The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization. CAIR's 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.
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CAIR-WA Story

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, with regional offices nationwide. CAIR’s 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

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Meet our Staff

Arsalan Bukhari, Public Affairs Director

Arsalan Bukhari is Public Affairs Director at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Raised in a middle class American Muslim household in North Seattle, Arsalan Bukhari’s strong work ethic, values, faith, and sense of responsibility to community and country came from his upbringing as a practicing Muslim, and as a member of a military family. Two of his uncles are proud U.S. Army veterans, formerly stationed in Fort Lewis, WA and Fort Jackson, SC, and his brother-in-law a proud U.S. Navy veteran, formerly stationed in Naval Station Pearl Harbor, HI.

Motivated by the growing prejudice against American Muslims, and a sense of responsibility to community and country, Mr. Bukhari started as a volunteer with CAIR-WA and helped launch a new era for CAIR’s Seattle office.

Mr. Bukhari is frequently interviewed by newspapers, radio, and TV venues, local, national, and international. He also speaks on contemporary social issues including civil rights, civic engagement, media relations, and the American Muslim experience at various university campuses in Washington State and around the Northwest.

An alumnus of the Seattle Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy, he leads local efforts to foster results-focused relationships with law enforcement officials, elected officials, political appointees, and representatives of various governmental agencies.

Prior to joining CAIR, Mr. Bukhari was Contract Administrator at the Boeing Company and an activist in the fields of interfaith collaboration, and community outreach. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from Seattle University.

His Seattle upbringing has also influenced the development of his very ‘Northwest’ hobbies: reading, bicycling and trail running. He is married and resides in Shoreline, WA.

Jasmin Samy, Civil Rights Director

Jasmin Samy is Civil Rights Director at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

She is deeply passionate about extending CAIR-WA’s work to reach thousands more than ever before, especially to children and families across the state.

She frequently speaks on topics including knowing one’s rights, and manages a team of more than four staff and interns who manage over 400 complaints per year. She is an expert in American Muslim civil rights, rule of law, and international human rights.

She holds a law degree from Faculty of Law at Cairo University and a Master of Laws from Indiana University.

Prior to joining CAIR-WA, she was an attorney and human rights advocate for over 15 years.

Ms. Samy has a passion for squash as a sport and was a top player as a junior and continues to play regularly.

Sarah Stuteville, Media & Outreach Director

Sarah Stuteville is Media & Outreach Director at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Before joining CAIR-WA Ms. Stuteville served as co-founder and education director at The Seattle Globalist. She spent almost a decade reporting from around the world including Pakistan, Syria, Northern Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia and Kenya. In 2015 she won “Educator of the Year” from the Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington for her work teaching youth, undergraduate and graduate journalism courses and community workshops. For five years she wrote a weekly column on international connections in the Pacific Northwest for The Seattle Times and The Seattle Globalist.

Megan Fair, Civil Rights Assistant Manager

Megan Fair is Civil Rights Assistant Manager at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Ms. Fair obtained her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and Non-Profit Management from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC in 2010. While at Guilford College Ms. Fair was a Quaker Leader Scholar.

Ms. Fair also completed the School for International Training’s Modernization and Social Change program in Amman, Jordan in 2009. She currently serves on Field Committee and General Committee for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest based in Washington D.C.

Prior to joining CAIR-WA, Ms. Fair served as Operations Manager for a community based refugee resettlement agency in Greensboro, NC.

Jim Maher, Civil Rights

Jim Maher is a Civil Rights Team member at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

McKenna Lux, Civil Rights

McKenna Lux is a Civil Rights Team Member at CAIR-WA.

Prior to joining the team at CAIR-WA, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a French minor from University of California, Santa Barbara. She continued to earn a Master of Arts in International Relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Alumni

Jaidaa Abou-Ali

Jaidaa Abou-Ali, Office Manager

Jaidaa Abou-Ali is an Office Manager at CAIR-WA.

She graduated from Alexandria University’s Faculty of Commerce with a major in Business Administration in 2009. She then immediately enrolled in an MBA program, which led to a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management in 2011. She moved to Seattle in January 2013 and joined CAIR-WA in April 2013.

While she was doing her graduate studies, she worked as an Ocean Operations Executive at local and multinational companies for a total of 2 years, and as a teaching assistant in the Arab Academy for Science and Technology for 7 months.

During high school she participated in two web designing competitions and won first prize award in ‘Future Programmer Competition, 2005’ organized and sponsored by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. She also received a certificate of participation in Thinkquest Internet Challenge Competition.

In her free time Jaidaa enjoys baking, cooking and cycling. She likes participating in outdoor activities when the weather allows it, and loves making friends and being socially active.

Cara Piraino

Cara Piraino, Media Research and Analysis Coordinator

Cara Piraino is a Media Research and Analysis Coordinator at CAIR-Washington.

She is a rising second-year at the University of Chicago, where she studies Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, with a focus in Arabic and the modern Middle East. She also hopes to minor in Human Rights.

Outside of classes, Cara participates in the Model United Nations at the University of Chicago (MUNUC), one of the largest high-school Model United Nations conferences in the United States organized entirely by University of Chicago students. She is also actively involved in her university's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, a grassroots students' movement advocating on behalf of the human rights of Palestinians.

Although she studies in Chicago during the school term, Cara is originally from Seattle and graduated from Garfield High School. While in high school, Cara was awarded the opportunity to travel to Oman for the summer of 2012 to participate in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. While on a full scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, Cara stayed with a wonderful Muslim host family and took intensive Arabic classes during the day. The experience of living with a Muslim family, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, inspired Cara to work to combat inaccurate and offensive stereotypes of Muslims which she saw reinforced in American media and commonly accepted among Americans.

In her spare time, Cara enjoys playing music, reading everything she can about the Middle East, and exploring the city (whether it is Seattle or Chicago!).

In the future, Cara hopes to work for an international non-profit organization, the State Department, or the United Nations, ideally focusing on human rights in the Middle East.

Jennifer Gist

Jennifer Gist, Civil Rights Coordinator

Before joining CAIR-Washington as the Civil Rights Coordinator, Jennifer Gist graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2010 with a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology and minors in Women's Studies and Global and Urban Ministries. In college, Jennifer was co-president of the gender equality club for two years and at the grace of many coffee-filled late nights, completed her honors thesis as a part of the University Scholars program.

Jennifer also organized a staged production to raise money for organizations working with victims of gender-based violence, which won Outstanding Student Program of the year in 2010. To avoid turning into a total bookworm, Jennifer was active off-campus as well. Among her formative volunteer and internship experiences were working at an orphanage in Nepal, volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter, teaching at a summer school for underprivileged youth in Camden, New Jersey, and interning at ROOTS young adult shelter.

Just to keep things interesting and herself well-rounded, Jennifer also played intramural basketball and attended the weekly Seattle Poetry Slam. After spending four years engulfed in books and student/activist groups, Jennifer promptly celebrated her graduation by bicycling to Los Angeles for a very slow 5 weeks. After returning to Seattle, Jennifer joined CAIR-Washington in September 2010 as the Civil Rights Coordinator.

On any given day, you can likely find Jennifer amidst a large pile of case files, “To Do” lists, and emails needing replies, but always with a cup of coffee in hand. As the Civil Rights Coordinator, Jennifer takes in complaints of civil rights violations (with the help of Case Intake Interns) from American Muslims, writes advocacy letters to offending parties, attends meetings with various government agencies and officials, and cracks jokes with the rest of the CAIR-WA staff. In addition to coordinating civil rights, Jennifer has been volunteering at Powerful Voices, an education and employment program for female-identified youth. A Colorado native, Jennifer really enjoys hiking, cooking, wildlife-spotting, reading non-fiction (and fiction, too), donating blood, and not living in Denver

Chris Williams

Chris Williams, Staff Attorney

Chris Williams was a volunteer staff attorney at CAIR-WA. Chris brings seven years of experience as an Assistant Attorney General with the state of Washington Office of the Attorney General. He has also served as Senior Assistant to the General Counsel at Seattle Public Schools. He now is in private practice, which allows him much more time to focus his legal work on compelling issues that often do not receive sufficient attention from the legal profession due to a lack of resources dedicated to civil legal assistance.

Chris earned his BA from the University of Wisconsin with a double major in psychology and business administration. After serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and working in a group home for troubled children, he went on to earn his law degree from the University of Iowa with high distinction (Order of the Coif), ranking in the top 10% of his class.

Chris volunteers his time with a number of organizations, focusing on issues of hunger, civil rights, and child abuse prevention. In his free time, he is often playing or coaching basketball, “hanging out” at his local rock-climbing gym, or planning his next trip with family and friends.

Kelsey Caudebec

Kelsey Caudebec, Volunteer Coordinator

Kelsey Caudebec joined CAIR-WA as an Americorps VISTA member in November 2011. She grew up in in the small town of Port Townsend, Washington, where in high school she volunteered extensively at a non-profit, youth-oriented coffee house. During her senior year, she took a staffing internship there, and also participated in the Running Start program, earning college credit at Peninsula College. She graduated from the Evergreen State College with a B.A. in 2011. Her major emphasis was Linguistics, which included a year of Arabic, and her minor emphasis was Women and Gender Studies. Of her experience at Evergreen, Kelsey especially values learning how to think more critically about Western cultural ideologies and their socio-historical context and ramifications.

Kelsey loves tutoring and teaching. She enjoyed her two quarters as a Teacher’s Assistant in Introductory Linguistics at Evergreen.  She plans to earn a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification within the next few years. Her experience consists of two months teaching English at a school in rural Thailand, as well as tutoring adults locally. She’s also considering going to graduate school someday for Women and Gender studies and teaching at the college level.

As an Americorps VISTA, Kelsey’s main project over the next year at CAIR-WA will be to design and implement a sustainable, efficient system for volunteer management. She strongly supports CAIR’s mission and is excited and proud to work here.

Kelsey is intrigued by the way language is used to facilitate and maintain cultural ideologies, particularly pertaining to race, class, gender, ethnicity or any other category that is a basis for discrimination, covert or blatant. She is also fascinated by evolutionary and human biology, particularly as a way to understand human behavior. She loves reading (especially science news and Raymond Carver), going to the zoo, art museums, running, and living in Seattle.

Abigail Stahl

Abigail Stahl, Community Outreach Coordinator

Abigail is originally from Boston, MA but has lived all over the U.S., including Mississippi, Rhode Island, Virginia, Colorado, and now Washington. Prior to joining CAIR WA, Abigail graduated from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Women’s Studies.

At SPU, Abigail worked as the Intercultural Director for the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific, supporting leadership efforts by students of color, founded and co-led the gender equality club, Sophia, which won Best Club of the Year in 2008, was awarded Women’s Studies Student of the Year, and spent a semester abroad in South Africa.

As if she was not busy enough during college, she served as the student representative on the Global Education Task Force, giving student input on the development of study abroad programs. After graduating Abigail taught English abroad for a year in Turkey and a year in the Czech Republic, but had had enough Turkish delight and sausages and returned to Seattle.

Abigail joined CAIR WA through the Americorps JustServe team in September 2010 and she looks forward to opportunities to educate the community about Islamophobia, and the work that is required to dismantle it.

As the Community Outreach Coordinator, Abigail works to forge mutually beneficial partnerships with a diverse array of organizations, universities, and government entities, as well as engage and recruit volunteers. Additionally, Abigail assists in coordinating the CAIR WA speakers bureau, details of community events, and being active in various local coalitions. Abigail’s interests include politics, travel, being a connoisseur of French fries, with one of her proudest accomplishments being that she backpacked through Zimbabwe in 2006.

Bushra Rahim

Bushra Rahim

Kelly Pierce-Bulger

Kelly Pierce-Bulger, Development Coordinator

Kelly Pierce-Bulger joined CAIR-WA as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in September, 2011. Kelly was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and recently graduated from Marlboro College in Vermont with a BA in Cultural History and Religion. She specifically studied Palestinian women’s history and women in the Qur’an and spent a semester abroad in Jordan in the spring of 2010. Kelly’s interest in Islam and the Middle East began when she was 14 years old when she attended Seeds of Peace camp, an international camp based in Maine that brings together youths from countries in conflict, primarily centering on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Spurred by the desire to learn more after this experience, Kelly participated in an AFS summer exchange program to Cairo, Egypt for six weeks after graduating high school in 2006.

Kelly has a long-term interest in working in the non-profit sector and currently holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management. She has previously worked in the Education Department of the Alaska Zoo where she gave hundreds of presentations and tours and led dozens of summer camps for kids. Now she looks forward to putting her training in development into practice at CAIR-WA.

As Development Coordinator, Kelly researches and writes grants, keeps track of donors, processes donations, and cultivates relationships with potential grant-makers, corporate sponsors, and donors. She will also work closely with the Operations Coordinator to plan events and train volunteers to assist with development activities.

In her spare time, Kelly is a modern dancer and choreographer and a fiber artist (knitting, silk painting, quilting and some embroidery). She enjoys reading, hiking, putting together puzzles and playing board games, and wishes she had the opportunity to do more horseback riding. Cooking is still somewhat daunting to her.

Lori Kessler

Lori Kessler, Operations Coordinator

Lori Kessler is from the Chicago suburbs. She graduated from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC with a BA in International Studies focused on the Middle East and Islamic Studies. While in college she studied Arabic and French, and spent a semester in Cairo studying modern Arab history, culture, and politics. During college, Lori interned at CAIR’s Chicago office and at Hands Along the Nile Development Services, where she learned about the operations of non-profit organizations. These experiences cemented her desire to work in the non-profit sector. After completing her undergraduate degree, Lori moved to Seattle, and earned a certificate in Non-Profit Management at the University of Washington.

Lori joined CAIR-WA as an Operations Coordinator in July, 2011. She helps ensure that the organization functions smoothly by managing human resources and finances, planning major events, and coordinating all administrative tasks. She is a strong proponent of CAIR’s mission of civil rights advocacy for Muslims, and is excited to contribute to this important cause.

In her spare time, Lori enjoys playing video, computer, and tabletop games with her friends and her fiancé. She also loves to read, and is learning to cook fancier dishes and perfecting her hummus recipe.