Part 8: CAIR Has Backed Islamist Meetings, Denigrated Muslim Moderates
by Steven Emerson
April 2, 2008
(Note: To read today's full installment in our series on CAIR, click here - www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/119.pdf)
CAIR has co-sponsored and taken part in multiple Islamist conferences in the United States, while at the same time condemning and seeking to censor more moderate Muslims.
Those actions are described in today's installment in IPT's comprehensive 10-part series on the group. Among the highlights:
- In May 1998, CAIR co-sponsored with IAP, HLF, MAYA and others a rally at Brooklyn College where speakers spewed anti-Jewish rhetoric.
Radical Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim -- denied entrance to Canada earlier in the year based on his membership in Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood -- told those attending that "…Allah says he who equips a warrior of Jihad is like the one makes Jihad himself," then led the audience in a song with the lyrics: "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."
- Despite the fact that a meeting program lists CAIR as a co-sponsor, group officials consistently have denied any role in the event. "As executive director of CAIR, I had never heard of this event, let alone authorize[d] sponsorship for it," Nihad Awad said in 2003 Senate testimony. Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper not only denied CAIR involvement in the event, but added, "I don't even know if that [rally] happened."
- In October 2000, CAIR co-sponsored another rally, this one in Washington D.C., at which participants voiced enthusiastic support for Hamas and Hizballah.
Rally speaker Abdurahman Alamoudi said he had been "labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas," and asked, "Anybody supports Hamas here?" The crowd cheered. "I wish they would have added that I am also a supporter of Hizballah…anybody supports Hizballah here?" Alamoudi continued. The crowd cheered again.
Alamoudi was to be sentenced to 23 years in jail in 2004, after pleading guilty to engaging in prohibited transactions with a foreign country and admitting his involvement in a plot, masterminded by Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi, to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
- CAIR sponsored a 1994 U.S. tour by Jordanian Islamist leader Bassam Alamoush, CAIR News reporting that the group had coordinated a series of meetings for him with U.S. government officials.
During that U.S. tour, Alamoush called the killing of a Jew "a good deed." In a speech at a MAYA conference in Chicago, he told his audience, "Somebody approached me at the mosque [in Amman] and asked me, ‘if I see a Jew in the street, should I kill him?'" He paused, then answered the question: "Don't ask me. After you kill him, come and tell me. What do you want from me, a fatwa [legal ruling]? Really, a good deed does not require one."
- In 2002, CAIR-Austin scheduled a picnic featuring entertainment by Al Nojoum, a rabidly anti-Semitic band linked to Hamas.
According to the indictment in the HLF case, skits and songs performed by Al-Sakhra -- Al Nojoum's previous name -- "advocated the destruction of the State of Israel and glorified the killing of Jewish people."
While helping to provide a forum for the radicals, CAIR has sought to squelch moderate voices.
- Speaking at a State Department event in 1999, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani , chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, condemned radical Islamists and charged that extremists dominated the leadership of more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques.
CAIR co-sponsored a statement that charged Kabbani had "put the entire American Muslim community under unjustified suspicion" with comments that "can jeopardize the safety and well-being of our community and hurt America itself by damaging its values of inclusiveness, fairness, and liberty."
- In 2001, CAIR went on the offensive against journalist and author Khalid Duran.
Duran was about to release a book, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews, being published by the American Jewish Committee with the expressed goal of enhancing "understanding and mutual respect between Muslims and Jews."
CAIR issued a press release that quoted Omar Ahmad as saying, "Any effort to deepen mutual respect between faiths must, at a minimum, avoid the kind of conspiracy theories that are Duran's stock-in-trade. A sincere attempt to build bridges of understanding would not focus on 'hot-button' issues that have so often been used to stereotype Islam and Muslims."
Executive Director Awad derided Duran as "an author who has little credibility in the Muslim community."
Shortly afterward, Sheik Abdel Moneim Abu Zant, a radical Muslim cleric in Jordan, declared Duran an apostate and called on U.S. Muslims to "unify against him," then became more specific and declared it lawful (halal) to shed his blood. Duran later accused CAIR of provoking such threats, saying its attack had led the sheik to "issue an appeal to Muslims, asking them to unite to kill me."
- In October 2004, a coalition of national Muslim groups, including the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism and the American Islamic Congress, met in Washington, D.C. to condemn terrorism and Islamic radicalism and support creation of a more pluralist Islamic faith.
CAIR spokesman Hooper said such groups, while "free to reflect their viewpoint," did not represent mainstream American Islam. And, he said later, criticism from Muslims themselves was "providing others with an opportunity to advance an agenda that is hostile to the American Muslim community."
To read today's installment in its entirety, click here www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/119.pdf