The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that board member and co-founder Omar Ahmad is retiring from CAIR’s board of directors after 15 years of service to the American Muslim community. “We thank Omar Ahmad for his many years of dedicated service to the cause of social justice,” said CAIR Board Chairman Larry Shaw. “He can be confident that CAIR will continue in its mission of defending civil liberties and promoting mutual understanding.” Shaw said Ahmad stepped down as CAIR board chairman in 2005, but had remained on the board. CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
According to various biographies, Mr. Ahmad was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and graduated from Long Beach State University in Southern California in 1982 with a degree in computer engineering. From there he went to Northern California’s Silicon Valley, where he worked for 13 years with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), where eventually he became a director. He served as President of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) before founding CAIR together with Nihad Awad, and Rafeeq Jaber, both former IAP officials.
A report recently issued by the Hudson Institute discusses the origins of CAIR and its founders/leaders in both the Palestine Committee of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and the U.S. Hamas support infrastructure that included IAP. A letter from the FBI posted on the Investigative Project website indicates that that the recent decision by the Agency to sever formal relationships with CAIR was based on evidence that both Mr. Ahmad and Mr. Awad were tied to the Palestine Committee. Both men were known to have attended a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia that was taped by the FBI and which was attended by many members of the Palestine Committee and IAP.