OpinionAntisemitism

CAIR: Hamas’s ‘civil rights’ front group

It habitually cries “Islamophobia” to stifle the monitoring and exposure of Islamic extremism.

Logo of the Holy Land Foundation. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Logo of the Holy Land Foundation. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Eric Rozenman
Eric Rozenman is the author of From Elvis to Trump, Eyewitness to the Unraveling, Co-Starring Richard Nixon, Andy Warhol, Bill Clinton, the Supremes and Barack Obama! He is a communications consultant for the Jewish Policy Center. The opinions expressed are solely his own.

It was well-reported that CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, lost its role in helping to promote the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism after its executive director, Nihad Awad, celebrated Hamas’s massacre in southern Israel of 1,200 Israelis and foreign visitors on Oct. 7. But there is so much more to the story:

Deborah Lipstadt, an antisemitism historian and the Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, defended outreach to CAIR last summer as one of many organizations potentially able to disseminate the White House’s national strategy. Saying she was aware of the council’s “problematic” association with anti-Jewish, anti-Israel groups, Lipstadt insisted CAIR “deserved a chance” to show that it could be constructive.

Come again? Exemplifying the council’s enmity towards Jews and the Jewish state, Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR’s Maryland chapter, was suspended temporarily from her oxymoronic participation in the state’s Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention. Chaudry had compared Israel’s retaliation for the slaughter on Oct. 7 in Israel to Nazi Germany’s mass murders of Jews. She also criticized the media for portraying “Palestinian freedom fighters” as terrorists.

In 2021, the head of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay area operations, Zahra Billoo, warned fellow American Muslims against working with “polite Zionists,” including the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federations, Hillel campus programs and “Zionist synagogues.”

Long before Biden appointed Lipstadt, CAIR had achieved unindicted co-conspirator status in the biggest American terrorism money-laundering case to date—the 2009 federal Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development retrial. Jurors convicted five men of raising more than $12 million for Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization since 1995. One was Ghassan Elashi, co-founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, who received a 65-year sentence.

In 2005, CAIR agreed to an out-of-court settlement of its libel suit against the website anti-CAIR-net.org. According to Daniel Pipes of Middle East Forum, the agreement implicitly let stand four of five charges against the council. These were that “CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists”; “CAIR … is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries”; “CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists”; and “CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations.”

In the same National Review article, Pipes noted that at least six other CAIR lay leaders or staffers in addition to Elashi have been arrested, convicted, deported or denied entry to the United States at different times.

The co-founder of CAIR along with Awad was Omar Ahmad. He once declared that the Quran, Islam’s scripture, “should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

By 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector-general had enough of CAIR. The IG criticized the haphazard way that FBI field offices had implemented headquarters’ instructions issued after the Holy Land Foundation trial to restrict interactions with the council. The IG also faulted FBI headquarters for unclear guidance and lack of oversight, given CAIR’s history.

So why was CAIR recruited by the Biden White House to help combat antisemitism, the cosmetic term for Jew-hatred? Less than three weeks after Hamas’s mass atrocities on men, women and children in Israel, Biden met at the White House with several American Muslim representatives. CAIR was not at the session, though Awad, like meeting participants, had criticized the president for not empathizing with Gazans (used by Hamas as human shields) killed by Israel.

Attendees reportedly called for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against the terrorists, greater U.S. concern for Arab casualties and action against “Islamophobia” at home. CAIR habitually cries “Islamophobia” to stifle monitoring and exposure of Islamic extremism.

Among those meeting with Biden on Oct. 27 was Wa’el Alzayat, described by CNN as “a former State Department official who is now CEO of Emgage, a group that mobilizes Muslim-American voters.” They helped Biden carry swing state Michigan in 2020 but are planning to desert him now over U.S. support for Israel.

Last year, George Washington University’s Program on Extremism published “The Hamas Networks in America: A Short History.” It notes that the FBI wire-tapped a 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas supporters opposed to the new Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Two of the participants, Awad and Omar, would shortly start CAIR to speak smoothly while carrying Hamas’ stick. Instead of giving the council chances to show it has changed, the Biden administration should intensify surveillance. Material support for terrorism, after all, is a crime.

As for news media still quoting CAIR as “the largest Muslim-American civil rights and advocacy organization,” wise up.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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