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CAIR-Florida statement regarding public concerns in media

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In the name of Allah, our Creator and Sustainer 

A blessed Ramadan to you and your families. I pray you are all safe, healthy, and making the most of this blessed month. Although I joined the CAIR-Florida team as their Executive Director only a few weeks ago, I was immediately moved by the work and service to the community and indeed connection to the community that the organization has, by the grace of Allah. It is my goal in this position, along with my colleagues, to institute change and growth in the chapter in order to build on the success of CAIR-Florida and take our work to the next level, Allah willing. 

Recently I came to know of allegations and claims made regarding the chapter’s previous leadership, who left the organization over three months ago. 

Please allow me to sincerely say, I understand. I understand that the issues raised by these allegations of sexual or workplace misconduct hit close to home for our community and that they bring up emotions for many of us, reminding us that as a community, we always need to do better. Abuse in many forms against women happens far too often in our society, and it is completely unacceptable.  

I would like to fully assure our supporters that CAIR-Florida takes any allegations of workplace misconduct, especially misconduct against women, very seriously. We would never tolerate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or religious bigotry, in any form. As an organization, CAIR-Florida is dedicated to pursuing justice for our community, as well as everyone within our organization.   

Women play a critical and valued role in our organization. In fact, over half of our organization positions are made up of talented women, including board of directors members, our programs and outreach director, who runs our statewide non-legal advocacy and programs, our regional outreach leaders, our communications, development, and administrative staff, and many other valued and necessary leaders on our team.  

Unfortunately, the recent allegations against the former employee do not reflect an accurate portrayal of the culture and environment at CAIR-Florida. While we are legally limited in revealing information regarding personnel matters, we can assure you that our board of directors, leadership and staff have not received any kind of sexual harassment complaint, ever. Such complaints would have been dealt with immediately and seriously. Many of these claims, the Board and leadership have only now been made aware of, and even so, indirectly through third-party sources. CAIR-Florida has never been sued for this kind of conduct, never settled any claims related to this kind of conduct, and never signed confidentiality agreements related to this kind of conduct or any other form of misconduct.   

While I cannot personally attest to the past, I would like the community to know that there is always room to do better. I am making a public commitment to: 

  1. Improving on the current protocols and policies we have in place to ensure that any person is always comfortable and feels safe and empowered to make a complaint if they need to. This includes a full review and strengthening of our current SOPS and workplace policies.
  2. Reviewing CAIR-Florida's current manuals and procedures to incorporate a code of ethics that reflects the values of protecting and uplifting women and creating safe professional spaces for them to thrive in, for the benefit of our communities, our organizations, and our ummah.
  3. Providing ongoing annual education and training on workplace discrimination and harassment.
  4. Personally, seeing that the process of reporting any possible harassment is based in accountability, transparency, and accessibility. 

There is a new day ahead for CAIR-Florida and its team. It’s my honor to be at the helm, along with the many individuals recently brought onto our team, we look to the future to ensure we can and do live up to the expectations of the community and that we serve you all in the way our Deen teaches us to do, with Ihsan – seeking excellence every single day.  

Thank you for the opportunity to serve this community and for entrusting me to set a path forward that addresses all concerns and allows us to keep serving the community's needs. Jazakum Allahu Kharan.   

Your Brother in Service, 

Imam Abdullah Jaber