New chair wants to â€˜partnerâ€™ with administration on defending civil rights, improving Americaâ€™s image
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/3/09) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, announced today that it has elected North Carolina State Senator Larry Shaw as its new board chairman.
CAIRâ€™s new chairman said he looks forward to â€œpartneringâ€ with the Obama administration to protect civil liberties and to help improve Americaâ€™s international image.
Shaw is a long-standing member of the North Carolina Senate General Assembly and a former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives General Assembly. He also serves as the chairman of the Transportation Committee and vice-chairman of the Finance Committee. Shaw was the countryâ€™s highest-ranking Muslim elected official before the election of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in 2006. Prior to becoming a public official, Shaw gained extensive business experience in the food service industry. He has served on CAIRâ€™s national board for three years.
In September of 2003, the six-term legislator was elected as vice-chairman of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus of the stateâ€™s general assembly.
â€œThis is a critical time in our nationâ€™s history, a time that requires change and renewal,â€ said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. â€œI welcome Senator Shaw as CAIRâ€™s new chairman and believe he will be a key player in broadening the dialogue on issues of importance to our nation, from civil rights to political participation and interfaith relations.â€
In a statement, Sen. Shaw said:
â€œCAIR exists to uphold the right to liberty that Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. We will challenge any attempts to erode constitutionally-protected liberties. We will also continue to work to ensure that American Muslims play a positive and productive role in our society.
â€œIn carrying out our mission of promoting justice and mutual understanding, we honor and will continue to learn from groups who have faced similar challenges, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and many others.
â€œCAIR embraces the cultural and religious pluralism that is a hallmark of America and repudiates any misuse of Islam to falsely justify violence or intolerance. â€œWe look forward to partnering with the Obama administration to help defend civil liberties and to project to the world the best of our nationâ€™s universal, constitutional and pluralistic values of freedom and justice.â€
CAIR, Americaâ€™s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission20is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.