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Nihad Awad

Pioneering Muslim Rights Champion

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Date of Birth:



In Al-Wehdat refugee camp in Amman

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

His leadership and active role in defending the civil liberties of Muslims in America, his efforts to promote mutual understanding between Muslims and people of other faiths, and his involvement in various campaigns and initiatives that aim to protect and advance the rights of Muslims in the United States.

Brief bio

Nihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest and most prominent civil liberties and advocacy organization for Muslims in the United States. Through his work, Awad has been instrumental in addressing issues of discrimination, promoting interfaith dialogue, and advocating for the rights of Muslims nationwide.

Major Milestones


  • Co-founding CAIR: Awad co-founded the Council on American-Islamic Relations, becoming a central figure in defending the rights of Muslims in the U.S...See More

  • White House Invitation: He was among the Muslim leaders invited by President George W. Bush to condemn the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent anti-Muslim incidents.

  • Awards and Recognition: Nihad Awad has been acknowledged for his impact and contributions, including being named one of the "500 Most Influential Muslims" and one of the "World's Most Influential Arabs."

  • National and International Media Presence: Awad has frequently been interviewed by major media outlets, providing insights on issues affecting Muslims in America and advocating for their rights...See More

  • Public Service Leadership Award: Received the Phillips Brooks House Association’s Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture and Award for his public service and leadership.

  • Advocacy for Muslim Civil Rights: Through his leadership at CAIR, Awad has been a vocal advocate against Islamophobia, ensuring the protection of civil liberties for Muslims across the United States.

  • Promotion of Interfaith Dialogue: He has been instrumental in building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Muslim communities and other religious groups.

  • Policy Advocacy: Awad has testified before Congress and been actively involved in shaping policies that impact Muslims in America, promoting a more inclusive and just legislative environment.

  • Educational Outreach: He has led efforts to educate both the public and policymakers about Islam, working to dismantle stereotypes and counter misinformation.

  • Crisis Management and Community Support: In times of crisis, Awad has provided steadfast leadership, guiding the community through challenges while advocating for peace and unity.

Date of Last Update: 
May 9, 2024

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