The Council on American-Islamic Relations has earned a fierce reputation for defending Muslim civil rights.

Middle Tennessee Muslims turned to the group this year over a proposed state law they feared would threaten their faith. When vandals torched a Columbia mosque and construction equipment at the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro site, CAIR demanded authorities investigate both incidents as hate crimes.

But the Washington, D.C.-based group's work is being threatened as it faces scrutiny for failing to file tax returns.

CAIR was among 275,000 nonprofits nationwide stripped of tax-exempt status this month by the Internal Revenue Service. None of the groups filed required tax returns, known as Form 990s, for three years, and any donations to them can be taxed, the IRS reported.

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