CAIR Slams Muslim Foes of al-Shabaab
November 15, 2011
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) campaign of discrediting critics reached a new low last week, when it called two Minneapolis activists "anti-Muslim" for their participation in a seminar which included a discussion about an Islamic terrorist group in Somalia.
Both Omar Jamal and Abdirizak Bihi are Muslims. But CAIR's Minnesota chapter attacked them over their involvement with a seminar on Somali culture and their communities in America held Thursday in St. Paul. It was sponsored by the Center for Somalia History Studies, an organization founded earlier this year by former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
The seminar, which cost $150 per person to attend, covered a wide array of topics including "Clans and Sub Clans"; "The Ethiopia Issue"; "Black Hawk Down"; "Youth Gangs"; "Transition to America" and "Somali Culture."
One subject in particular incurred CAIR's wrath. It was entitled, "Al Shabaab: An Islamic Extremist Terrorism Organization." Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida affiliate.
CAIR and nearly 30 other groups, ranging from the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society to local mosques and Somali community organizations, complained that the description of al-Shabaab "fails to distinguish between Islam and terrorism."
CAIR-MN President A. Lori Saroya warned that conference attendees "will receive inaccurate and biased information about Muslims and Somalis." She expressed concern that the seminar would result in "a lot of bias and misinformation. "
Fletcher said before the conference that he had invited CAIR to attend to give its perspective. Saroya denied the group had received an invitation, but added that Somali groups wouldn't attend because that would give "legitimacy" to Bihi and another Shabaab critic: Jamal, a former activist in the Twin Cities who currently serves as a member of Somalia's United Nations delegation.
"These individuals, who have no credibility in the Somali community, are going to be educating law enforcement," the CAIR-MN letter read.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin, who attended part of the conference, wrote that it "seemed like a pretty straight-forward history lesson." An hour of the daylong presentation was dedicated to al-Shabaab, "but considering that 20 young Somali men have been lured from the Twin Cities to fight with the organization, it only seemed logical. Very little was about religion, and I saw no criticism of the Muslim religion, only of terrorist acts," he added.
CAIR's Minnesota chapter previously came under fire for refusing to criticize al-Shabaab.
CAIR's comments about Bihi and Jamal amount to "character assassination," said Tom Lyden, a reporter for Fox 9 News in Minneapolis. The two are targets because they "were the first to blow the whistle on the effort to recruit Minnesotan Somalis for terrorism in Somalia," he said.
Three of the men who disappeared from the Twin Cities in recent years "would later become suicide bombers in Kenya and Somalia for the terror group al-Shabaab," Lyden wrote on his blog. "That stance earned them a seat on CAIR's bad side."
The attacks against Bihi are particularly unfair, Lyden wrote. Bihi has fought a tenacious and often lonely fight against jihadist recruitment in the Twin Cities, and Lyden pointed to the activist's devotion to helping Somali neighbors in need. It is not uncommon to find Bihi devoting his time to translating for a Somali mother who needs social services or helping someone who wants to send money to relatives in Somalia.
Bihi has repeatedly blasted CAIR for attempting to muzzle local Somalis who take a public stand against al-Shabaab. In June 2009, he was among 50 people who protested outside a CAIR ice-cream social event for discouraging local Somalis from cooperating with the FBI. "We don't want anyone to come to our community and tell us to shut up," Bihi said.
His teenage nephew was among the Minnesota Somalis killed while fighting for al-Shabaab. In a subsequent interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Bihi criticized CAIR and local mosque officials for putting roadblocks in the way of Somali cooperation with the FBI.
Lyden believes CAIR's real objection is to Bihi's "outspoken stance that some local mosques have fostered an environment that encouraged the radicalization of young Somali men" – a story he has reported on with regard to the Abubakr as-Saddique mosque in Minneapolis.
The House Homeland Security Committee staff reported that on July 5, a Saudi cleric who had denounced al-Shabaab at that mosque was assaulted by men shouting "Allahu Akhbar" ("God is Great"). The assault was widely reported on jihadist websites, with Islamists overseas learning about the incident before most residents of the Twin Cities area.
For close to three years, Lyden wrote that he has tried unsuccessfully to elicit a comment from CAIR about the missing Somali youth who have left Minnesota to fight for al-Shabaab. But CAIR hasn't said a word. "For an organization that is supposed to represent Muslim Americans, I think that silence is particularly strange," he added.
CAIR and its allies have shown much less reticence about slurs and ad hominem attacks on non-Islamist Muslims.
In April, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a close political ally of CAIR and a frequent speaker at its fundraisers, told a largely Muslim audience in Rochester Hills, Mich. that the "only reason" Bihi had been invited to testify before Congress on jihadi recruitment was "because he fits the narrative of people who want to defame you."
Another CAIR target was Muslim scholar Khalid Duran, who has written that CAIR's hyperbolic attacks on his work elicited death threats from Jordanian Islamists.
In recent years, CAIR and its allies have focused on Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Jasser's group advocates distinguishing between mosque and state and he often challenges Islamist leaders and their views.
For that, Ellison suggested that Jasser was an Islamic "Uncle Tom" during an October 2009 Capitol Hill forum. Blacks "are familiar with people who would seek to ingratiate themselves with powerful people in the white community and would then turn them on the rest of us and give license to attack us all," he said. And he was concerned that someone might "snatch my 13-year-old daughter's hijab off, call her a horrible name, spit on her because of something you said, Dr. Jasser. I worry about that."
In a debate last May, CAIR-Chicago boss Ahmed Rehab called Jasser "a sock puppet for the axis of Islamophobia in this country," adding that "Everybody who supports you hates Islam." And people who welcome the most shameful slurs directed at non-Islamists like Jasser apparently appreciate CAIR's work. Fans of a Facebook page entitled "Zuhdi Jasser is a Clown and an Uncle Tom" Muslim list CAIR as an organization that they like.
Reader comments on this item
Rejection of Sharia
Submitted by Paul Kelly, Mar 25, 2012 15:36
Many Americans are fully aware of what "Sharia Law" is! Sharia Law is the complete opposite of the United States Constitution! We do not want your Sharia Law in our country! We welcome everyone to come here, but not to come here to change us from a free nation into a nation of slaves! I can't help but believe that many, many Muslims come to the US to get away from the medieval world of Radical Islam! Islam is fine, practice it all you want, but do not try to force it on us! We promise not to "force" you to become a Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Pagan! That is the deal! If you can't handle that, don't come here! Radical Islam, you are starting to honk us off!
Who are most Muslims in America
Submitted by Michael Howard, Mar 23, 2012 14:26
I am a Muslim. I disown anyone stands against my country of choice. I would die for this country and all of its allies.
I don't know why any Muslim wants to go against the United Sates of America when he/she came running from all kind of persecution (that was my own motive). They say they love America..Let's see...America became big and attractive to everyone because America has friends who support her all over the world even in the Muslim areas of the world. So, why in the world I will take a stand against my country that is the mainstay for every free man and woman including myself?
If Mubarak is a Muslim and supported America because of extra money, shouldn't I love America because it helps me to live free and with dignity which is the life which my own native country did not have the ability neither did she have the will to give?????
In addition, America is built on the concept of "white revolution" that is established long time ago in G.B. It obligate everyone to stay away from violence and live in a democratic way where everyone has an equal right, which does not exists in my native country.
I am a Muslim and I am an Arabic male. My Allah did not tell me to kill innocent people but HE told me to avoid danger for myself and for others even those who are of different religions.
About the Sharia Law, is it applied in Muslim countries? I don't think it is applied even in rustic ones like Afghanistan. They have their own class system that does not respect the humanity of any human. It is not applied in Arabic countries. The one that unite Muslims in Arabic countries is Israel not Islam. Are they aiming toward liquidating Israel? They talk about it and they know that it is impossible. So, they talk a lot and do nothing. They only want to make more money. They know that United States spread out of its border all the way around the Earth. Thanks to allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia.
How about covering the face for women? It does not apply in "Modernized" Islamic countries. Why in Allah's name, they want to impose it on people who are born and live naturally. Is living naturally against Islam? I don't think so. Islam is calling for people to be "faithful" not necessarily "Muslims".
It is all about money and fame. By the end of the day, good Muslims (faithful) survive with happiness and bad ones (unfaithful to their country) may not be as much happier.
There are many Muslims that I know love and protect the U.S.A. more than some of other religions.
Their problem is that they work silently for the benefit of their country. Others work on political advantage and creating wealth by finding holes in the laws that may hurt others in the name of Islam and put them in the news with nice suits, shoes, and general apperance while they do not care about principles.
Most Muslims are good working in silence with faith that can move mountains. They do not need CAIR.
statement of fact
Dec 12, 2011 10:08
We are not going to renounce our Faiths.
We are not going to accept Sharia laws.
We are not going to become an Islamic -only Nation.
So, CAIR, go pound salt!!
Somalis are terrorists !
Submitted by Rebecca Olesen, Dec 12, 2011 06:27
Oh so the title 'fails to distinguish between islam and terrorism' (well there is no difference to me) However, you would think any reasonable person would not infer from that title, that it is meant to imply Islam and Terrorism are the same (I mean it would be implied if I wrote the title, but these guys sound legit LOL). How are they supposed to 'separate the two' simply within the title. Probably the reason the Somali's won't go is because they don't want to pay the $150 !
@"RELIGION" submitted by PAM, Nov 17, 2011
I'll tell you what, PAM, Somalians routinely murder any suspected Christian they can find. Any church in Somali that existed is now closed, the pastors burned alive, beheaded, stoned, their families raped and killed as well.
Here is one link detailing the horrible horrible persecution of Christians in Somalia. If you believe we are 'using muslim to hide behind' then you are misinformed. Also, from your writing you sound like a muslim.
Jihad is not terrorism?
Submitted by Mary, Nov 18, 2011 01:20
Hmmm. So, C.A.I.R.'s stand is that acts of terrorism are not Islamic. Well, anyone who has read the Qur'an and Mohammad's interpretation in the Sunnah (sayings and life of Mohammad in the haddith/siras) knows better. But, even if Islamic jihad is only prosecuted under U.S. law, it is still criminal behavior. Jihad is perpetuated by crime: by stealing, robbery, extortion, unequal taxation (jizya, infidel tax to make non-Muslims "feel subdued" Suras 9); by abuse and rape of women (Suras 2, 4, and 38); and abuse and murder of non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians (found in Suras 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 19, 21, 25, 33, 47, 48, 61, and 66). The West has reasonable laws against such behavior. What is sanctioned in Sharia law, which enforces Islamic principles, is criminal in the West, hence the efforts to make governments Sharia-compliant. Even though we in the West already have laws against such behaviors, we do not have the legal means to combat such systematic criminal behavior because it is organized sedition. So, until we have laws making the enforcement of Sharia law, either officially or unofficially, crimes of sedition, we will not have the means to combat such sedition.
More Reader Comments
Rejection of Sharia
Who are most Muslims in America
statement of fact
Somalis are terrorists !
Jihad is not terrorism?