The Austin, Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Austin) today welcomed its new executive director, Maira Sheikh.
Sheikh previously worked as a research fellow with a think tank focused on international law and human rights.
After completing her Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2012, Sheikh worked in Pakistan for five years to draft laws, policies and publications with domestic and multinational stakeholders that further improved the state’s compliance with its responsibilities under various international law instruments.
Her areas of expertise include international human rights law, the law of armed conflict and reform of counterterrorism legislation. Sheikh is the co-author of one of the only comprehensive publications on preventive detention during counterterrorism operations available in Pakistan. She has traveled to both the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, Switzerland and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., to engage international experts on the legal issues surrounding the use of preventive detention in Pakistan.
Sheikh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from Temple University. Before moving to Austin, she lived in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan. She is also bilingual, speaking both English and Urdu fluently.
“We are pleased that Maira Sheikh decided to join our team as the executive director of CAIR-Austin,” said CAIR Austin Board Chair Ahmed Mahmoud. “Her impressive background, legal education and her passion for protecting civil rights will enable her to build strong foundation that will serve the Muslim community in Austin now and in the future. Her focus on building strong partnerships with other civil rights organization in Austin will make our beloved city and state even more welcoming to people of all diverse backgrounds.”
The Austin chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was founded earlier this year.
“The Austin community support for CAIR has been increasing over the years,” said Mahmoud. “With the rise of Islamophobia in Texas and across the country, the Austin community recognized the need to expand the network of CAIR offices within the state of Texas by establishing a solid presence in the state’s capital.”
Within Texas, CAIR-Austin joins three other chapters operating in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
Austin Chapter, Council on American-Islamic Relations