|Born||Amman New Camp, Amman, Jordan|
|Residence||United States of America|
|Nationality||Palestinian - American|
|Education||University of Minnesota|
|Employer||Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)|
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.
After studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota in the 1990s, 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.
In 1997, Awad served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security.
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.”
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.
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.
In April 2011, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., cited from a fundraising letter sent from Awad to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, at a United States House of Representatives Appropriations sub-committee hearing. The letter said, in part, "I am pleased to send to Your Excellency in my name most solemn assurances of thanks and appreciation for the efforts you exert in the service of Islam, Muslims and all mankind through your initiative to teach Islam, spread the culture of Islam, and solve disputes, for which you are known internationally." CAIR spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, said that the organization did not receive any money from the Libyan government.
Awards & honors
- The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre's "500 Most Influential Muslims 2009"
- Among 100 of the "World's Most Influential Arabs" for 2010 by Arabian Business magazine
- ""Islam is Peace" Says President". Office of the Press Secretary. September 17, 2001. Retrieved on Jan. 27, 2007
- [dead link]
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- Statement by Nihad Awad at a panel discussion, “The Road to Peace: the Challenge of the Middle East,” Barry University, March 22, 1994.
- Kushner, Harvey W. (1998). "The future of terrorism: violence in the new millennium". Retrieved November 27, 2009.[dead link]
- ""Islam is Peace" Says President". Georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Lawmaker Criticizes Muslim Group Director's 2009 Fundraising Letter to Qaddafi
- Official website
- Nihad Awad on Charlie Rose
- CAIR's Care & American Muslims: Interview with Nihad Awad IslamOnline.net, retrieved on 19-03-2009.
- CAIR Board Members (Profiles) CAIR.com
- Nihad Awad profile on Arabian Business