The Truth About CAIR

CAIR poster


A civil rights organization?

The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is routinely presented in the mainstream media as a civil rights organization. Its consistent pattern of encouraging Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement is never mentioned. Reporters citing CAIR as a source or authority almost always fail to mention that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. During that case, a captured internal document of the Muslim Brotherhood was released, naming CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine, as one of its allied groups, and explaining that the mission of Brotherhood groups in the U.S. was “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented. Its California chapter distributed the poster above telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI, and its officials have told Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement:

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Interfering with counter-terror efforts

Worst of all, when federal investigators began looking into the disappearances of Somali Muslim men in Minnesota, and it turned out that they had returned to Somalia to wage jihad with the al Qaeda-linked group al Shabaab, Muslims who opposed this jihad accused CAIR of hindering the investigation and trying to prevent from them speaking with law enforcement officials.

In June 2009, a Somali Muslim named Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew, Burhan Hassan, was killed in Somalia, held a protest against CAIR in Minneapolis, denouncing it for encouraging Muslims not to speak with the FBI. “We don’t want anyone to come into our community and tell us to shut up,” said Bihi. “Law enforcement will not be able to do anything without information from the community.” Protesters chanted, “CAIR out! Doublespeak out!” Another protester, Osman Ahmed, said he and other relatives of Burhan Hassan thought CAIR, for all its claims of moderation, was actually on the side of the jihadists: “They are supporting the groups we suspect of recruiting our kids. We refuse to be silent.”

Bihi later told the House Committee on Homeland Security that “CAIR held meetings for some members of the community and told them not to talk to the FBI, which was a slap in the face for the Somali American Muslim mothers who were knocking on doors day and night with pictures of their missing children and asking for the community to talk to law enforcement about what they know of the missing kids.”

CAIR’s interference bore bitter fruit in late September 2013, when al-Shabaab jihadists, including several Muslims from the United States, stormed an upscale mall in Nairobi and murdered upwards of seventy people, after freeing the Muslims and declaring that they only wanted to kill non-Muslims. In a case of spectacularly poor timing, just two days before the massacre CAIR released a report on “Islamophobia” entitled Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States, in which it harshly criticized Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for holding a series of hearings on Muslim radicalization in the United States, including one on al Shabaab recruitment in America. “In his opening statement for the hearing,” the CAIR report said, “King cited an incident in Minneapolis, saying, ‘When one cleric spoke out against al-Shabaab
inside the Minneapolis mosque where many of the missing young Somali-American men had once worshiped, he was physically assaulted, according to police.’

This statement is noteworthy as it continued King’s line of factually inaccurate attacks on the Muslim community.” The report complained that King had painted Somali Muslims in Minneapolis as uncooperative with investigators, when in fact, it said, “law enforcement officials had indicated a Somali community in Minnesota that was concerned and helpful” – an ironic charge given how angry Somali Muslims who wanted to help law enforcement were toward CAIR for trying to stop them.

Abdirizak Bihi lamented after the Kenya mall jihad murders: “I tried to warn America,” but CAIR worked hard to stop him, even calling him an “Islamophobe” in their September 2013 report on “Islamophobia.” Bihi echoed numerous other foes of CAIR in explaining their tactics: “They say that I am a bad person, that I am anti-Muslim, and that I don’t represent a hundred percent the Somali community. They lie about my life most of the time and try to destroy my character, my capability, and my trust in the community.”

Faking hate crimes to promote the “Islamophobia” myth

CAIR has even to fabricate anti-Muslim hate crimes in order to support its case that Islamophobia is rampant (and caused in large part by counter-terror analysis). There were at least six incidents falsely described as hate crimes in CAIR’s 2004 report on such crimes. These included “the July 9, 2004 case of apparent arson at a Muslim-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington,” in which “investigators quickly determined that Mirza Akram, the store’s operator, staged the arson to avoid meeting his scheduled payments and to collect on an insurance policy. Although Akram’s antics had already been exposed as a fraud, CAIR continues to list this case as an anti-Muslim hate crime. In another incident, a Muslim-owned market was burned down in Texas in August 2004. Although the Muslim owner was arrested the following month for having set the fire himself, CAIR included the case in its report.
Unsavory beginnings
Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, two officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) (a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group) founded CAIR in 1994. The federal government shut down the IAP in 2005 as a Hamas front.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service reported in 2001 that the IAP was so close to its parent organization that it published and distributed Hamas communiqués on its own letterhead, “as well as other written documentation to include the HAMAS charter and glory records, which are tributes to HAMAS’ violent ‘successes.’” Oliver Revell, a former chief of the FBI’s counter-terrorism department, called the IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”

CAIR officials convicted of jihad terror activity

It comes as no surprise, then, that several CAIR officials have been convicted of participating in violent jihad activities. Randall Todd (“Ismail”) Royer, CAIR’s former communications specialist and civil rights coordinator, participated in the “Virginia jihad group,” which was indicted on forty-one counts of “conspiracy to train for and participate in a violent jihad overseas.” Royer is now serving a twenty-year prison sentence after a plea bargain that had him pleading guilty to lesser charges.

Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, is likewise now in prison for jihad activity. In 2009, he was sentenced to sixty-five years in prison for funneling over $12 million in charitable contributions to Hamas while serving as head of the Holy Land Foundation. Other former CAIR officials have been convicted of jihad terror activities as well, raising the question of how this supposedly moderate group failed so abysmally to distinguish “moderates” from “extremists.”

CAIR itself was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. The organization not only facilitated donations to the Holy Land Foundation, but also received money from it – no less than half a million dollars. CAIR cofounder Nihad Awad vehemently denied this when terror researcher Steven Emerson confronted him: “This is an outright lie. Our organization did not receive any seed money from the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR raises its own funds and we challenge Mr. Emerson to provide even a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claim.” Emerson then published an image of the canceled check.

Yet despite its connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the terror convictions of several of its former officials, and its virtually unanimous opposition to counter-terror laws, investigations, and other initiatives, CAIR remains widely respected. Nearly everyone (particularly in Washington) assumes that it is exactly what it says it is: a Muslim civil rights organization, working for the rights of Muslims in the U.S. and deeply loyal to Constitutional principles and freedoms. The organization’s website features testimonials from congressmen and senators of both parties, as well as security and military officials, testifying to how the organization has surpassed even al-Qaeda financier and former leading Washington “moderate” Abdurrahman Alamoudi in its deceptiveness.

The foolish and wrongheaded support for CAIR cuts across all political and ideological lines. The CAIR website even carries a testimonial from Bill O’Reilly: “Number one, it’s not fair of to you criticize CAIR, OK? Because CAIR isn’t fostering any kind of jihad, as far as I know.”
The U.S. government agrees, despite the Justice Department’s earlier designation of CAIR as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land case. In July 2010, the State Department sent the Executive Director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, Dawud Walid, to Bamako, Mali to try to foster “sustained interaction” between the U.S. and Mali. While in Mali, Walid sounded CAIR’s familiar notes of Muslim victimhood, claiming that “American Muslims have been subjected to increased discrimination from racial and religious profiling by law enforcement.”
If the U.S. is going to prevail against jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism, the influence and power of CAIR must be halted, and CAIR itself must be prosecuted.

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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]







[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.


[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.


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







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]




[3] CAIR website at


[5] Steve Emerson, “Hillary and Hamas,” Wall Street Journal, November 3 2000 at

[6] Robert Daguillard, “Unholy Fundraising,” National Review, December 6 2001 at

[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

[9] Khalid Duran, “How CAIR Put My Life in Peril,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at

[10] Khalid Duran, “How CAIR Put My Life in Peril,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at

[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


[13] Evan McCormick, “A Bad Day for CAIR,” Front Page Magazine, September 24 2003 at

[14] Evan McCormick, “A Bad Day for CAIR,” Front Page Magazine, September 24 2003 at




[18] David Koenig, “Muslim Groups Protest FBI Raid of Internet Business Suspected of Terrorist Ties,” AP Report, 9/6/2001, archived at

[19] Rachel Smolkin, “Muslim Lobbies Fully Mobilized Since Sept. 11,” Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 10 February 2002. Archived at:







[26] Khalid Duran, “How CAIR Put My Life in Peril,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, archived at


[28] “College Students Win Battle Against CAIR,” March 2004 at