The Truth About CAIR – The Council on American-Islamic Relations

The Truth About CAIR

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 is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR officials 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 about how Islamic law should be imposed in the U.S. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story.) CAIR chapters frequently distribute pamphlets telling Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented and has been declared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush in 2017 called for the overthrow of the U.S. government. CAIR’s national outreach manager is an open supporter of Hamas.

In April 2019, it was revealed that Sadiqq Abu Osman, who states that he is CAIR Minnesota’s Government Affairs Coordinator, wrote this in 2008: “fuck isreal [sic]! Stupid jewish motherfuckers! man i wish hitler was alive to fuck up the jewish ppl and add more to the 6 million he killed in the holocaust”

The Truth About CAIR

Interfering with counter-terror efforts

In July 2019, with CAIR’s backing, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) targeted the FBI terror database. CNS News reported that Omar “and ten other House Democrats have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, requesting information about how information from the FBI-administered terrorist watchlist is shared with foreign governments – including governments with poor human rights records. In doing so, she pointed to the support of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a sometimes controversial group that has mounted legal challenges against the watchlist, formally known as the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB).”

CAIR’s resistance to counterterror efforts has been going on for years. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism:

CAIR has a long history of undermining law enforcement counter terror investigations by urging Muslims not to cooperate with agents, falsely accusing the FBI of using excessive force and by crying entrapment when stings lead to arrests of Muslims who plotted attacks.

  • Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA), tells the Muslim community to avoid talking to law enforcement, vilifies the FBI, and claims that it unfairly targets the Muslim community. In February 2011, her CAIR chapter’s website featured a poster for an event that said “Build a Wall of Resistance; Don’t Talk to the FBI.” The poster featured a sinister looking FBI agent lurking in front of people’s doors. In December 2011, Billoo discounted the arrests of two individuals accused by the FBI of plotting to bomb targets in Oregon and Maryland. “What the FBI came and did was enable them to become actual terrorists,” she said. The FBI “is creating these huge terror plots where they don’t exist.”
  • [CAIR-Florida’s Hasan] Shibly has accused the FBI of pressuring Muslim youth to become government informants. In a November 4, 2014 post quoting the Los Angeles Times, he asserted he had represented 33 clients in that year alone “who claimed they had been pressured by the FBI to release information on their religious beliefs and practices.” He cited some examples: “In Orlando, they pressured one citizen who happened to be Muslim to spy on mosques, Islamic restaurants and hookah lounges or they would throw him in jail...In another case, they approached an imam with pictures of a woman they claimed would testify of an affair unless he helped them. These are law-abiding Muslims, not criminals.” In a November 13, 2014 op-ed in the Tampa Tribune, Shibly spoke against the FBI’s recruitment of American Muslim informants: “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has documented how the FBI has targeted law-abiding American Muslims for interrogation and coerced recruitment as agent provocateurs. According to Trevor Aaronson, executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism, such FBI tactics are similar to that used by the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) against the African-American civil rights movement decades ago and has included engaging in blackmail, extortion and threats of harm to self, family and friends. Coerced individuals are then forced into mosques to promote radical violent extremism — using taxpayer dollars — to unstable and mentally disturbed youths. [Emphasis added] “These programs are not only contrary to the protections enshrined in the Constitution, but are ineffective and make our nation less safe and less free. Even with the rise of Islamic State, those engaging in acts of terrorism on U.S. soil have more often attended churches or synagogue than mosques, and yet the FBI is not engaging in similar tactics against the Christian or Jewish communities— nor should they.”
  • In a May 2015 Facebook post, CAIR-LA chief Hussam Ayloush wrote, “...FBI-paid informants hired to entrap feeble-minded young Muslim men. Both sources of such hatred and violence are bad news.” In an earlier Twitter post he posited, “Is the FBI now going to send informants to entrap, radicalize, then arrest young Jewish Americans joining Israel's terrorist army?”
  • At the November 2014 CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) banquet, Nihad Awad condemned government spying on Muslim Americans. “And we cannot allow our government to spy on American Muslims just because they’re active and just because they have point of views different than the government....We cannot allow the police department in New York to spy on Muslims, on Muslim businesses, on schools, on shops, just because they are Muslim, under this guise of national security.” Responding to a Department of Justice initiative to fingerprint and photograph nearly 100,000 foreigners who were already in the country in an effort to weed out suspected terrorists, Nihad Awad said, in June 2002, “What is next? Forcing American Muslims to wear a star and crescent as a means of identification for law enforcement authorities?”
  • In 2010, CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid said that “the FBI, by using informants acting as agent provocateurs, has recruited more so called extremist Muslims than al Qaeda themselves.” The “Bronx Four,” James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and LaGuerre Payen, were arrested in May 2009 and indicted in June on charges they plotted to attack two targets in New York: a synagogue and New York National Guard Base in Newburgh. During a radio interview after the arrests, Walid accused the FBI of “manufacturing their own terrorism suspects to give the appearance that they’re actually doing something tangible in the so called ‘War on Terrorism.’” The FBI is “cultivating and inciting people towards extremism,” he said. Only a few days after Walid gave the above interview, he authored a blog post on the “Bronx Four.” In what Walid described as a “so-called terror plot,” he said that the “agent provocateur was the real mastermind.” “Three of these men were petty criminals, who were enticed by money, not extreme ideology,” said Walid.

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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. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, these include:

  • Ghassan Elashi was a founding Board Member of CAIR-Texas and Chairman and Treasurer of HLF. In 2009 Elashi was sentenced to 65 years in prison for providing material support to Hamas. He was earlier sentenced to 80 months following his conviction on several charges related to export violations while serving as Vice President of Marketing for Infocom, a webhosting company based in Richardson, Texas.
  • Randall Royer, the former CAIR communication specialist 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 that was behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Royer pled guilty to weapons and explosives charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Bassam Khafagi served as CAIR’s Director of Community Relations. In September 2003, Khafagi pled guilty to bank and visa fraud and a judge ordered him deported to Egypt. Khafagi also served as founding member and President of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). IANA was investigated for money laundering and recruiting terrorists over the Internet and the FBI raided its offices in February 2003.
  • Nabil Sadoun is a former board member of CAIR. In 2010, a Dallas immigration judge ordered Sadoun deported to his native Jordan following U.S. government allegations tying him to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Riad Abdelkarim served as CAIR’s Western Region Communications Director from 2000-2002, as well as a CAIR Western Region Board Member in 2000 and 2002. He also served as HLF’s Secretary in 2000and was an HLF Board Member when the organization was shut down in December 2001. Abdelkarim defended HLF even after the shut down, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I think it's shameful that our country's best known and most trusted American Muslim charity has been so horribly lynched by President Bush and offered as a sacrificial lamb to Israel...”
  • Rabih Haddad served as a fundraiser for CAIR’s Ann Arbor chapter. Haddad was co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation, whose assets the U.S. government froze on December 14, 2001 for financially supporting Al Qaeda. Also on December 14, 2001, the government took Haddad into custody, detaining him on a visa violation. In November 2002, an Immigration Judge denied Haddad’s application for asylum and withholding of removal, concluding that he presented “a substantial risk to the national security of the United States.” In July 2003, Haddad was deported to Lebanon.
  • Muthanna Al-Hanooti, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, was sentenced in 2011 to a year in prison after he pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq when he received the rights to 2 million barrels of oil in exchange for helping Saddam Hussein's government.
  • Siraj Wahhaj has served as a member of CAIR’s Board of Advisers. He is currently the Imam of al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn and provided a platform for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1995 New York Landmarks bombing case. Wahhaj later served as a witness on the Sheikh’s behalf in the 1995 “Day of Terror” trial. Wahhaj is named on a list of “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The son of Siraj Wahhaj, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was indicted in March 2019 for training children to carry out jihad massacres in schools, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping.

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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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