(SEATTLE, WA, 2/20/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Washington (CAIR-WA) joined CAIR National in calling on Congress to investigate why the federal government has given more than 1,400 private companies access to the terrorist watchlist.

CAIR: Feds Share Terrorist Watchlist with 1,400 Private Groups (AP): https://apnews.com/ae4779a057c04947a332fce64f6cf345

The federal government’s disclosure comes in response to a court order obtained by CAIR National in its legal challenge to the watchlisting system (El Hady v. Kable). After years of denying that the watchlist is available to private companies, the government’s disclosure raises critical questions about how the watchlist is shared and what recipients of watchlist information — which include hospitals and universities, among other private entities — do with that access.

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This disclosure only supports CAIR-WA’s claim that the watchlist is mismanaged and ineffective, allegations raised in a separate CAIR-WA lawsuit that filed in August 2018: http://cairwa.org/cair-wa-joins-nationwide-lawsuit-challenging-federal-government-s-watchlist-program

MEDIA ADVISORY:Whether this disclosure complies with the federal court’s order to provide comprehensive information about private sector dissemination is subject to a pending legal dispute, which will be heard by a federal judge this Friday in Alexandria, Va. 10 a.m., Judge Anderson’s Chambers, Eastern District of Virginia, 401 Courthouse Sq., Alexandria, VA 22314

For years, CAIR has represented innocent Muslims — people who have not been charged, arrested, or convicted of a violent offense — who have been targeted by the watchlisting system. Some have lost jobs, been separated from their families, and all have been stigmatized by being treated as a “terrorist” by their own government.

“The government’s watchlisting system is not only broken it is discriminatory and dangerous,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Masih Fouladi. “The watchlist has unfairly targeted religious leaders and communities from Muslim majority countries. We call on congressional leadership to investigate the private sector dissemination of watchlisting information that stigmatizes innocent people.”.

“We have suspected all along that the FBI was offering private entities access to the watchlist” said CAIR-WA Civil Rights Attorney Amanda Misasi “People added to the watchlist are done so without due process, providing the watchlist to private entities further extends the damaging consequences of the watchlist on the lives of too many American Muslims.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

CAIR-WA Media & Outreach Director, Sarah sstuteville@cair.com , 206-403-3931