Is it Time to Designate CAIR as a Terrorist Organization?

Last week's stabbings by Usman Khan, a devout Muslim who murdered two people and injured three others on London Bridge, by far overshadowed the arrest of Zachary Clark, 40, of Brooklyn, New York, the day before Americans celebrated Thanksgiving.  Clark, who faces up to forty years in prison, was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and one count of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.

The arrest, as U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York stated, was made possible through surveillance by the Joint Terrorist Task Force.  The force included cops (mainly Muslims themselves) going undercover in Muslim areas to become more familiar with them and gain background info for future investigations or leads on possible attacks. While there is nothing wrong with such practices in defense of innocent lives, Islamic advocacy groups such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), with headquarters in Washington, D.C., have publicly opposed such programs, ranting that they are religiously and racially motivated to discriminate against Muslims.  And there is a reason for this: CAIR is linked to Islamic terrorist groups.

CAIR’s mission is “to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”  Yet, as detailed at length by the Center for Security Policy, since its founding in 1993, CAIR has presented itself publicly as a benign Muslim American "civil rights organization."  But from that time to this, the United States government has known that CAIR actually is an entity founded by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian franchise: Hamas, a group officially designated since 1994 as a terrorist organization.

Evidence of CAIR’s true character as a U.S.-based instrument for political warfare and fundraising for Hamas -- and the federal government’s certain knowledge of the truth -- did not come to light until the largest terrorism financing trial in the nation’s history: the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation prosecution.  In the course of that trial, FBI Agent Laura Burns testified about the wiretap and surveillance transcripts of two planning sessions held in Philadelphia in October 1993 and leading up to the organizational meeting of CAIR.  Specifically, she presented proof that CAIR’s mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” its founders’ hardly opaque code-name for Hamas, as the prospect of its terror designation loomed.

Some of its employees and board members have also been charged with terrorism, such as Randall ("Ismail") Royer.  An American convert to Islam, Royer served as CAIR's communications specialist and civil rights coordinator. Today he sits in jail on terrorism-related charges.

The Department of Homeland Security, however, refuses to deal with CAIR as a threat to our national security, to say nothing of its sponsorship of international Islamic terror groups, despite concerns from notable figures, some of them from the Democrat Party:

  • Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer (Democrat, New York) describes CAIR as an organization "which we know has ties to terrorism.”
  • Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois) observes that CAIR is "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect.”
  • Steven Pomenrantz, the FBI's former chief of counterterrorism, notes that "CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”
  • The family of John P. O'Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having "been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism" responsible for the September 11 atrocities.  Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson calls it "a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas."

Yet Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, along with fellow Democratic and Republican lawmakers, publicly support this jihadist organization.  And by the way, CAIR got its first public endorsement from Republican President George W. Bush.

When President Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington several days after September 11, 2001, to signal that he would not tolerate a backlash against Muslims, he invited CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, to join him at the podium. Two months later, when Secretary of State Colin Powell hosted a Ramadan dinner, he, too, called upon CAIR as representative of Islam in America.  More broadly, when the State Department seeks out Muslims to welcome foreign dignitaries, journalists, and academics, it calls upon CAIR.

When he hosted the Islamic Iftar dinner at the White House this year, President Donald Trump made sure that CAIR was not invited -- and for good reason.  Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has yet to be designated as a terrorist group by the Trump administration, it is time the Council of American-Islamic Relations was classified as such.  

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