Nihad Awad

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Nihad Awad
Nihad Awad.jpg
Born Amman New Camp, Amman, Jordan
Residence United States of America
Nationality Palestinian - American
Education University of Minnesota
Occupation Executive Director
Employer Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Religion Sunni Islam
Nihad Awad (second from right) stands to President Bush's left, when Bush said "Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks [on Sept. 11, 2001]."[1]

Nihad Awad (Arabic: نهاد عوض) is the Executive Director and Founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Early life[edit]

Nihad Awad was born in Amman New Camp, a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. He studied at Second Amman Preparatory School for Boys, located at the camp and belongs to UNRWA, and at Salaheddine High School in Achrafieh in Jordan. He moved to Italy and later to the United States to pursue his university studies.[citation needed]


After studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota in the 1990s,[2][3] he worked at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. After the Gulf War, he was Public Relations Director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).

After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, 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 victims’ fund on behalf of the American Muslim community.[citation needed]

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

In his professional capacity, Awad has also personally met with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell to discuss the needs of the American Muslim community.[citation needed]

In June 1994, IAP President Omar Ahmad and others founded the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Awad was hired as the Executive Director. In a March 1994 speech at Barry University, future CAIR Executive Director Awad said in response to an audience question about the various humanitarian efforts in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, "I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO... there are some [Hamas] radicals, we are not interested in those people.”[4][5]

Awad is a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which welcomes foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States.[citation needed]

A few days after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Awad was one of a select group American Muslim leaders invited by the White House to join President Bush in a press conference condemning the attacks and acts of anti-Muslim intolerance that followed.[6]

Awad is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.[citation needed]

He is featured in "Silent No More" (ISBN 1590080017) by former United States Representative Paul Findley, a book chronicling the history of the American Muslim community.[citation needed]

Awards & honors[edit]


  1. ^ ""Islam is Peace" Says President". Office of the Press Secretary. September 17, 2001.  Retrieved on Jan. 27, 2007
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ Statement by Nihad Awad at a panel discussion, “The Road to Peace: the Challenge of the Middle East,” Barry University, March 22, 1994.[3]
  5. ^ Kushner, Harvey W. (1998). "The future of terrorism: violence in the new millennium". Retrieved November 27, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ ""Islam is Peace" Says President". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]