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A Bad Day for CAIR
By Evan McCormick
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 24, 2003
September 10th, 2003 will forever be remembered
as a grim day for the Council on American
Islamic Relations (CAIR). On that day, the eve
of the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,
CAIR faced up to its own terrorist connections.
It ran away from testifying before an
influential Senate panel that heard a barrage of
incriminating evidence about the group and its
connections. It saw one of its former officials
plead guilty to terrorist-related crimes in
And, it was stood up by two
Department of Justice officials at an
immigration symposium in Florida. CAIR should
find it hard to recover from this string of
Last Wednesday, The Senate Judiciary
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and
Homeland Security held the second in a series of
hearings aimed at examining Saudi Arabia's role
in exporting Islamic extremism abroad.
The hearing, titled "Two Years After 9/11:
Connecting the Dots," was focused on the
prevalence of the radical Wahhabi Islamic sect
among Muslim political groups in the U.S. CAIR
Executive Director Nihad Awad and Chairman Omar
Ahmed were invited to testify at the hearing,
but both declined to attend.
In their absence -
and in front of their empty witness chair - the
committee heard compelling evidence that Saudi
Arabia financially and ideologically supports a
network of American organizations that act as
the defenders, financiers, and front groups of
CAIR has been a major
player in this network since its creation in
1994, with a particularly soft spot for the
suicide-bombing death squads of Hamas.
Senators turned out in force to connect the dots
between CAIR and the deviant Islamic extremism
that led to the vicious attacks of 9/11.
In his opening statement, Chairman Jon Kyl said,
"a small group of organizations based in the U.S.
with Saudi backing and support, is well advanced
in its four- decade effort to control Islam in
America -from mosques, universities and
community centers to our prisons and even within
our military. Moderate Muslims who love America
and want to be part of our great country are
being forced out of those institutions."
Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who
has been steadfast in his efforts to uncover the
nexus of Hamas front groups in the U.S., was
ruthless in his portrayal of CAIR as part of an
international terror network.
In his opening remarks, Senator Schumer stated that prominent
members of CAIR-referring specifically to Nihad
Awad and Omar Ahmed-have "intimate links with Hamas." Later, he remarked that "we know [CAIR]
has ties to terrorism."
Even Senator Richard Durbin, who has made common
cause with some of America's Wahhabi-backed
groups, came down hard on CAIR. In his final
comments he conceded that CAIR is "unusual in
its extreme rhetoric and its associations with
groups that are suspect," and requested that the
committee seek the testimony of mainstream
Muslim groups in its place in the future.
CAIR's affinity for terrorist causes is well
documented in the press. At a 1994 meeting at
Barry University, Nihad Awad stated succinctly,
"I am a supporter of the Hamas movement."
Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper has
defended Saudi Arabia's financial aid to
families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
In recent months, three CAIR officials were
indicted on terrorism-related charges.
As luck would have it, just hours before the
hearing, news services reported that former CAIR
official Bassem K. Khafagi had pleaded guilty to
charges of visa and bank fraud in federal court
The charges were brought against
Khafagi for his role with the Islamic Assembly
of North America, a group that has advocated
violence against the United States and is
believed to have funneled money to organizations
with terrorist connections. At the time of his
arrest, Khafagi was Community Affairs director
Khafagi is one of several IANA officials
indicted on terrorism-related charges after
Federal agents raided the group's Ypsilanti,
Michigan offices in February.
IANA official, Saudi-born Sami al-Hussayen ran a
series of IANA websites that propagated the
teachings of radical Islamist clerics closely
linked with Osama bin Laden.
He also ran the
University of Idaho Muslim Students Association.
Al-Hussayen is awaiting a deportation order
after refusing to testify in his own defense.
The Chairman of IANA has stated that half of the
Assembly's funds come from Saudi Arabia, while
the other half come from private donors who are
IANA conferences in the early
1990's featured lectures from Ali al-Timimi, an
Islamic preacher recently identified as
"co-conspirator number one" in the indictment of
11 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist recruits in a
Northern Virginia Jihad network.
One of the 11 Virginia Jihadists, Randall Todd
Royer, formerly served as a Communications
Specialist and Civil Rights Coordinator at CAIR.
While Senators on Capitol Hill were assiduously
connecting the dots to prevent future terrorist
attacks, CAIR-Florida was teaming up with the
American Civil Liberties Union to sponsor a town
hall meeting on immigration issues in South
The September 10th event was billed as
an opportunity for residents to discuss "how
America and Florida has [sic] changed since
September 11, 2001 - our constitutional rights,
inter-group relations, and the treatment of our
immigrant communities, etc."
The event was
slated to feature a U.S. Attorney, an FBI
representative, and the Assistant Commissioner
of the Florida Department of law Enforcement.
None of the officials showed up.
By absenting themselves from the meeting, the
officials foiled another attempt by CAIR to
oppose the Bush administration's War on Terror.
CAIR has made a cottage industry out of blaming
individual incidents, either real or perceived,
of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination on
the Bush administration's anti-terror policies,
especially the USA Patriot Act.
statistical manipulation and "civil rights"
arguments, not to protect innocent Muslims but
to exonerate its own "intimate links with
terrorism" to use the words of Senator Schumer.
Meetings like the South Florida immigration
symposium are an integral part of the Wahhabi
groups' strategy of gaining political access to
the U.S. government.
Since well before 9/11,
CAIR and other organizations have alleged to
speak on behalf of America's peaceful, moderate
Muslims, while simultaneously lending support
and funds to terrorist causes.
of the Bush administration, anxious to frame the
War on terror in the context of political
correctness, have then pandered to the Wahhabi
organizations, providing them with phony
legitimacy at the expense of the Muslim
community at large.
Since September 11th, prominent Wahhabi-backed
leaders have been granted meetings with
President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell,
and FBI Director Robert Mueller.
are then used to further the notion that
Wahhabi-funded organizations like CAIR are fit
to represent America's estimated 6 million
This strategy has permitted the Wahhabi Lobby,
as the collection of pressure groups are called,
to become the de facto pool of consultants for
government agencies willing to compromise
vigilance for ethno-sensitivity in the War on
The true agendas of groups like CAIR
are obscured or forgotten in the process, and
Wahhabis are given a blank check to oppose
anti-terror policies that threaten to expose
their connection to the terrorist support
network in the U.S.
Combating the Wahhabi agents of influence in the
U.S. will require a comprehensive assessment of
the political objectives, operational strategies
and sources of funding of each group and their
individual leaders. A basic and important step
must be to resist the Wahhabi Lobby's attempts
to influence U.S. policy.
The new absence of
Justice Department officials from a CAIR
symposium is a welcome sign that government
agencies are becoming aware of the Council's
close links with extremists.
Meanwhile, we must
continue to support the government's efforts to
apprehend those who serve terrorist causes from
within our borders.
The guilty plea of CAIR
official Bassem K. Khafagi is one of many signs
that the U.S. is winning the War against
terrorists at home as well as abroad.
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