Non-profit

Arab American Civil Rights League

Website:

acrlmich.org/

Location:

Dearborn, MI

Tax ID:

45-3715978

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $78,631
Expenses: $76,207
Assets: $27,646

Type:

Arab American Civil Rights Advocacy Group

Formation:

2011

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $135,629
Expenses: $123,086
Total Assets: $12,543

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL), also known as the American Arab Civil Rights League, is a left-of-center nonprofit that provides legal representation for Arab Americans. 1 It represents and defends Arab Americans across the United States, files anti-discrimination lawsuits, challenges “no fly” statuses, sues the federal government, and brings American citizens home from war zones, such as Gaza. 2 In early 2024, ACRL criticized a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that named Dearborn “America’s Jihad Capital.” 3 4

History

The Arab American Civil Rights League was founded in 2011 after what it claims was a “surge in Islamophobia and discrimination” following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 5 The ACRL claims that the constitutional rights of Muslims were violated. 6 The ACLR received its tax-exempt charitable status in 2015. 7

Projects and Initiatives

The Arab American Civil Rights League has two major initiatives: advocacy and the Gaza Family Project. 8

Advocacy

The ACRL advocates for Arab Americans facing alleged discrimination. ACRL defended of four high school football players who were found not guilty of criminal charges for an on-field altercation between two football teams. 9 The ACRL also successfully established a national hotline to report unwarranted bank closures and placement of Arab Americans on “no fly” lists which ACRL investigates for potential lawsuits. 10

In 2017, the ACRL joined a group of plaintiffs that sued to block then-President Donald Trump’s entry ban on nationals from seven predominantly Muslim nations, forcing a preliminary injunction and restraining order against the executive order. 11 The ACRL cited breaches of the Fifth and First Amendment rights to procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection, as well as the Establishment Clause by giving preference to Christian over Muslim refugees. 12

In February 2024, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece entitled, “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital.” 13 The Arab American Civil Rights League held a press conference denouncing the article. 14 In the press conference, an ACRL representative argued that the term “jihad” simply means ‘hard work,’ and that it is not a radical term. 15 ACRL founder Nabih Ayad also noted that the ACRL and city of Dearborn had the support of both the Biden administration and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) administration in denouncing the piece and calling for an immediate retraction. 16

Gaza Family Project

The Gaza Family Project is the ACRL’s effort to connect the families of Palestinian-Americans in Gaza to free legal counsel to apply for their return to the United States. 17 The ACRL has facilitated the return of over 60 US citizens through this project. 18 Through the Gaza Family Project, ACRL brought home Zahraa Sckak, a U.S. servicemember’s mother. 19 The ACRL, in coordination with U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), also brought home a couple from Livonia, Michigan, that was stuck in Gaza due to the Israel-Hamas war. 20

Leadership

Nabih Ayad is the founder of the Arab American Civil Rights League and sits on its board. 21 He received a law degree from the Detroit College of Law at MSU in 1998 and formerly worked as a Michigan civil rights commissioner from 2008 to 2011. 22 He also was vice president of the Arab-American Political Action Committee. 23

Mariam Charara is the Executive Director of the ACRL, and she holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Wayne State University. 24

Partners

The Arab American Civil Rights League has several partnerships with local and federal governments in advocating its left-of-center policy initiatives, such as disability rights, voting access, and combating employment discrimination and police brutality. 25 One partnership is with Penn Entertainment, a sports, gaming, and casino conglomerate that listed its support for ACRL in its 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. 26

Finances

In 2022, the Arab American Civil Rights League reported $135,629 in revenue, $123,086 in expenses, and $12,543 in total assets, according to tax filings. 27 The same year, it received a Michigan Enhancement Grant of $250,000 from the Michigan House of Representatives in the 2022-2023 General Government Omnibus Budget. 28

References

  1. About Us. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/aboutacrl/
  2. Advocacy. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/aboutacrl/
  3. “‘America’s jihad capital’: Why this Michigan city is on edge.” Times of India. February 5, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/americas-jihad-capital -the-controversy-surrounding- dearborn-michigan/articleshow/107426538.cms
  4. Arab American Civil Rights League press conference. The Detroit News. February 5, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.detroitnews.com/videos/media/video/2024/02/05/arab-american-civil-rights -league-press -conference-in-response-to-wsj/72487435007/
  5. About Us. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/aboutacrl/
  6. About Us. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/aboutacrl/
  7.  American Arab Civil Rights League. ProPublica. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/453715978
  8.  Programs and Services. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/programs-and-services/
  9. Dado, Hatasha. “Dismissal of football players’ charges a major victory for ACRL.” The Arab American News. April 6, 2012. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://arabamericannews.com/2012/04/06/Dismissal -of-football-players%E2%80%99-charges-a- major-victory-for-ACRL/
  10.  ACRL Advocacy Highlights. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/advocacy/
  11. “Case: Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL) v. Trump.” Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. Accessed May 19, 2025. https://clearinghouse.net/case/15612/#:~:text=They%20claimed%20that%20President%20Trump’s %20 executive%20order%20(EO)%20of%20January,due%20process%2C%20 and%20equal%20protection.
  12. “Case: Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL) v. Trump.” Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. Accessed May 19, 2025. https://clearinghouse.net/case/15612/#:~:text=They%20claimed%20that%20President%20Trump’s %20 executive%20order%20(EO)%20of%20January,due%20process%2C%20 and%20equal%20protection.
  13. Stalinsky, Steven. “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital.” Wall Street Journal. February 2, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.wsj.com/articles/welcome-to-dearborn-americas-jihad-capital-pro-hamas -michigan -counterterrorism-a99dba38
  14. Arab American Civil Rights League press conference. The Detroit News. February 5, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.detroitnews.com/videos/media/video/2024/02/05/arab-american-civil-rights -league-press -conference-in-response-to-wsj/72487435007/
  15. Arab American Civil Rights League press conference. The Detroit News. February 5, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.detroitnews.com/videos/media/video/2024/02/05/arab-american-civil-rights -league-press -conference-in-response-to-wsj/72487435007/
  16. Arab American Civil Rights League press conference. The Detroit News. February 5, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.detroitnews.com/videos/media/video/2024/02/05/arab-american-civil-rights -league-press -conference-in-response-to-wsj/72487435007/
  17. Gaza Family Project. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/gaza-family-project/
  18. Gaza Family Project. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/gaza-family-project/
  19. Seck, Hope Hodge and Lamothe, Dan. “Inside the daring plot to rescue an American soldier’s mother from Gaza.” Washington Post. January 8, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2024/01/08/soldiers-mother-rescued-gaza/#
  20. “Michigan couple credits Rashida Tlaib, Arab American Civil Rights League for Gaza escape.” CBS News. November 8, 2023. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.cbsnews.com/detroit/video/michigan-couple -credits-rashida-tlaib-arab-american-civil-rights -league-for-gaza-escape/
  21. Board – Nabih H. Ayad, Esq.. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/board/
  22. Board – Nabih H. Ayad, Esq. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/board/
  23. Board – Nabih H. Ayad,Esq. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/board/
  24.  Board – Mariam Charara, LLMSW. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/board/
  25. Programs and Services. Arab American Civil Rights League. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://acrlmich.org/programs-and-services/
  26. 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Penn Entertainment. April 24, 2024. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.pennentertainment.com/corp/-/media/project/png-tenant/corporate/png-corp/pdfs/pennentertainment_2023csrreport.pdf
  27. American Arab Civil Rights League. ProPublica. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/453715978
  28. FY 2022-23 GENERAL OMNIBUS BUDGET Summary: Conference Report House Bill 5783 (H-2) CR-1. Michigan House (.gov). November 30, 2022. Accessed May 19, 2024. https://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/ Summaries/22h5783h2cr1_general_omnibus_conference_report _summary.pdf
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2015

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $78,631 $76,207 $27,646 $726 N $78,631 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $114,017 $99,558 $25,891 $1,395 N $114,017 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $141,020 $133,490 $11,787 $1,750 N $141,020 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $79,607 $78,446 $2,945 $438 N $79,607 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $81,877 $71,785 $6,218 $4,872 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $73,684 $82,430 $8,956 $17,702 $0 $0 $0 $0

    Arab American Civil Rights League

    19855 Outer Drive, Suite 202
    Dearborn, MI 48126-3230