Friday, April 24, 2009

Nihad Awad
A Biographical Sketch

Nihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest non-profit Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

In 1997, Mr. Awad served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security.

In 2004 he was named one of National Journal’s more than 100 Most Influential People in the US, whose ideas will help shape the debate over public policy issues for the next decade.

Mr. Awad is a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program” which welcomes foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States.

Mr. Awad has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress on matters involving Muslims in America.

He is a member of the United States Institute of Peace’s Advisory Committee on US-Muslim Relations and currently enjoys the position of U.S. Representative of the Vatican-affiliated International Committee on Muslim-Christian (Catholic) Dialogue.

For the 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, Mr. Awad was a key figure in the American Muslim Political Coordinating Committee (AMPCC) and, subsequently, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, an umbrella organization of the largest American Muslim organizations, which helped to create the first Muslim voting bloc for a presidential election.

He has also spoken at prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Johns Hopkins Universities. He was also a featured speaker at the 2002 Reuters Forum on global cooperation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. In addition, he actively works with local and national interfaith leaders and organizations in the interest of promoting positive relations among people of diverse faith communities.

Mr. Awad spoke at the 2005 International Islamic Conference hosted by King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan.

Mr. Awad spearheaded the “Not in the Name of Islam” anti-terrorism fatwa (religious ruling) issued by the Fiqh Council of North America and endorsed by the 300 largest mosques and Islamic centers in the United States, a crucial milestone in the history of the American Muslim community.

He has been frequently interviewed on national and international media such as CNN, BBC World Service, PBS, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America and Al-Jazeera. CAIR news releases are disseminated to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide on a daily basis.After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Mr. Awad flew to Oklahoma to aid in the relief effort. He personally met with Governor Frank Keating and gave the governor a sizable donation for the relief effort and victims’ fund on behalf of the American Muslim community.

Mr. Awad has also personally met with Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin L. Powell, to discuss the needs of Muslim community.Numerous law enforcement agencies, organizations and Fortune 500 companies—including Nike and DKNY—have benefited from CAIR educational seminars on Islamic traditions and culture. In addition to resolving employment discrimination issues involving American Muslims, Mr. Awad has also conducted over 100 public relations and media training seminars in the US.A

A few days after September 11, 2001, Mr. Awad was one of the few American Muslim leaders invited by the White House to join President Bush in a press conference at the Islamic Center of Washington, the oldest mosque in Washington, DC.

Mr. Awad is the author of the paper, “Muslim-Americans in Mainstream America,” published in the Feb/Mar. 2000 edition of “The Link” magazine.Mr. Awad is also featured in Silent No More by former United States Representative Paul Findley (R-IL); a book chronicling the history of the American Muslim community.

To contact Mr. Awad, email: or 202-642-6419
Nihad Awad
453 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003, USA