Dispute Over CAIR Membership Numbers


In an article highly critical of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Washington Times reported that:

Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to tax documents obtained by The Washington Times. The number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to fewer than 1,700 in 2006…The organization instead is relying on about two dozen donors a year to contribute the majority of the money for CAIR’s budget, which reached nearly $3 million last year.

In response, the CAIR website reprinted a letter which contested the article’s claims stating that

… those figures were calculated based on different criteria They do not include the thousands of people of all faiths who became CAIR members through several free or low-cost membership drives. For example, between 2002 and 2006, more than 25,000 people became active members for $10 or less during those drives..

CAIR also pointed to an increasing “donor base”, annual budget, and event attendance as well as the opening of locally-funded chapters and offices as facts in contradiction to the Washington Times article.

Evaluating the competing claims is not possible because the Times article did not specify whether or not the CAIR membership figures were actually reported in the tax documents or if the newspaper relied upon an extrapolation from donor revenues.

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