CAIR Calls on FBI to Cease Dissemination of Government Watchlist to Animal Shelters, Private Investigators, Megachurch, Others


WASHINGTON, March 11, 2019 — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the FBI to immediately cease providing more than 1,400 private entities, including animal shelters, private investigators and a Midwestern megachurch, access to the terrorist watchlist.  

In documents unsealed after a court hearing in Virginia on Friday, CAIR attorneys expressed concern about the wide dissemination of the watchlist. “Defendants [the federal government] share their list with anyone or anything that asks,” CAIR’s attorneys wrote in their legal briefs.

A judge in the case recently ordered the government to let CAIR’s attorneys see the list of private entities that had access to the watchlist, but they were not allowed to take notes or make copies of that list.

Rights Group CAIR: Terror Watchlist Shared with Animal Shelters

“The FBI must immediately cease providing more than 1,400 private entities access to the watchlist,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “The FBI’s reckless dissemination of the watchlist is having an incalculable negative toll on the lives of law-abiding Americans.”

McCaw said the revelations resulted from a court order obtained by CAIR in its legal challenge to the watchlisting system (El Hady v. Kable). 

SEE: CAIR Applauds Federal Judge’s Decision Ordering Federal Government to Fully Disclose What Private Groups Have Access to the Watchlist 

“The government illegally created and shared this watchlist, which has harmed many innocent Americans, without due process or any kind of public scrutiny,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

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.

SEE: Detroit Mother Calls Out Feds for Breaking Up Family, Files Lawsuit

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.

CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-742-6420,, CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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