* Spokesman and co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations
* Wants “government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future”
* Downplays threat of Islamic extremism and declined to condemn Islamic terrorist groups
Ibrahim Hooper (formerly Doug Hooper) is a white American convert to Islam and one of the founders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). At present, he serves as a spokesman and “Director of Strategic Communications” for that organization. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in journalism & mass communication.
Hooper has candidly stated that while he does not endorse the violent tactics of Islamic radicals, he does share their desire to impose Islam on all of America. “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a 1993 interview. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Ten years later, in 2003, Hooper stated that if Muslims were ever to become a numerical majority in the U.S., they would likely seek to replace the Constitution with Islamic law (Sharia), which they view as divinely inspired and thus superior to all other legal systems.
In 1998 Hooper and CAIR denied Osama bin Laden‘s culpability for that year’s bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Despite the demonstrable links between the al Qaeda leader and the bombings, Hooper asserted that “a great deal of what happened is … due to misunderstandings on both sides.” Three years later, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Hooper again hedged on whether he thought bin Laden was responsible: “If Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name.” (Emphasis added)
Hooper attended an October 28, 2000 rally in Washington, DC, where Abdurahman Alamoudi, then-President of the American Muslim Federation, shouted to a cheering crowd: “We are all supporters of Hamas.” In the event’s aftermath, neither CAIR nor Hooper publicly criticized Alamoudi’s comment.
On March 17, 2001, Hooper spoke at a “Conference on Palestine” held at the University of Michigan. The event was co-sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Global Relief Foundation, the International Action Center, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and CAIR. Also speaking at the event was Stephen Sosebee, head of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The conference began with the screening of a video titled The New Uprising, a reference to the Second Palestinian Intifada against Israel.
In June 2001, Hooper helped organize a “sit-in” where a dozen leaders of various American Muslim groups demonstrated outside the U.S. State Department. American Muslim Council Director Ali Ramadan Abu Zakouk used the occasion to declare that suicide-bombing attacks on civilian targets were a “God-given right” for Muslims. When Hooper later was asked whether Zakouk’s assertion could be interpreted as a defense of terrorism, he claimed that he “did not hear” the statement. Videotape footage chronicling the event, however, clearly showed Hooper standing only a few feet away from Zakouk as he made the comments.
As the public voice of CAIR, Hooper has routinely characterized the U.S. government’s counterterrorism initiatives as threats to the civil rights of American Muslims. For example, when the Justice Department asked visa holders from Middle Eastern countries to voluntarily submit to interviews by American authorities in the wake of 9/11, Hooper complained that the request sent “a chill through the community” by unjustly perpetuating “racial and religious profiling of American Muslims and Arab-Americans.”
When the Washington Post in November 2001 asked Hooper if he would disavow the terrorist activities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he responded, “It’s not our job to go around denouncing.” He reprised the same theme in a 2002 interview with the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, refusing to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah because “we’re not in the business of condemning.” (By contrast, Hooper and CAIR have commonly condemned Israeli military strikes against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.)
When onetime Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian was indicted by the U.S. government in 2003, Hooper appeared on the cable television program Buchanan and Press to defend Al-Arian’s right to support “Islamic causes and the struggle of the Palestinian people to be free of Israeli occupation.” He portrayed Al-Arian as the blameless victim of an organized conspiracy by “attack dogs of the pro-Israel lobby” seeking to bring about the “Israelization of American policy and procedures.”
In 2004 Hooper said that after two decades of attending services at U.S. mosques, “I’ve never heard violence preached [therein]; I’ve never heard anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism preached.” On other occasions, however, he has contradicted that assertion to some degree, arguing that the extremism found in mosques, while real, is less dangerous than the threat posed by critics of radical Islam, especially those on conservative talk radio. “There is a difference with hate speech at your local mosque and talk radio that reaches millions,” says Hooper.
In a similar vein, Hooper equates conservative Christian televangelists such as Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, and the late Jerry Falwell with Islamic terrorists — claiming that if given the opportunity, such individuals would commit mass murder against Muslims.
During Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah (in Lebanon), Hooper said: “Our [American] government must end its support for Israel’s campaign of terror in Lebanon and join an international effort to protect and bring humanitarian aid to the civilian population of that devastated nation.”
In September 2006 Hooper stated publicly that CAIR did not “take money from the government of Saudi Arabia.” Contrary to that claim, however, CAIR’s ideological and financial connections to the Saudi Wahhabi establishment are numerous and well documented.
In late November 2006, shortly after airport police in Minneapolis had forcibly removed six Muslim imams from a U.S. Airways plane because of their bizarre behavior just before takeoff, Hooper said: “Unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time.” It was later learned that one of the imams was affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and had developed a connection to Osama bin Laden during the 1990s.
In the aftermath of the U.S. Airways incident, CAIR filed a lawsuit against both the airline and the passengers who had complained about the six imams’ suspicious behavior. In response to the suit, Republican congressmen Peter King and Steven Pearce crafted an amendment (which ultimately was passed by the House of Representatives) granting legal immunity to citizens who, in good faith, report suspicious behavior to authorities. Hooper nonetheless defended the CAIR lawsuit and suggested that the passengers in question had exhibited “malicious intent” by demanding that the imams be deplaned.
In December 2007, CAIR produced a media guide to “disabuse journalists of misinformation” about Islam. According to Hooper, his organization had developed this publication because the negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the media was “one of the hot-button issues for American Muslims and Muslims worldwide.”
On January 3, 2012, Hooper published a column suggesting that in the New Year journalists should refrain from using the term “Islamist,” which generally refers to Muslims who interpret and apply Islam as a political ideology rather than merely as a spiritual faith. Complaining that news reports unfairly focus on Islamists, Hooper noted that there are no news reports of “Christianist,” “Hinduist,” or “Judaist” political leaders. He further insisted that the word “Islamist” is used almost always “pejoratively” by “Islamophobic groups and individuals” who link the word to terrorism, persecution of religious minorities, and human rights violations committed in the name of Islam. According to hooper, such “bigoted attacks” unfairly target Islam because they are not equally hurled at other faiths.
Hooper went on to claim that often the word “Islamist” is used by “Islam-bashers” who “disingenuously” claim to hate only political Islam, while deep in their hearts they hate all Islam. As proof of his assertion, he accused the alleged Islamophobes of failing to explain how a practicing Muslim can be politically active without attracting the label “Islamist.” After all, he wrote, Muslims who wish to serve the “public good” and are merely “influenced” by their faith are tarred with the label “Islamist.” He claimed that such individuals want only to work for the “welfare of humanity and to be honest and just,” and if that same inspiration had emanated from the Bible instead of the Quran, they would be deemed “good Samaritans.”