Council for Islamic-American Relations. (CIAR) Who they are and Whats their goal.

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    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism

    It offers a benign mission statement - "to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." But a closer look at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) raises a host of troubling questions about its history and purpose.

    Born of an effort to scuttle hopes for a negotiated Middle East peace, CAIR was listed among organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood's American network. Its founders emerged from a separate Islamic organization that two courts have found played a supporting role for the terrorist group Hamas.

    The Washington, D.C.-based organization purports to be a "leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding" and claims to speak for the majority of American Muslims. However, after a careful review of the history, activities, statements, and causes of and by CAIR, it seems that its primary goals are to silence and de-legitimize its critics and redefine what it means to be a moderate Muslim. And when it comes to U.S. efforts to crack down on terrorists and their financiers, CAIR takes an almost visceral stand in opposition. This has the effect of undermining the legitimate security-related concerns and campaigns of the United States and its allies. These conclusions and the summary immediately below are based upon the evidence and examples that follow in this report; beginning with CAIR's very founding.



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    Part 1: CAIR Exposed
    As IAP Offshoot, CAIR Followed Pro-Hamas Agenda From the Start

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 24, 2008

    (The following story summarizes our first dossier installment on CAIR which can be found at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/109.pdf)

    From the Hamas ties of its founders in 1994 to its solicitous stance toward accused terrorists today, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has demonstrated that its actual mission is far removed from the civil rights advocacy it claims to pursue.

    Still standing as perhaps the clearest evidence of CAIR's insidious role, two key leaders of the group attended a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia called by Hamas members and supporters to devise a strategy for torpedoing the Oslo Accords aimed at Middle East peace.

    An analysis of secret recordings of the meeting led the FBI to conclude that the gathering was held "to determine… [the participants'] course of action in support of Hamas' opposition to the [Oslo] peace plan and to decide how to conceal their activities from the scrutiny of the United States government."

    Coupled with their support for the jihad in the Middle East, the attendees recognized the critical importance of domestic lobbying in the United States. One discussed encouraging the Islamic community "to be involved in the political life of this country," adding, "We should assist them in this task. This will be an entrance for us to put, through the Islamic community, pressure on the Congress and the decision makers in America."

    That's where CAIR came in. Participants in that 1993 meeting discussed tailoring their message to an American audience, speaking of outright deception at times and of softening their rhetoric at others, as the following exchange between CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad shows:

    Awad: What is important is that the language of the address is there even
    for the American. But, the issue is how to use it.
    ....
    Omar Ahmad: There is a difference between you saying "I want to restore the '48
    land" and when you say "I want to destroy Israel".
    ....
    Awad: Yes, there are different but parallel types of address. There
    shouldn't be contradiction. Address people according to their minds.
    When I speak with the American, I speak with someone who doesn't know
    anything. As for the Palestinian who has a martyr brother or something, I know how to address him, you see?

    This context helps explain why federal authorities have tied the CAIR to Hamas in three separate court filings in the past year. Prosecutors place CAIR on the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee." An internal Palestine Committee document in 1994 lists CAIR as one of its "working organizations" along with IAP. Other records show that committee was created to advance the Hamas agenda within the United States.

    Among the highlights in today's report:

    • CAIR was incorporated less than a year after the Philadelphia meeting by three officials of the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), long a central player in Hamas' U.S. support network and a group that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service deemed in a 2001 memo to be "part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus."

    • As recently as the summer of 2007, the Dallas trial charging the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) with providing material support for Hamas produced extensive evidence that IAP -- CAIR's parent -- played a central role in the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee. Much of that evidence relates to Mousa Abu Marzook, now deputy political chief of Hamas, who served on the board of directors of IAP in 1989.

    The trial exhibits included a memo taken from the home of Ismail Elbarrasse, a former assistant to Marzook, which defines in chilling fashion the role the Muslim Brothers play in North America:

    The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack….

    • CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial. While the group contested that designation in court papers, it may have to live with it through a second trial scheduled for August. A mistrial was declared Oct. 22 after jurors could not reach unanimous verdicts on HLF and four individual defendants. A fifth defendant was acquitted on all but one count against him, that of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

    • IAP clearly subscribed to a Jihadist view of what was needed in the Middle East. The December 1988 edition of Ila Filastin, the group's Arabic-language publication, carried this statement: "The call for Jihad in the name of Allah is the only path for liberation of Palestine and all the Muslim lands … We (Hamas) promise Allah, in continuing the Jihad way and with the martyrdom's way."

    Meanwhile, IAP's English-language Muslim World Monitor and Arabic periodical Al-Zaitounah, frequently praised Hamas terror attacks. An October 1994 Al-Zaitounah headline, for example, blared, "In Its Greatest Operation, Hamas Takes Credit for the Bombing of an Israeli Bus in the Center of Tel Aviv."

    • IAP promoted the Hamas agenda at its annual conferences, with members of the terrorist group making frequent appearances. It raised substantial funds at these conferences for HLF, then Hamas' primary fundraising arm in the United States. All proceeds from IAP's convention in 1996, for example, went to HLF. Rafeeq Jaber, one of CAIR's founders, had become IAP president earlier that year. In a 2003 civil deposition, Jaber acknowledged IAP's contract with HLF required them "to promote [HLF] in every way we can."

    • Declining an opportunity to distance CAIR from IAP in September 2003 Senate testimony, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad opted instead to defend the group as "a grassroots organization which continues to function legally and has only been ‘linked' through allusion and no charge of criminality has been brought against the organization."

    • It was Awad and CAIR founding chairman Omar Ahmad who had attended the Hamas-organized Philadelphia session in 1993 -- though proof of their participation was not revealed publicly until years later. Both men insisted, as late as 2003, that they could not recall having attended.


    Read more at: Part 1: CAIR Exposed: As IAP Offshoot, CAIR Followed Pro-Hamas Agenda From the Start :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism


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    Part 2: Funding Ties With HLF and Foreign Donors Show CAIR's True Agenda

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 25, 2008

    (Part II of our series on CAIR can be found here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/110.pdf)

    Summary: The Council on American-Islamic Relation (CAIR)'s financing over the years challenges its self-description as a benevolent group out to protect the civil rights of the Muslim community in the United States.

    The clichéd admonition to "follow the money" gives a clear picture of the group's actual role as an enabler for organizations linked by the U.S. government to Islamic terrorism, prominently including the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).

    Indeed it shows a two-way flow of support both to and from HLF, which since has been named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization and indicted on charges of providing material support to Hamas. Our examination of CAIR focuses today on its finances.

    • HLF made a $5,000 donation to the then-newly formed CAIR as early as 1994. Apparently sensitive to the impact public disclosure of their group's funding by HLF could have, CAIR's leaders repeatedly denied any such connection.

    Asked during a 2003 civil deposition, "Did they [HLF] give you any money to help start CAIR?" Omar Ahmed, one of its incorporators, flatly responded, "No." CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad echoed that position in testimony prepared for a September 10, 2003 Senate hearing, declaring, "Our organization did not receive any seed money from HLFRD."

    After IPT produced a copy of HLF's $5,000 check at the hearing, however, Awad acknowledged in supplemental testimony that CAIR had, indeed, received money from the group. Explaining, "CAIR is a nonprofit, grassroots organization. Our only source of income is through donations and the amount in question was a donation like any other," he added in mitigation that the "relatively small donation" had come seven years before the Justice Department froze HLF's assets.

    • CAIR, in turn, repeatedly co-sponsored fundraisers for the Hamas-linked organization. Such funding appeals were made in 1999, ostensibly to help refugees forced to flee Kosovo, and again in 2000, at a time when the U.S. Agency for International Development already had announced plans to terminate HLF's USAID registration on grounds that it was "contrary to the national defense and foreign policy interest of the United States."

    But those appeals were trumped by a further solicitation soon after the murderous attacks of 9/11. CAIR's website, advising readers "what you can do for the victims of the WTC (World Trade Center) and Pentagon attacks," urged them to donate to charities that included HLF.

    • CAIR claims it does not receive funding from Saudi Arabia and other foreign sources. In a November 2001 press release, the group stated, "We do not support directly or indirectly, or receive support from, any overseas group or government."

    Yet the records tell a different story. To cite a few examples:

    • A Saudi embassy press release issued in August 1999 reported that the Islamic Development Bank, a Saudi-based entity, donated "$250,000 as a contribution to the purchase of land in Washington D.C. to be the headquarters for an education and research center under the aegis of the Council for American Islamic Relations."

    • In an article headlined, "US Muslims Split Over Saudi Donations," the Associated Press reported that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal had given CAIR $500,000.

    • CAIR has received significant financial support from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi-supported group that publishes materials promoting religious hatred -- for example, advising Muslims to "teach our children to love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors…and make jihad for the sake of Allah." In December 1999, WAMY announced at a Riyadh press conference -- attended by Awad -- that it "was extending both moral and financial support to CAIR in its effort to construct a $3.5 million headquarters in Washington, D.C."

    • Again, in November 2002, The Muslim World reported that CAIR and WAMY would cooperate on a million dollar public relations campaign and that Awad was scheduled to meet with Prince Walled Ibn Talal.

    • CAIR has received repeated donations from the International Relief Organization (IRO), the American branch of the Saudi-funded International Islamic Relief Organization. IRO's Virginia offices were raided by the FBI in 1997 as part of a money laundering and terrorism investigation, and again in 2002 by Operation Greenquest, a federal task force targeting the financiers of Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups.

    Between 2000 and 2003, CAIR received $19,500 from the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Significant financial, ideological and personal connections exist between IIIT and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which the U.S. government has identified as a front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.


    Read more at: Part 2: Funding Ties With HLF and Foreign Donors Show CAIR's True Agenda :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 3: Some CAIR Officials Convicted of Crimes, More Tied to Extremist Groups

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 26, 2008

    (note: The third installment of our CAIR dossier can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/111.pdf)

    The questionable associations and actions by many of its leaders cast serious doubt on CAIR's claims of moderation and restraint. Some have committed criminal acts themselves; others have ties to organizations with connections to Islamic extremism.

    Those convicted of direct criminal activity include Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR-Texas; Randall (Ismail) Royer, once a communications specialist for the national group, and Bassam Khafagi, the organization's one-time director of community relations.

    In the more egregious cases, the organization has tried to distance itself from the individuals, contorting both logic and the English language. As the IPT's series on CAIR's history and activities continues, we look at the suspect nature of these examples and others close to the organization.

    • Ghassan Elashi, who attended a 1993 Philadelphia meeting called by Hamas to discuss derailing U.S. peace initiatives, was convicted in 2004 on six criminal counts, including making false statements, conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations and the Libyan Sanctions Regulations, and conspiracy to file false shipper's export declaration forms. He was a defendant again in the 2007 Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), where jurors were unable to reach unanimous verdicts on the charges against him.

    Elashi served as HLF chairman and treasurer and vice president of Infocom, a computer export company. He was sentenced to 80 months in prison for making illegal computer shipments to Libya and Syria and conspiring to send money to Mousa Abu Marzook, an admitted Hamas leader.

    Seeking to minimize Elashi's ties to CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad assured U.S. senators in 2003 testimony, "Mr. Elashi was never an employee or officer of our corporation. The fact that he was once associated with one of our almost twenty regional chapters has no legal significance…"

    • Randall Royer, the former CAIR communications specialist, has a more colorful criminal history. Police who stopped his car for a traffic violation in 2001 found an AK-47-style rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition inside. Then, in 2003, he was indicted on charges stemming from participation in the ongoing jihad in Kashmir -- specifically, doing propaganda work for Lashkar-e Taiba, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, and personally firing at Indian positions in Kashmir.

    Pleading guilty to weapons and explosives charges in 2004, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In later grand jury testimony, Royer admitted that the cell's primary goal was to fight with the Taliban against United States forces in Afghanistan

    Again, CAIR reacted defensively, seeking to downplay both his ties to the organization and, indeed, the nature of his crimes. "Notwithstanding the fact that any criminal action to which he pleaded guilty was done when Royer was no longer employed with CAIR and not at CAIR's direction," the group said, "it is important to note that the only crimes that he pleaded guilty to were weapons charges, not charges of terrorism."

    CAIR's timing point contradicts media reports indicating that Royer still worked for the group in October 2001; while the charges to which Royer pleaded guilty do not directly contain the word "terrorism," they involved his activities in support of a conspiracy against the United States.

    Bassam Khafagi pleaded guilty to bank and visa fraud charges in September 2003, after his arrest and indictment earlier that year. "At the time of his arrest," the Associated Press reported, "he was community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations."

    Khafagi also served as a founding member and president of the Islamic Assembly of North America. That group was investigated on charges of money laundering and recruiting terrorists over the Internet and the FBI raided its offices in February 2003.

    Trying to put the best face on the situation once again, Awad claimed in Senate testimony, "Khafagi was never an ‘employee' of CAIR," but rather an "independent contractor for CAIR."

    Among other CAIR officials:

    • Nabil Sadoun, currently on CAIR's board and chair of CAIR-Texas, helped found the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). While there has been no criminal prosecution of the UASR, Sadoun founded it along with Hamas leader Marzook. Internal records show the UASR was a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee in America. Federal prosecutors say that committee's "designed purpose was to support Hamas."

    Sadoun also co-founded the Muslim American Youth Association. MAYA's conferences, many of which it co-sponsored with IAP, have long supported Hamas.

    • Mohammad El-Mezain, the former chairman and director of endowments for HLF, conducted fundraising at a 2004 CAIR-New York event, soliciting over $100,000 for CAIR. He was indicted soon afterward for providing material support to Hamas. Acquitted of most counts against him in the HLF trial, he faces retrial on a charge of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group.

    • Rabih Haddad served as a fundraiser for CAIR's Ann Arbor chapter. He co-founded the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), one of the largest Islamic charities in the United States -- but one that the U.S. government has investigated of funding violent jihadism.

    In December 2001 the FBI raided GRF's headquarters and arrested Haddad, then its chairman, on a visa violation. He was deported to Lebanon after an immigration judge found that he presented "a substantial risk to the national security of the United States." The Treasury Department said Haddad had been a member of Makhtab Al-Khidamat, the precursor organization to Al Qaeda.


    Read more at: Part 3: Some CAIR Officials Convicted of Crimes, More Tied to Extremist Groups :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 4: CAIR Remains Apologist for Terrorist Hamas, Seeks To Silence Critics

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 27, 2008

    (note: The complete fourth installment in our series on CAIR can be found here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/113.pdf)

    To say that The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has contorted logic and language to avoid criticizing its early patron, the terrorist group Hamas, would be damning enough. But the full truth is even worse: CAIR and its leaders have, over the years, actively supported Hamas positions and regularly done their best to discredit critics of militant Islamic activity.

    Those ties with Hamas are at the center of today's installment in our examination of CAIR's history and activities.

    • CAIR's incorporator and current executive director, Nihad Awad, stated his position unequivocally in a 1994 symposium at Barry University in Florida. "I am in support of the Hamas movement," he declared.

    Awad also echoed Hamas' absolute rejection of Israel's right to exist, writing later that year to the American Muslim publication, The Message, that he hoped its use of the word "Israel" in an article had been "the result of an oversight" and that the magazine would "return to the terminology ‘Occupied Palestine' to refer to that Holy Land."

    • Awad repeatedly has sought to justify his pro-Hamas statements by contending that they came before the group had been designated by the United States government as a terrorist organization. That argument falls apart when one considers a long history of Hamas terrorist acts committed before the 1995 designation -- acts that included the stabbing of five people in a Jerusalem market in 1989 and of a Jewish seminary student in 1992, and the bombing of busses in 1993 and 1994, killing 14 and wounding dozens more.

    Indeed, U.S. government condemnation had come as early as 1992, when the State Department found "various elements of HAMAS have used both political and violent means including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian State in place of Israel…Other elements, operating clandestinely, have advocated and used violence to advance their goals."

    • CAIR questioned the 1995 executive order labeling Hamas as a terrorist group. Said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper: "We've been fearing something like this for a long time because there have been elements in the pro-Israeli lobby accusing Muslim groups of raising money for these kinds of purposes, with no evidence whatsoever of diversion of funds."

    • Direct statements of support for Hamas continued even after that 1995 designation. Ghazi Khankan, then executive director of CAIR-NY, told an audience at a 2001 event, "The people of Hamas who direct their attacks on the Israeli military are in the correct position."

    In Khankan's mind, legitimate "military" targets included any Israeli past his eighteenth birthday. "Anyone [in Israel] over eighteen is automatically inducted into the service and they are all reserves. Therefore, Hamas in my opinion looks at them as part of the military. Those who are below 18 should not be attacked," he reasoned.

    • The Washington Post reported that Hooper responded to a 2001 Anti-Defamation League request for a statement directly condemning Hamas by saying, "It's not our job to go around denouncing, that when they say jump, we say how high."

    • Asked in a 2003 deposition whether he supported Hamas, Omar Ahmad -- a CAIR incorporator -- responded, "It depends. Qualify ‘support.'" Asked whether he had "ever taken a position with respect to… [Hamas'] ‘martyrdom attacks,'" Ahmad responded, "No."

    CAIR seemingly reserves its condemnation for anyone who fails to share its affection for Hamas, or any media outlet that dares refer to militant Islamic activity. For example:

    • In 1997, it assailed the U.S. government for failing to investigate and "seek justice" for the death of Ahmed Hamida, an Arab-American terrorist killed by Israeli civilians after deliberately driving his car into a group of Israelis waiting at a Jerusalem bus stop. It described Ahmed as an innocent "Palestinian-American Muslim" -- even after Hamas had taken credit for the attack.

    • It has condemned as "anti-Muslim" a wide range of publications, including The New Republic, US News & World Report, The Atlantic Monthly (for an article about the militant Islamic rule and oppression in Sudan), The Dallas Morning News (for exposing the Hamas infrastructure in Texas), The Reader's Digest (for describing the repression of Christians by Communist regimes and Islamic extremists), The Tampa Tribune (for exposing the Islamic Jihad infrastructure in Tampa), The Weekly Reader's Current Events (for featuring a story on international terrorism) and even The Journal of the American Medical Association (for an article about the victims of terrorism).

    • It conducted a two-year campaign aimed at Paramount Pictures, ultimately succeeding in having the terrorists in the film, "The Sum of All Fears," portrayed as neo-Nazis rather than Arabs as originally intended.

    • It attacked columnist Nat Hentoff, a consistent advocate of human rights and free expression, for a pair of columns criticizing Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and others for failing to speak out against slavery in Sudan and Mauritania. Hooper wrote, "Perhaps this hesitancy results from a reluctance to indulge in politically and religiously motivated sensationalism that plays on and amplifies existing Islamophobic tendencies in Western society."


    Read more at: Part 4: CAIR Remains Apologist for Terrorist Hamas, Seeks To Silence Critics :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 5: Quick To Defend Alleged Terrorists, CAIR Even Questioned Al Qaeda 9/11 Role

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 28, 2008

    (Note: To see today's complete dossier installment, click here: www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/116.pdf)

    CAIR's soft spot for terrorists extends well beyond the Hamas connections documented in yesterday's installment in this comprehensive series on the group. Today we focus on its portrayal of virtually any law enforcement action against radical elements as an assault on all American Muslims.

    • Days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, CAIR-New York Executive Director Ghazi Khankan used an online chat with the Washington Post to launch a weeks-long campaign casting them as part of a conspiracy to discredit Muslims. Citing spurious evidence, he claimed that "many of the names of the terrorists are people impersonating innocent Muslims and Arabs."

    CAIR pushed Khankan's misidentification theory in an October 2001 statement, speculating that three of the 19 suspected ‘hijackers' were still alive in the Middle East and asking, "Who is impersonating these three Muslim Arabs? Why are Muslim Arabs been (sic) implicated in this terrorism? And, who could ‘benefit' from this horrific tragedy?"

    • CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper similarly hesitated to blame Al Qaeda. "We condemn the attacks on the buildings,'" he told Salon.com, adding, "If Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name." Asked why he qualified the response, Salon.com reported, "Hooper said he resented the question."

    • As late as June 2005, CAIR-Canada Advisory Board Member Jamal Badawi questioned responsibility for 9/11. Calling the attacks "un-Islamic" and declaring, "I strongly condemn" them, he told the Saudi Gazette it had not yet been confirmed who was actually behind the actions. And at an August 2005 "Know Your Rights" workshop sponsored by CAIR-San Diego, invited speaker Randall Hamud responded to an audience member's comment that there was "still no evidence that Muslims carried out 9/11" by saying, "Maybe a hundred years from now we'll find that out."

    Meanwhile, CAIR pursued its consistent opposition to U.S. government prosecution of alleged terrorist financiers and supporters. Thus, for example:

    • When the founder and the imam of the Masjid As-Salam mosque in Albany, N.Y. were indicted in 2004 on charges of taking part in what they thought was a plot to buy shoulder-fired missiles and to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat, CAIR warned that such sting operations could be used to "smear Muslims and to demonize Islam." Both men were convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for their role in the plot.

    • Three members of a jihad network in Northern Virginia charged in September 2003 with conspiracy to wage war against the United States and conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda were convicted the following March and sentenced, respectively, to life in prison, 85 years and 97 months. CAIR called the sentences "draconian" and cited a "near universal perception in the Islamic community" that the men never would have been charged had they not been Muslims.

    • Spokesman Hooper roundly condemned the government's December 2001 action in shutting down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) for allegedly funneling money to Hamas. He told Cox News the move was "ill-advised and counter-productive" because "the only specific accusation is that [HLF funds] feed the orphans of suicide bombers along with hundreds of other children."

    Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-Southern California executive director, appeared on CNN to say that targeting "the most trusted and largest Islamic charitable organization in the U.S…. sends a wrong message to Muslims all over the world, basically, that Israel gets to dictate our foreign policy."

    • Enaam Arnaout, executive director of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) was charged with perjury in April 2002 for stating under oath that BIF -- accused of giving financial support to Al Qaeda -- did not support terrorism. CAIR spokesman Jason Erb said the action "really makes American Muslims feel that they are not going to get a fair shake in the justice system," while Hooper accused the government of using "backhanded legal technicalities." In February 2003, Arnaout pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy.

    • In September 2001 the FBI raided the offices of Infocom, a computer export company, in an action that was to lead to indictments the following year of the company and its officers on charges of illegally sending computer equipment to Libya and Syria and engaging in financial transactions with Mousa Abu Marzook, a Specially Designated Terrorist.

    CAIR joined in a statement blaming Israel. "American Muslims view yesterday's action as just one of a long list of attempts by the pro-Israel lobby to intimidate and silence all those who wish to see Palestinian Muslims and Christians free themselves of a brutal Apartheid-like occupation," the statement read. "We believe the genesis of this raid lies not in Washington, but in Tel Aviv."

    Convictions of some of the defendants obtained in July 2004 prompted CAIR Dallas-Fort Worth to issue a statement casting the verdicts as evidence of "a growing disparity and climate of injustice for Muslims, who we feel are being selectively prosecuted and given unfair sentences precisely because they are Muslim or Arab."

    • In December 2004, a federal magistrate in Illinois held three American Muslim organizations -- HLF, IAP and the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI) -- as well as Hamas operative Mohammad Salah, liable in the 1996 death of David Boim. Boim, a 17-year-old New Yorker, was killed by a Hamas gunman while waiting for a bus in the West Bank town of Beit El. Yaser Tabbara, then CAIR-Chicago's executive director, declared the verdict a travesty of justice.

    • In August 1995, the Justice Department requested the arrest and extradition to Israel of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, whom Israel sought to prosecute for murder. CAIR leapt to his defense in a press conference at which Executive Director Nihad Awad called the case "politically motivated" and charged that "this campaign has been orchestrated to serve as a wedge between America and Islamic countries." Marzook was deported to Jordan in May 1997.

    • When University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian was charged in February 2003 with establishing and operating the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) network in the United States, CAIR alleged that his indictment was based on "political considerations." The group launched a lengthy, consistent and continuous defense. Hooper appeared on MSNBC's "Buchanan & Press" to complain that the charges were "politically motivated" and that "the entire controversy began with the attack dogs of the pro-Israel lobby going after Sami Al-Arian."

    Though Al-Arian was acquitted in 2005 of eight charges, with the jury deadlocked on nine others, he pled guilty the following April to "conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist." He also admitted to being "aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence."

    • After Fawaz Damra, imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was convicted in 2004 of concealing, on his citizenship application, his involvement in groups that advocated "violent terrorist attacks against Jews and others," CAIR-Ohio's executive director defended him as a "great interfaith leader in the Cleveland community." CAIR's defense came despite the fact that jurors in Damra's trial had been shown footage of a 1989 speech in which he said "terrorism and terrorism alone is the path to liberation."

    • Radical Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim was arrested on immigration violations in November 2004 based on Immigration and Customs Enforcement concerns that "his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations."

    CAIR-Southern California Executive Director Hussam Ayloush questioned the arrest, complaining, "The whole Muslim community today is under a microscope of scrutiny. Committing a mistake that would invite a slap on the wrist for anyone else could lead to prison or deportation for a Muslim." When Ghoneim agreed to leave the country voluntarily in December 2004, Ayloush called his departure "a dent in our civil rights struggle" and lamented the "high level of fear" in the community.


    Read more at: Part 5: Quick To Defend Alleged Terrorists, CAIR Even Questioned Al Qaeda 9/11 Role :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 6: CAIR Portrays "War on Terrorism" as Malicious "War on Islam"

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    March 31, 2008

    (Note: To read today's full installment, click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/117.pdf)

    "The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself," CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed declared at Washington's National Press Club in July 2007.

    But, in fact, CAIR officials and spokesmen have been peddling that same "new perception" ever since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. They have portrayed virtually every intervening prosecution of an alleged terrorist who is Muslim and every investigation of an alleged terrorist front group as an insidious attack on their religion.

    Today's sixth installment in IPT's detailed analysis of the self-proclaimed civil rights group focuses on its protestations that the war on terrorism amounts to a war on Islam.

    • CAIR and other Muslim groups issued a joint statement after the U.S. government froze the assets of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in December 2001, warning that the action "could create the impression that there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam." A CAIR press release issued the same month warned of "a drumbeat of anti-Muslim rhetoric from those who are taking advantage of the 9-11 tragedy to carry out their agenda of silencing our community and its leadership."

    • When authorities arrested CAIR-Texas founding board member Ghassan Elashi and others charged with illegally sending computer equipment to Libya and Syria and engaging in financial transactions with a Specially Designated Terrorist, a CAIR-Dallas press release expressed concern that "these charges result from what appears to be a ‘war on Islam and Muslims' rather than a ‘war on terror.'" The group worried, "We, as American Muslims are facing an uphill battle in defending our own government's foreign policy, as well as the, so-called, war on terrorism, while being targeted by our own law enforcement agencies."

    • Responding in June 2002 to a Department of Justice initiative to weed out suspected terrorists, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad asked, "What is next? Forcing American Muslims to wear a star and crescent as a means of identification for law enforcement authorities?"

    • In a February 2003 press release, Awad complained of alleged religious and ethnic profiling by the FBI; that same month he remarked in an IslamOnline.net live dialogue, "Now we see extremists, including the Christian Right and the pro-Israel lobby, carrying out a coordinated campaign against Islam and Muslims. The result of this is clearly apparent from the racist policies and practices being carried out by some branches of the U.S. government influenced by these groups."

    • At a January 2006 rally in Tampa in support of accused Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al-Arian, the Orlando Sentinel reported, "Awad said Al-Arian was the victim of a politically charged environment three years ago that resulted in the persecution of Muslims. ‘Is this about what we did or what we are?' said Awad.... ‘Most of these cases are done for political reasons…. I think the government is abusing the system.'"

    Al-Arian was to plead guilty three months later to his PIJ involvement, and to admit he was "aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence."

    • Also on the Islam-under-attack bandwagon was Omar Ahmad, chairman emeritus of CAIR National. Speaking at a CAIR fundraiser in October 2002, Ahmad said, "These people hated Islam…before September 11. They are using the opportunity of September 11 to detain Islam Muslims or find the problem and attack the foundations of Islam…We are under attack."

    • At another fundraiser in December 2003, Ahmad said, "Many of our civil liberties have been taken away since September 11 in the name of fighting terrorism. The process of marginalizing our community…is ongoing. A lot of media outlets, especially the right-wing outlets, are having a field day attacking Islam, attacking Muslims…"

    • Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR National, is quoted in a December 2001 Denver Post article as saying, "There has been a demonization of Islam." In a July 2003 Chicago Tribune article, he is reported as charging the Department of Justice with pursuing a "general policy of targeting Muslims because they are Muslims." Again, in a May 2004 New York Times article, Hooper is quoted, "I'd be surprised if there's a mosque in the country that hasn't come under scrutiny these days. It becomes the whole Kevin Bacon game -- no Muslim is more than six degrees away from terrorism."

    • When FBI Director Robert Mueller asked citizens in 2004 to be on the lookout for seven Muslim terrorism suspects, Hooper termed Mueller's call "part of the ‘round up the usual suspects' mentality," adding, "When you don't have any other leads, you gather up the Muslims."

    • Interviewed for a 2003 CNSNews.com story on hearings that Senators Charles Schumer and Jon Kyl had held on Wahhabi influence in America, Hooper commented, "elected representatives like Senator Schumer and Senator Kyl…are jumping on this issue in order to demonize all Muslim groups and all Muslims in America."

    • Other CAIR officials around the country -- heads of local groups from Ohio, to Florida, to Arizona, to California, as well as regional and national leaders -- have consistently made pointed charges of anti-Muslim bias. For example, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-Southern California, was quoted by the Associated Press in May 2004 as asserting that the United States had become the "new Saddam" and should "end this hypocrisy, this hypocrisy that we are better than the other dictator."


    Read more at: Part 6: CAIR Portrays "War on Terrorism" as Malicious "War on Islam" :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 7: CAIR Seeks To Define Away Threat Posed by Radical Islamists

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    April 1, 2008

    (Note: To read today's full installment click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/118.pdf)

    Jihad? Fatwa? Wahhabism? Islamist terrorism? All terms distorted or created by the U.S. government and media to stigmatize the Muslim religion and scare the public -- or so CAIR officials would have you believe.

    But their protestations ignore much evidence to the contrary available in radical Islamist writings, as well as statements by CAIR officials themselves intended for internal consumption.

    IPT's detailed examination of CAIR focuses today on its leaders' reassuring words, and places them in the context of reality.

    CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad sought to define away Islamic fundamentalism in an August 1998 interview on NPR's "Weekend Sunday." Said Awad, "You know, holy war is like fatwa, it's become a buzz word. And I think they're severely misunderstood. I don't see holy war as a concept in Islam, it is not, it does not exist …. Jihad means legitimate struggle." He listed what he termed "noble meanings" of jihad in Islam: A mother's effort to raise her children, a struggle against injustice, "an honest person who wants to get good life."
    Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR-Southern California, agreed in an April 2005 lecture at Chaffey College. "Jihad is the Arabic word for strive. Any struggle in a person's life, not just a Muslim's, is a jihad," Ayloush said. "Being a student is a jihad because you are striving to learn."

    But those, and other, reassuring definitions appeared to be aimed for public consumption. In contrast, when CAIR Chairman Omar Ahmad spoke at the 1999 IAP convention, he defined "jihad" as, in part, "to fight in the Way of Allah. To make war."

    CAIR rejected negative meanings ascribed to a broader range of words when teams taking part in a Muslim football tournament in California in 2004 chose names such as "Intifada," "Mujahedeen" and "Soldiers of Allah." As an article in The Washington Post described the teams' uniforms: "Intifada featured a man wearing a military helmet, his face -- save his eyes -- covered by a bandana. The Soldiers of Allah emblem showed a masked man in the act of firing a slingshot, and Mujahedeen's depicted a horse-borne figure in flowing robes, bearing a weapon on his shoulder."

    Responding to community protests, Sabiha Khan, communications director of CAIR's Southern California chapter, asserted: "These terms are basically very positive terms within the Muslim community and historically speaking…The popular definitions . . . are twisted. They're no longer what they mean, Islamically speaking."

    What of the term "Islamist terrorism"? CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper argued after release of the 9/11 Commission Report: "‘Islamist' is one of those hot-button terms that are ill-defined or not defined at all…They're basically saying this is a label for Muslims we don't like or agree with." And CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar wrote in the Dallas Morning News, "the term ‘Islamist terrorism' is nothing more than an oversimplification of our complex and kaleidoscopic national security paradigm."
    As for Wahhabism, Hooper in 2003 described it as "one of those terms which is invented to scare people about Muslim bogeymen," adding, "It's just all part of the extremely powerful right wing and their agenda right now to demonize Saudi Arabia and demonize anything associated with Saudi Arabia."

    Even as they created their own lexicon of meanings, CAIR officials downplayed reports that Saudi hate literature was being disseminated in U.S. mosques and a Saudi school in Virginia. Many of the documents cited in a 2005 Freedom House report on the subject advocated jihad, taught hatred of Jews and Shiite Muslims, or condemned democratic societies.

    Hooper told The Christian Science Monitor that most American Muslims could not read the documents because they do not understand Arabic, but that, in any event, "we can rely on the good judgment and common sense of Muslims to reject such thinking if they come across it."
    Reacting to discovery in the Dallas Central Mosque of a document stating, "We consider ourselves to be in a continuous war against the Zionist enemy in every way until we achieve the hopes of the Arab nation driving the occupier out," CAIR board member Nabil Sadoun condemned the researchers' methodology. He complained in a Dallas Morning News op-ed that the Freedom House report "fails to rise to the level of an objective, unbiased and academically worthy study."
    When U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes expressed concern about the Freedom House findings during a visit to Saudi Arabia later in 2005, CAIR charged that her remarks were based on a faulty study with an "inherent bias." Hooper said, "We don't agree that there is widespread literature of that kind in mosques in America."
    CAIR had similarly downplayed the July 2004 revelation that textbooks at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia were teaching first graders that Judaism and Christianity were false religions. Hooper told the Associated Press, "The fact that one sentence in one book, out of an entire curriculum, needs to be changed or clarified hardly justifies sweeping charges of extremism."
    Again, in May 2007, Hooper sought to minimize the importance of a new Pew Research Center survey showing that 26 percent of American Muslims under age 30 justified suicide bombings in defense of Islam and that 60 percent of respondents did not believe Muslims carried out the 9/11 attacks.

    Appearing on MSNBC, he accused interviewer Tucker Carlson of "cherry picking" a handful of negative responses from among many in the survey. Muslim American attitudes, he insisted, broadly "mirrored the views of people of all faiths in America.…Work hard to get ahead, send your kids to school."


    Read more at: Part 7: CAIR Seeks To Define Away Threat Posed by Radical Islamists :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 8: CAIR Has Backed Islamist Meetings, Denigrated Muslim Moderates

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    April 2, 2008

    (Note: To read today's full installment in our series on CAIR, click here - www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/119.pdf)

    CAIR has co-sponsored and taken part in multiple Islamist conferences in the United States, while at the same time condemning and seeking to censor more moderate Muslims.

    Those actions are described in today's installment in IPT's comprehensive 10-part series on the group. Among the highlights:

    In May 1998, CAIR co-sponsored with IAP, HLF, MAYA and others a rally at Brooklyn College where speakers spewed anti-Jewish rhetoric.

    Radical Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim -- denied entrance to Canada earlier in the year based on his membership in Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood -- told those attending that "…Allah says he who equips a warrior of Jihad is like the one makes Jihad himself," then led the audience in a song with the lyrics: "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."

    Despite the fact that a meeting program lists CAIR as a co-sponsor, group officials consistently have denied any role in the event. "As executive director of CAIR, I had never heard of this event, let alone authorize[d] sponsorship for it," Nihad Awad said in 2003 Senate testimony. Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper not only denied CAIR involvement in the event, but added, "I don't even know if that [rally] happened."

    In October 2000, CAIR co-sponsored another rally, this one in Washington D.C., at which participants voiced enthusiastic support for Hamas and Hizballah.

    Rally speaker Abdurahman Alamoudi said he had been "labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas," and asked, "Anybody supports Hamas here?" The crowd cheered. "I wish they would have added that I am also a supporter of Hizballah…anybody supports Hizballah here?" Alamoudi continued. The crowd cheered again.

    Alamoudi was to be sentenced to 23 years in jail in 2004, after pleading guilty to engaging in prohibited transactions with a foreign country and admitting his involvement in a plot, masterminded by Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi, to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

    CAIR sponsored a 1994 U.S. tour by Jordanian Islamist leader Bassam Alamoush, CAIR News reporting that the group had coordinated a series of meetings for him with U.S. government officials.

    During that U.S. tour, Alamoush called the killing of a Jew "a good deed." In a speech at a MAYA conference in Chicago, he told his audience, "Somebody approached me at the mosque [in Amman] and asked me, ‘if I see a Jew in the street, should I kill him?'" He paused, then answered the question: "Don't ask me. After you kill him, come and tell me. What do you want from me, a fatwa [legal ruling]? Really, a good deed does not require one."

    In 2002, CAIR-Austin scheduled a picnic featuring entertainment by Al Nojoum, a rabidly anti-Semitic band linked to Hamas.

    According to the indictment in the HLF case, skits and songs performed by Al-Sakhra -- Al Nojoum's previous name -- "advocated the destruction of the State of Israel and glorified the killing of Jewish people."

    While helping to provide a forum for the radicals, CAIR has sought to squelch moderate voices.

    Speaking at a State Department event in 1999, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani , chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, condemned radical Islamists and charged that extremists dominated the leadership of more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques.

    CAIR co-sponsored a statement that charged Kabbani had "put the entire American Muslim community under unjustified suspicion" with comments that "can jeopardize the safety and well-being of our community and hurt America itself by damaging its values of inclusiveness, fairness, and liberty."

    In 2001, CAIR went on the offensive against journalist and author Khalid Duran.

    Duran was about to release a book, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews, being published by the American Jewish Committee with the expressed goal of enhancing "understanding and mutual respect between Muslims and Jews."

    CAIR issued a press release that quoted Omar Ahmad as saying, "Any effort to deepen mutual respect between faiths must, at a minimum, avoid the kind of conspiracy theories that are Duran's stock-in-trade. A sincere attempt to build bridges of understanding would not focus on 'hot-button' issues that have so often been used to stereotype Islam and Muslims."

    Executive Director Awad derided Duran as "an author who has little credibility in the Muslim community."

    Shortly afterward, Sheik Abdel Moneim Abu Zant, a radical Muslim cleric in Jordan, declared Duran an apostate and called on U.S. Muslims to "unify against him," then became more specific and declared it lawful (halal) to shed his blood. Duran later accused CAIR of provoking such threats, saying its attack had led the sheik to "issue an appeal to Muslims, asking them to unite to kill me."

    In October 2004, a coalition of national Muslim groups, including the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism and the American Islamic Congress, met in Washington, D.C. to condemn terrorism and Islamic radicalism and support creation of a more pluralist Islamic faith.

    CAIR spokesman Hooper said such groups, while "free to reflect their viewpoint," did not represent mainstream American Islam. And, he said later, criticism from Muslims themselves was "providing others with an opportunity to advance an agenda that is hostile to the American Muslim community."


    Read more at: Part 8: CAIR Has Backed Islamist Meetings, Denigrated Muslim Moderates :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     
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    Part 9: Leaders' Statements Illustrate CAIR's Extremism, Anti-Semitism

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    April 3, 2008

    (Note: To read today's full installment, click here http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/120.pdf)

    Repeated statements by CAIR's leaders illustrate the group's extremist and anti-Semitic positions.

    Today's installment in the Investigative Project on Terrorism's detailed analysis of the self-proclaimed civil rights group, the ninth in a series, presents a compilation of those statements.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    • CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper is on record as supporting financial assistance to the families of "martyrs." Reporting in 2002 on tens of millions of dollars that Saudi Arabia had paid to the families of Palestinians killed or injured during the Intifada -- including the families of suicide bombers -- United Press International quoted Hooper as saying that the Islamic faith enjoins Muslims to take care of widows and especially orphans, and that the families of suicide bombers are just as needy as those killed by military attacks.

    Hooper was further quoted as challenging critics to "give us a list of Palestinian widows and orphans so Muslims can comply with dictates of not feeding the wrong people," and asking, "Are you supposed to penalize some child, some widow, because of what their father did or did not do?"

    • Hussam Ayloush, the director of CAIR-Southern California, has used the term "zionazi" to describe Israeli Jews. "Indeed," he wrote in e-mail correspondence, "the zionazis are a bunch of nice people; just like their nazi brethren! It is just that the world keeps making up lies about them! It is so unfair."

    • CAIR has routinely claimed that Jews control the U.S. government and push an anti-Muslim foreign policy. Executive Director Nihad Awad told a Muslim Students Association audience in 1998, for example, to ponder the Jewish origin of many Clinton administration officials.

    "Who is opposing the latest agreement with Iraq?" Awad asked. "Look at their names. Look at their ethnic, their ethnic or religious or racial background…. These are the same people who are pushing the United States to go to war on behalf of a third party, and they are the same people who are opposing the peace process," he said.

    At a "Meet Your Congressman" event two months later, Omar Ahmad, CAIR's founding chairman, declared that "Muslims in the U.S. are willing to be a catalyst to unite the Muslim world with Washington. It is the Israeli lobby that is demonizing Islam."

    Again, in August 2001, CAIR-NY circulated an open letter addressed to President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell asserting that "political intimidation by the domestic Zionist and pro-Israeli lobbying groups should never prevent the U.S., a ‘superpower,' from upholding the basic standards of international law and human rights."

    • On a web page that he published while a graduate student in the mid-1990s, Ahmed Rehab, now CAIR-Chicago's executive director, challenged Holocaust history, calling it "the established opinions of the able Jewish historians regarding the details of the holocaust." Non-Jews, he suggested, would be "less likely to be biased and non-objectively sympathetic."

    • CAIR has invited the Rev. William Baker, a neo-Nazi, to speak at multiple events, and attacked those, like the Anti-Defamation League, who pointed out Baker's history. In Theft of as Nation, published in 1982, Baker wrote that "all Jews who entered Palestine during the British Mandate from 1917 to 1948 and after the establishment of the state of Israel should return to the various countries of their origin" and also that the "Zionist state of Israel . . . should be dismantled and eventually eliminated."

    • CAIR has repeatedly defended Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a vehemently anti-Semitic leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar.

    The Associated Press quoted Qaradawi in 1998 as writing, "There should be no dialogue with these people [Israelis] except with swords," the Los Angeles Times in 2001 as referring to suicide bombings as "heroic martyrdom operations."

    Yet Ayloush referred to him as a "scholar" at the 2002 Orange County CAIR fundraiser. CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar echoed that characterization in a 2005 interview on MSNBC -- even after Qaradawi had ruled it a religious duty for Muslims to fight Americans in Iraq, including civilians -- and claimed that Qaradawi "has said unequivocally that people who commit suicide bombing… and acts of terror are completely outside the bounds of Islam."

    • CAIR officials been quoted as expressing their desire for establishment of an Islamic government in the United States.

    For example, the San Ramon Valley Herald reported Ahmad as telling a gathering of California Muslims in 1998, "The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." Although CAIR denied that Ahmad made the remark and claimed that it was seeking a retraction, the paper was never contacted.

    • CAIR has pursued free distribution of a Saudi-approved version of the Koran that the Los Angeles School district had banned from use in local schools as being anti-Semitic.

    • CAIR has consistently opposed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the normalization of relations between Israel and the Palestinians. In a 1999 interview, for example, Ahmad rejected the peace process as "a security arrangement in which the stronger party (Israel), backed by the U.S., is getting the most and the weaker party (Palestinians) are forced to accept whatever is thrown at them."
     
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    Part 10: CAIR Pushes Phony Charges of Anti-Muslim Hysteria, Hate Crimes

    by Steven Emerson
    IPT News
    April 4, 2008

    (To read today's final installment in its entirety, click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/121.pdf

    For links to the complete CAIR series, click here: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism)

    In a series of thorough and carefully documented articles, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has detailed the sinister side of the self-proclaimed Muslim civil rights group CAIR.

    Today's tenth and final installment takes a look at CAIR's persistent -- and often contrived -- charges of "hate crimes" perpetrated against Muslims and supposed "anti-Muslim hysteria" rampant in this country.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    • CAIR's annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States repeatedly has included, among what it considers to be acts of anti-Muslim discrimination, law enforcement investigations involving Muslims.

    • In its 2002 report, CAIR included the closure of HLF, GRF, and BIF and wrote, "Those who oppose the government closure of the charities believe the government violated the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights." The report also condemned the 2002 SAAR raids. CAIR wrote, "No criminal charges were filed and no evidence was produced to back up the government's actions…. In the view of many Muslims, what transpired was a form of collective punishment targeting Arabs and Muslims."

    • In advancing the notion that government policy has resulted in an undeserved backlash against ordinary Muslims, CAIR seeks to muster opposition to the anti-terror laws it finds objectionable.

    A June 2003 US News and World Reports column reasoned that CAIR and other groups "push the ‘bias' button so hard" because "the victim stance works," attracting attention in the media and Congress and raising large sums of money. "It encourages Muslims to feel angry and non-Muslims to feel guilty," the column noted, adding that "by pre-positioning all future criticism as bias, it tends to intimidate or silence even the most sensible critics."

    • When CAIR issued a similar report in 2003, the Justice Department called the group's claims irresponsible. "We're talking about unfair criticism based on a lot of misinformation and propaganda," a department spokesman told the Associated Press.

    • According to the FBI, CAIR has compromised potential hate crime prosecutions by ignoring requests to keep quiet about ongoing investigations.

    A spokesman for the Chicago FBI cited the 2005 case of a local Muslim family who received telephone death threats from an unidentified individual – a caller who could face felony charges if found. CAIR issued a press release even after the FBI asked it not to publicize the case, the spokesman said, and thus "compromised or impeded our investigation."

    Yaser Tabbara, then executive director of CAIR's Chicago office, said his organization issued a statement to make the FBI and other agencies "more responsive" and to put the matter "under spotlight." He added, "That makes them take this as seriously as we would want them to take it….We believe we did this in the best interest of the victim."

    • Many incidents that CAIR has labeled "hate crimes" have turned out to be dubious.

    In a July 2004 case, for example, a fire caused $50,000 in damage at a Pakistani-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. Firefighters found a gasoline can and a derogatory message directed toward Arabs spray-painted on a wall, and a white cross spray-painted on a refrigerator.

    Though police cautioned against hastily labeling the incident a hate crime, CAIR swiftly issued a press release that "called on local and national leaders to address the issue of growing Islamophobic prejudice following an arson attack on a Muslim-owned business in Washington State."

    The following month, police arrested the store's owner on a federal arson warrant that accused him of setting fire to the store to collect insurance on the building and its contents. Jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction at his 2006 trial; he subsequently was convicted of food stamp fraud and is scheduled for release in March 2008.

    Similarly, CAIR issued a press release in August 2004 calling on the FBI to investigate "an intentionally-set fire" at a Muslim-owned grocery store in McAllen, Texas. CAIR quoted the store owner, a U.S. resident of Jordanian origin, as saying the fire "followed two separate incidents in which unknown parties painted the phrase ‘Go Home' on the door of the store."

    CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper added, "If whoever set this fire was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, that person needs to be brought to justice before he or she can strike again."

    In September 2004, Amjad Abunar, the owner of the store, was arrested and charged with setting the fire himself. Abunar disappeared shortly before his December 2005 trial date and a bench warrant for his arrest remains in effect.

    • Even while railing against supposed civil rights abuses in the United States, CAIR is silent regarding human rights violations committed by Islamists, including severe restrictions on the rights of women under fundamentalist regimes in Iran and Sudan. Indeed, CAIR has attacked critical reports on this subject by The New York Times, CBS and anti-slavery groups and activists, attacking those who report the atrocities as being biased against Islam.

    In a March 1999 Internet posting, for example, CAIR attacked a New York Times article titled "Trip of Discoveries, Some Unhappy, in Iran," which had criticized Iranian practices of discrimination against women, including foreign visitors. CAIR asked readers to contact the reporter's supervisor or send a letter to the editor.

    • CAIR denies the existence of a well-documented slave trade in Sudan, and considers any reference to slavery in that country an affront to Islam, because it is governed by Islamic law.

    In 2000, CAIR's Hussam Ayloush asserted that it was "really stretching the situation away from the truth" to refer to "slavery raids by Muslims to enslave Christians." Such information, he said, was "coming out from certain groups from clear political agendas."


    Read more at: Part 10: CAIR Pushes Phony Charges of Anti-Muslim Hysteria, Hate Crimes :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
     

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