseminated to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide on a daily basis.
In 1997, Mr. Awad served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. Mr. Awad has also personally met with Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as former Secretaries of State to discuss the needs of Muslim community. Law enforcement agencies, organizations and Fortune 500 companies have benefited from CAIR educational seminars on Islamic traditions and culture. Mr. Awad is a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program” which welcomes foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States. He is a member of the United States Institute of Peace’s Advisory Committee on US-Muslim Relations and currently enjoys the position of U.S. Representative of the Vatican-affiliated International Committee on Muslim-Christian (Catholic) Dialogue.
Mr. Awad has met with numerous current and former heads of state of many countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Iran, Malaysia, and Pakistan. He has met with high-ranking ministers from over 20 foreign nations. He has also spoken at prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. He was also a featured speaker at the 2002 Reuters Forum on global cooperation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Mr. Awad spearheaded the “Not in the Name of Islam” anti-terrorism fatwa (religious ruling) issued by the Fiqh Council of North America and endorsed by the 300 largest mosques and Islamic centers in the United States, a crucial milestone in the history of the American Muslim community. In 2004 he was named one of National Journal’s more than 100 Most Influential People in the US, whose ideas will help shape the debate over public policy issues for the next decade.
“Muslim-Americans in Mainstream America,” published in the Feb/Mar. 2000 edition of “The Link” magazine.