Understanding what lay behind the Beit Israel Islamic attack
Off the tongue, CAIR sounds like "care," but it is precisely the opposite.
Post–terrorist trauma, the Jews of Colleyville, Texas now live under the dark shadow of the Islamic antisemitic rhetoric of CAIR. Indeed, that gunman's action and dangerous rhetoric from certain CAIR officials place all American Jews in the path of dangerous antisemitism.
A brief summary: January 15 was the Jewish Sabbath, when Malik Faisel Akram, a radicalized Muslim from Bradford, in the north of England, entered the Beit Israel Synagogue brandishing a gun.
Unable to hold Sabbath services, the rabbi spent eleven hours attempting to appease and appeal to the gunman to prevent him from taking drastic steps against the synagogue members. Eventually, the rabbi took affirmative Jewish action by throwing a chair at the gunman, allowing his congregants and himself to escape out of the synagogue's side door.
This community, like many other synagogues and Jewish community centers, had received security training from the Secure Community Network. Jewish assembly centers are hardwired into the belief that they can be targeted by extremists with antisemitic or anti-Israel radicalism who choose to take out their venom on the handy local Jew.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker at the synagogue had spent his tenure attempting to build cordial Jewish-Islamic relationships with the local Muslim community. That's a fine thing, but his efforts may be thwarted if the leaders of the local Muslim community listen to statements from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (AKA CAIR). CAIR's messaging, both before and after the Beit Israel incident, has been the antithesis of good inter-religious relationships.
The reason for Akram's hostage-taking was his relationship with Aafia Siddiqui, an antisemitic terrorist sentenced to 86 years in prison for her part in the attempted murder of American military personnel because she grabbed an M-4 rifle and opened fire on the U.S. servicemen who were interrogating her about her ties to Al-Qaeda.
When put on trial, Siddiqui had one demand of the jury: no Jews who "have a Zionist or Israeli background." She even demanded that the members of the jury subject themselves to genetic testing to prove they had no Jewish blood in their veins.
Upon being found guilty, she blamed Jews and Israel for her long sentence, saying, "This is a verdict coming from Israel and not from America."
The hostage-taker Akram shared the same crazy conspiracy theories as Siddiqui — namely, that Jews are all-powerful and all guilty of whatever fantasies their fevered minds can dredge up.
Isn't it always the case with radical antisemites?
Image: Zahra Billoo (edited in befunky). Screen grab from the speech during which she made the statements quoted below.
Roughly six weeks before the Islamist assault on the Texas synagogue, the executive director of CAIR, Zahra Billoo, ordered the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine to "oppose the vehement fascists, but oppose the polite Zionists, too" (i.e., Jews), including the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation chapters and "Zionist synagogues," adding, "They are not your friends."
This is the mindset of obsessed Jew-haters. They target every Jew, from the local neighborhood Jew to Israel, the collective Jew, in their blind universal antisemitism.
"They are not your friends" was the message from the head of CAIR, who said, at the same time, that local Jewish places of worship are "enemies" of the Muslim communities.
When the head of ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, fired back that Billoo's words were "textbook ... antisemitic conspiracy-laden garbage," as they were, CAIR went on the attack against him by hurling the standard knee-jerk epithet that Greenblatt is an Islamophobe.
That's the way they play the game. Attack the Jew, then declare that they are victims when the inevitable response comes. This is the Israeli experience when terror strikes, and we respond.
CAIR defended its director's antisemitism rather than oppose her antisemitic remarks because this is the way CAIR sees Jews as it advances its agenda. Ilhan Omar, the glamor girl of CAIR, anyone?
If the Muslims of Colleyville do not look at the Jews in their community as the enemy, they must openly reject and condemn the antisemitic words, acts, and resolutions taken by CAIR executive leaders.
By the way, did CAIR ever condemn the actions and statements of Siddiqui? Because I couldn't find it anywhere.
I rest my case.
Barry Shaw is the senior associate for public diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.