Arab News reported that Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), attended a meeting yesterday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with the secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) where they discussed cooperation on future projects. In addition to this meeting, the U.S. Department of State has recently coordinated meetings between the CAIR Michigan chapter and OIC representatives. The apparently growing relationship between the OIC and CAIR, supported by the State Department, takes on special significance in light of the decision by President Bush to appoint a U.S. envoy to the OIC. Awad also commented that he hoped that the selection of the individual “would also be representative of the Muslim community and its views.”
The Arab News article also reported that Awad placed some of the blame for “negative” media reporting on Islam on “dedicated individuals and institutions that smear Islam and Muslims left and right for their political ends.” CAIR and its representatives have a long history of claiming that certain “interests’ are defaming Islam. Awad has been in Jeddah in recent days where he also presented a seminar on media relations to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).