(June 19, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., is coming under fire over accusations that it postponed a planned June 19 speech by author and columnist Raymond Ibrahim, who regularly speaks out against radical Islam, after a campaign waged by Muslim groups that accused him of being a “white nationalist” and an “Islamophobe.”
The campaign was led by the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who sent a letter to Army Maj. Gen. John S. Kem, and provost James G. Breckenridge stating: “We also do not believe that there is any benefit to the U.S. in promulgating the inaccurate thesis that Islam is our enemy, as this stereotype only alienates millions of Muslim-Americans.”
MPower Change, a group led by Linda Sarsour, a prominent anti-Israel activist, also endorsed the CAIR campaign, stating in a petition on its website that: “In a time of rising white nationalism, Islamophobia, and horrific violence stemming from these ideologies, the College is endorsing and fostering anti-Muslim hate within the military by inviting Ibrahim.”
Ibrahim, who is an Arab-American and a Coptic Christian, had planned to provide a lecture at the U.S. Army War College based on his latest book Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West.
Nevertheless, Ibrahim said that CAIR did not provide any documentation for the accusations against his book.
“The history I present in Sword and Scimitar is ironclad, verifiable and beyond well-documented, with about a thousand end notes, it is heavily based on primary sources, many of which are Muslim, and from eyewitnesses,” Ibrahim said, reported The Washington Times.
In a statement provided to Penn Live, U.S. Army War College spokeswoman Carol Kerr said the lecture had been “postponed,” and so that the department could “can pair Mr. Ibrahim’s military history insights in close proximity with another historical perspective at a time when the USAWC curriculum has addressed historical analysis of influences on conflict.”
The U.S. Army War College did not respond to a request from JNS for a statement.
“For the USAWC suddenly to postpone a long-planned event only nine days before schedule—and just a handful of days after CAIR’s smear campaign—is not a “coincidence”; it is a clear message for all,” Ibrahim said in a post on his website.
Sam Westrop, director of Islamist Watch for the Middle East Forum, where Ibrahim also serves as a fellow, told JNS that CAIR targeted Ibrahim due his outspoken criticism of radical Islamist groups.
“CAIR opposes Raymond Ibrahim because Mr. Ibrahim is an expert on the radical, Islamist ideas that CAIR engenders,” he said. “CAIR has not launched this campaign against Mr. Ibrahim in the name of moderation, but for the sake of preserving its own extremism.”
An ‘inappropriate partner’
CAIR has long come under scrutiny for its anti-Israel activity and suspected ties to extremist groups.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR has “a long record of anti-Israel activity. Its leadership has accused Israel of being a racist state engaged in genocide and Israel supporters in the U.S. of promoting ‘a culture of hostility towards Islam.’ Its chapters partner with various anti-Israel groups that seek to isolate and demonize the Jewish state.”
In 2007, federal prosecutors named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to financially support the terrorist group Hamas as part of the Holy Land Foundation case. In 2009, the FBI severed relations with CAIR due to concerns of its continued ties with terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. At least seven CAIR board members or staff have been banned from the United States, arrested, indicted, convicted or have pleaded guilty to terrorist charges. The United Arab Emirates also designated CAIR as a terrorist entity in 2014.
In recent months, several CAIR branches have also been criticized for controversial statements and actions.
In November 2018, CAIR Los Angeles director Hussam Ayloush was widely condemned for calling for Israel’s “termination.”
In early June, several pro-Israel groups also condemned an event at the Massachusetts State House co-hosted by CAIR-MA. Among the groups questioning the event, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston said that CAIR-MA was an “inappropriate partner” for Jewish organizations and the mainstream community.
Similarly, CAIR’s branch in Philadelphia also has questionable actions.
“CAIR’s Philadelphia branch is among the Islamist organization’s most abhorrent. And for it to accuse others of hosting extremist speakers invites a closer look at CAIR’s own activities,” said Westrop.
“Just a few months ago, in March, CAIR Philadelphia advertised that leading Islamist activist Hassan Shibly was to be the speaker at its annual banquet,” he said.
“Shibly, who runs CAIR’s Florida branch, has publicly endorsed a group named Khatme Nubuwwat (KN), a South Asian extremist movement solely dedicated to inciting violence, blasphemy laws and mob killings aimed at Ahmadiyyah Muslims, a much persecuted minority Muslim sect.”
Given this history, Westrop says that it is unfortunate that the U.S. Army War College decided to yield to pressure from CAIR.
“CAIR has a long history as a platform for hate and terror. That the FBI blacklisted it in 2008 in the wake of a terror finance trial and that the United Arab Emirates, a key U.S. ally, has designated it as a terrorist group should be cause enough for the U.S. Army not submit to this Islamist group’s demands.”