CAIR's Reputation and Incredibly Fluctuating Membership Roll
August 21, 2007
Much has already been written about the amicus brief filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), naming the CT blog (specifically this post) as part of an effort to defame the organization.
From pp. 36-37 of the brief:
Furthermore, the list of unindicted coconspirators has spread and gained notoriety through non-mainstream media, as well, including various "anti-terrorism" weblogs. These weblogs are often extremely biased and inaccurate in their reporting, leading to even more severe damage to the reputation of the unindicted coconspirators.
See, e.g., Feds Name CAIR in Plot to Fund Hamas, WorldNetDaily.com (June 4, 2007) (stating that CAIR, "which brands itself as a mainstream promoter of civil rights has been named with two other prominent U.S. Islamic groups as an ‘unindicted co-conspirator' in a plot to fund the terrorist group Hamas"); HLF Trial Update, Counterterrorismblog.org (June 29, 2007) (writing that "prosecutors have recently named [CAIR] and [ISNA] as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in addition to unindicted co-conspirators" and attaching the unindicted co-conspirator list to the article) (emphasis added)
Clearly, nothing the brief cites in its parenthetical about the post in question is either inaccurate or demonstrably biased. It is simply a recitation of facts and straight reporting.
And speaking of facts, CAIR has a history of refusing to address substantive concerns openly and honestly. Instead, CAIR official routinely obfuscate and deflect the issue at hand in the faint hope that the question or criticism will fade away, and this amicus brief is no exception. For example, on page 10, the brief states:
This negative reaction by the American public can be seen in the decline of membership rates and donations resulting from the government's publicizing of CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator.
CAIR cites as its source two articles, one from June 13, 2007 and one from June 11, 2007, roughly two weeks after CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. Here's the footnote:
Source: See Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Washington Times Smearing Campaign Against CAIR: A Fresh Sinister Move to Defame American Muslim Organizations, CCUN.org (June 13, 2007); CAIR Membership Plummets, WashingtonTimes.com (June 11, 2007).
Interestingly enough, when the June 11 article in the Washington Times was published, CAIR issued a press release condemning the Times for its biased reporting and anti-CAIR and "anti-Muslim" agenda.
The press release started off:
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today accused a right-wing Washington, D.C., newspaper of "agenda-driven reporting" for falsely suggesting there has been a drop in that organization's grassroots support.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties group with 33 chapters and offices around the country, said an article in today's Washington Times newspaper misrepresented figures on its tax filings to falsely indicate a drop in membership. (emphasis added)
and included a quote from Executive Director Nihad Awad:
Our membership is increasing steadily, as is our donor base, annual budget, and attendance at CAIR events around the country promoting interfaith understanding and respect for civil liberties. (emphasis added)
So the same article that CAIR denounced as "biased" and "inaccurate," and the product of "a vendetta against our organization and the American Muslim community," (note the typical conflation of CAIR and American Muslims as a whole) adamantly claiming to the contrary that its membership was on the rise, it is now – just two months later - citing as proof that its membership is on the decline.
Note a separate "bait and switch." The Washington Times article was chiefly about how CAIR's tax forms demonstrated a drop in membership – which CAIR noted in its press release ("Washington Times newspaper misrepresented figures on its tax filings"), and the term "un-indicted co-conspirator" does not even appear in its press release. But now, if one is to believe CAIR, that Times story – which they immediately denounced as false and biased – now supposedly proves that their membership has declined due to the fact that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case.
Having nothing to do with its Islamist agenda, its demonstrable ties to HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR's amicus brief is further evidence that government officials, agencies and media outlets should, at a minimum, be extremely wary of dealing with CAIR and taking the organization at its word.