Founded by Portland-area immigrants and refugees, the Center for Intercultural Organizing was originally established to combat widespread anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11. On September 8, 2002, authorities arrested a well-known Portland Imam at the airport—Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, spiritual leader of the As-Saber Mosque (Masjed As-Saber)—falsely claiming his brother’s luggage contained traces of TNT. The Center’s founders organized a multicultural march and protest outside the federal building in downtown Portland, attended by local Muslims and other activists.
Since then, we have continued organizing against the targeting of Muslims, while broadening our focus toward building power in immigrant and refugee communities through education, civic engagement, organizing and mobilization, and intergenerational leadership development.
For nearly a decade, CIO has engaged thousands of individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, trained new immigrant and refugee community leaders, produced hundreds of educational events and mobilized countless immigrant and refugee community members to participate in civic life.