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Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Profile

By Stand4Facts.org
 
Overview

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as a "non-profit, grassroots membership organization…established to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America," [1] and to protect Muslims from hate crimes and discrimination. According to the council's spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, "We are similar to a Muslim NAACP."[2] CAIR has further explained that it is "dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public."[3]

Although CAIR's main activities are on the national political scene and not directly on campuses, it does support pro-Palestinian groups and frequently participates in anti-Israel and peace rallies.[4] CAIR presents itself as a legitimate Congressional lobby, attempting to function within the context of American values. Since CAIR promotes itself as an organization that protects rights of oppressed Muslims, many people consider it a respectable group (Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich even attended a recent CAIR fundraiser.)[5] It supports Muslim civic participation, civil rights and is a hate-crime watchdog. CAIR even had a series of pro-American-Muslim ads on American television. Despite its attempt to portray itself as a champion of Muslim civil rights, CAIR espouses radical views and has publicly endorsed radical militant Islamic groups around the world. According to many terrorism experts, CAIR is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism. Consider some of CAIR's positions:

CAIR has strong ties to the terrorist group Hamas:

  • "[CAIR] was formed not by Muslim religious leaders throughout the country, but as an offshoot of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). Incorporated in Texas, the IAP has close ties to Hamas and has trumpeted its support for terrorist activities."[6] Former chief of the FBI's counter terrorism section, Oliver Revell, called the IAP "a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants."[7]

  • CAIR's head, Nihad Awad asserted at a 1994 meeting at Barry University, "I am a supporter of the Hamas movement."[8]

  • Former FBI counter terrorism chief, Steven Pomerantz, stated publicly that, "CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups."[9]

CAIR promotes extremist views and a radical Islamic vision:

  • At a speech in Fremont, California, Omar M. Ahmad of CAIR proclaimed that, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran…should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."[10]

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper equates Christian leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart with Osama bin Laden because he claims that given the chance, they would commit mass murder against Muslims. "They're the equivalent of our Osama bin Laden," Hooper told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg. When asked to clarify if Osama bin Laden's goal was to kill Christians, Jews and Westerners, Hooper responded, "Yes, that's one of his goals. And I'm sure that, given the right circumstance, [Falwell, Robertson and Swaggart] would do the same in the opposite direction."[11]

  • CAIR is an apologist for convicted Islamic terrorists:

  • CAIR's founder, Nihad Awad, wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the 1994 World Trade Center trial, which ended in the conviction of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, was "a travesty of justice." According to Awad -- and despite the confessions of the terrorists from the 1993 attack -- "there is ample evidence indicating that both the Mossad and the Egyptian Intelligence played a role in the explosion."[12]

  • On Feb. 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments. Yet CAIR deems him "one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America" and includes him on its advisory board.[13]

CAIR is reluctant to condemn terrorists and terrorism:

  • In October 1998, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as "the sworn enemy," finding this depiction "offensive to Muslims."[14]

  • In 1998, CAIR denied bin Laden's responsibility for the two Al Queda African embassy bombings. According to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, the bombings resulted from a "misunderstandings of both sides." [15]

CAIR supports organizations that fund terrorism:

  • When President Bush closed the Holy Land Foundation in December 2001 for collecting money that intelligence found was "used to support the Hamas terror organization," CAIR decried his action as "unjust" and "disturbing.[16]



[1] http://www.cair-net.org/asp/aboutcair.asp

[2] http://www.meforum.org/article/pipes/394/

[3] http://www.cair-net.org/asp/aboutcair.asp

[4] http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1100/emerson.asp

[5] http://www.kucinich.us/supporter_resources/otherpdfs/MuslimCasefordk.pdf

[6] Emerson, Steve. "Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years After the World Trade Center Bombing." Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, 24 February 1998.

[7] http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33582

[8] Steve, Emerson. "Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years After the World Trade Center Bombing." Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, 24 February 1998.

[9] http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32242

[10] Gardner, Lisa. "American Muslim Leader Urges Faithful to Spread Islam's Message." San Ramon Valley Herald. 4 July 1998.

[11] http://www.mewsmax.com/archive/print.shtml?a=2002/11/19/143517

[12] http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/26/muslims/print.html

[13] http://www.hvk.org/articles/0402/176.html

[14] http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/417

[15] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/681197/posts

[16] http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/417

Organization Background

The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Washington D.C. based, nationally active Muslim advocacy organization. Founded in 1994, its stated goal is to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America" and to present an "Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public."[1] According to national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR is "similar to a Muslim NAACP." [2]

Initially, CAIR succeeded. It formed 24 chapters in the US and one in Canada,[3] and it seemed to be accepted in mainstream politics. It became a frequent guest at official State Department and White House events. [4] When the Clinton White House began actively reaching out to the Muslim community in 1996, it often included CAIR in its guest list, along with MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council), AMC (the American Muslim Council) and AMA (the American Muslim Alliance).[5] Just after 9/11, when the Bush administration hurried to reassure American Muslims that Islam was not the target of the war on terrorism, it included CAIR in its invitation to the White House.[6]

Despite this recognition, CAIR’s mainstream image had begun to crack within a few years of its founding. When terrorism expert Steve Emerson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1998, he warned that CAIR was a radical Islamist group.[7] Reports also surfaced that CAIR received funding from Saudi Arabia-in 1999, the Saudi’s Islamic Development Bank granted CAIR $250,000 to buy land in Washington DC to build its headquarters.[8]

According to Muslim moderates and many terrorism experts, CAIR often rallies behind radical Islamic organizations and uses fundamentalist rhetoric. Muslim scholar and author Khalid Durán charged that CAIR is "an Islamic front" and that it did not represent American Muslims: "scarcely 10 percent of American Muslims can be classified as Islamists-the extremist fringe of contemporary Islam. An additional 5 percent are sympathizers, and another 5 percent agree with Islamists on certain issues."[9]

According to Durán, CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) and "the principle front organization of a coalition of Islamist (or fundamentalist Muslim) groups that have taken root in America over the past two decades"[10] (see MPAC). Many of these IAP spin-off groups have come under federal investigation due to their close ties to terrorist organizations.[11] Former FBI counter terrorism chief Oliver "Buck" Revell called the Islamic Association For Palestine, "a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants." [12] On Sep 17, 2003, U.S. Senator Schumer publicly stated that prominent members of CAIR- specifically Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed-have "intimate links with Hamas." Later, he remarked that, "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism." [13]

CAIR’s most prominent leaders are Ibrahim Hooper, an African-American convert to Islam, and Nihad Awad, a Palestinian and former employee of IAP.

Founded a mere decade ago, CAIR has already come under legal scrutiny. Federal prosecutors began investigating it and its leaders for illegal operations and suspected ties to terrorist groups. For example, CAIR's former community affairs director, Bassem K. Khafagi, was arrested January 2003 and pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud.[14] Federal investigators said a group Khafagi founded, the Islamic Assembly of North America,had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States.[15] (At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was still Community Affairs director with CAIR.[16] ) Furthermore, Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of the Texas chapter of CAIR, was indicted Dec. 17, 2002, in the northern district of Texas for engaging in financial transactions with Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook.[17]

Although CAIR’s agenda seems to focus predominantly on spreading Islam within the United States, it nonetheless relentlessly opposes the existence of the state of Israel, calling it a "racist country and state."[18] CAIR’s official position on terrorism remains ambivalent at best, as spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in a Pittsburg Post-Gazette interview refused to denounce the terrorist actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, stating, "we’re not in the business of condemning."[19] However, CAIR was quick to condemn Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader and terrorist mastermind Sheik Yassin, saying it "condemned the assassination of a wheelchair-bound Palestinian Muslim religious leader," calling the operation "an act of state terror."[20]

Even during the optimistic years of the Oslo Accords, CAIR’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israel positions were highly pronounced. In 1994, CAIR founder and executive director, Nihad Awad declared that before the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority he "used to support the PLO," but that now he was "in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO;" [21] implying that he supports the destruction of Israel by force alone, and rejects negotiations aimed at peaceful coexistence. In 1998, CAIR also co-hosted a rally at Brooklyn College where Islamic militants exhorted the attendees to carry out "jihad" and described Jews as "pigs and monkeys."[22] The crowd reportedly chanted: "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."[23] Ironically, CAIR called the conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who planned to blow up New York City landmarks, a "hate crime" against Muslims,[24] yet graciously coordinated a series of meetings for Bassam Alamoush, a Jordanian Islamic militant who told a Chicago audience in December of that year that killing Jews was "a good deed."[25]

Furthermore, outspoken advocates of moderate Islam and critics of militant Islam such as Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Khalid Durán have also come under ferocious attack from the group as being enemies of Islam or Islamophobes. In fact, as a result of CAIR’s bitter attack on Durán, a militant Islamic leader in Jordan put out an edict calling for his death, one which CAIR denied ever occurred-- let alone refused to condemn.[26] The group also relentlessly opposed noted Islamic expert Daniel Pipes’ appointment to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. CAIR spearheaded the efforts that labeled Pipes a bigot and an extremist. Pipes was later personally appointed by the Bush administration.[27]

While CAIR members are not frequent guest speakers on campus, they do help organize rallies and on occasion receive invitations to speak. The Muslim Student Association of Rensselaer University in New York invited CAIR’s executive director in Canada, Riad Saloojee, to speak at their Muslim Awareness Week event in February 2004. The student Republicans threatened to demonstrate and expose CAIR’s positions. The lecture was subsequently cancelled.[28]



[1] http://www.cair-net.org/asp/aboutcair.asp

[2] http://www.meforum.org/article/pipes/394/

[3] CAIR website at http://www.cair-net.org/asp/chapters.asp

[4] http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/043ggnhm.asp

[5] Steve Emerson, "Hillary and Hamas," Wall Street Journal, November 3 2000 at http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=65000531

[6] Robert Daguillard, "Unholy Fundraising," National Review, December 6 2001 at http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-daguillardprint120601.html

[7] Steven Emerson, "Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years after the World Trade Center Bombing ." Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, 24 February 1998.

[8] Cited in Daniel Pipes, "CAIR’s Saudi Masters," July 5 2003, archived at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/36

[9] Khalid Duran, "How CAIR Put My Life in Peril," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at http://www.meforum.org/article/108/

[10] Khalid Duran, "How CAIR Put My Life in Peril," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at http://www.meforum.org/article/108/

[11] Emerson, Steve. "Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years After the World Trade Center Bombing." Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, 24 February 1998 archived at http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/6453/emerson.html

[12] http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33582

[13] Evan McCormick, "A Bad Day for CAIR," Front Page Magazine, September 24 2003 at http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9981

[14] Evan McCormick, "A Bad Day for CAIR," Front Page Magazine, September 24 2003 at http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9981

[15] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,96946,00.html

[16] http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35883

[17] http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35883

[18] David Koenig, "Muslim Groups Protest FBI Raid of Internet Business Suspected of Terrorist Ties," AP Report, 9/6/2001, archived at http://lists.microshaft.org/pipermail/dmca_discuss/2001-September/000184.html

[19] Rachel Smolkin, "Muslim Lobbies Fully Mobilized Since Sept. 11," Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 10 February 2002. Archived at: http://www.pittsburgpost-gazette.com/headlines/20020210islamlobby0210p3.asp

[20] http://www.cair.com/asp/article.asp?id=1051&page=NR

[21] http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/26/muslims/print.html

[22] http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1100/emerson.asp

[23] http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1100/emerson.asp

[24] http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=6473

[25] http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/26/muslims/index2.html

[26] Khalid Duran, "How CAIR Put My Life in Peril," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at http://www.meforum.org/article/108/

[27] http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/043ggnhm.asp

[28] "College Students Win Battle Against CAIR," March 2004 at http://www.anti-cair-net.org/press_011_04



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