Council on American-Islamic Relations drops lawsuit against former board member who spoke out on sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation


MINNEAPOLIS, January 10, 2022 / PRNewswire / – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”), a powerful lobbying and advocacy group that describes itself as a civil rights organization for Muslim Americans, has withdrawn its federal lawsuit May 2021 in The United States District Court in Minneapolis against his own former national board member and employee for their public statements alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.

CAIR had indicted defendants Lori Saroya, a nationally respected civil rights attorney on behalf of Muslims, for defamation for commenting on evidence that the organization was involved in sexual harassment and discrimination and that it misled the public and donors about its fundraising practices. Ms. Saroya filed a long response to this lawsuit, which included exhibits, and released the evidence in support of each of the statements she made.

on January 7, 2022, CAIR informed the court and Ms. Saroya that it dropped all of its claims against them and dismissed them unconditionally.

Mrs. Saroya, who the. had founded Minnesota CAIR chapter, before being asked by CAIR in 2015 to serve on its national board, resigned from the organization in May 2018. She is part of a growing chorus of former CAIR employees and other Muslim Americans across the country who have spoken out about the behavior they have witnessed at CAIR. CAIR also requested an injunction prohibiting Ms. Saroya from raising her concerns about sexual harassment, discrimination and fundraising practices at CAIR, alleging that she breached the confidentiality agreement she was required to sign when starting her employment with CAIR.

Ms. Saroya said: “The reason I have refused to comply with CAIR’s request to remain silent and defend myself against this retaliatory lawsuit is this: I wanted to send a strong message that women should not be silenced by themselves CAIR have indicated that they intend to continue to do so, more forcefully than ever. Indeed, CAIR’s unsuccessful lawsuit has inspired me and others like me to do more to raise the voices of victims of sexual abuse, gender discrimination and sexual harassment. within the CAIR network and to help them achieve the justice, accountability and healing these sacrifices deserve. “

CAIR’s lawsuit against Ms. Saroya is being withdrawn while her petitions for court orders requiring the organization to surrender documents and other evidence that she had withheld were pending in the court. CAIR’s decision to terminate its case was made prior to any of the affidavits of its officers and directors on the subject of Ms. Saroya’s statements.

“First and foremost, this is a victory for Ms. Saroya and those who, like her, have had the historic courage to challenge a powerful organization on issues of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and retaliation from Ms. Saroya cannot be easily silenced as CAIR is evident had hoped to silence Ms. Saroya here Saul Ewing Arnstein & Teaching lawyer Jeff Robbinswho headed Ms. Saroya’s legal team.

Ms. Saroya’s legal defense team consisted of the national law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr Rechtsanwälte Jeff Robbins, Alain Baudry, Steven Kerbaugh, Joseph Lipchitz and Kelsey Marron. Mr. Robbins, Mr. Lipchitz and Ms. Marron practice in the office Boston Office; Messrs. Baudry and Kerbaugh practice in the office Minneapolis, Minnesota Office.

The case is CAIR Foundation, Inc., d / b / a Council on American-Islamic Relations, & CAIR v. Lori Saroya in The United States District Court District Minnesota.


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SOURCE Saul Ewing Arnstein & Teaching LLP


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