Part 10: CAIR Pushes Phony Charges of Anti-Muslim Hysteria, Hate Crimes
by Steven Emerson
April 4, 2008
(To read today's final installment in its entirety, click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/121.pdf
For links to the complete CAIR series, click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/172)
In a series of thorough and carefully documented articles, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has detailed the sinister side of the self-proclaimed Muslim civil rights group CAIR.
Today's tenth and final installment takes a look at CAIR's persistent -- and often contrived -- charges of "hate crimes" perpetrated against Muslims and supposed "anti-Muslim hysteria" rampant in this country.
Here are some of the highlights:
• CAIR's annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States repeatedly has included, among what it considers to be acts of anti-Muslim discrimination, law enforcement investigations involving Muslims.
• In its 2002 report, CAIR included the closure of HLF, GRF, and BIF and wrote, "Those who oppose the government closure of the charities believe the government violated the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights." The report also condemned the 2002 SAAR raids. CAIR wrote, "No criminal charges were filed and no evidence was produced to back up the government's actions…. In the view of many Muslims, what transpired was a form of collective punishment targeting Arabs and Muslims."
• In advancing the notion that government policy has resulted in an undeserved backlash against ordinary Muslims, CAIR seeks to muster opposition to the anti-terror laws it finds objectionable.
A June 2003 US News and World Reports column reasoned that CAIR and other groups "push the ‘bias' button so hard" because "the victim stance works," attracting attention in the media and Congress and raising large sums of money. "It encourages Muslims to feel angry and non-Muslims to feel guilty," the column noted, adding that "by pre-positioning all future criticism as bias, it tends to intimidate or silence even the most sensible critics."
• When CAIR issued a similar report in 2003, the Justice Department called the group's claims irresponsible. "We're talking about unfair criticism based on a lot of misinformation and propaganda," a department spokesman told the Associated Press.
• According to the FBI, CAIR has compromised potential hate crime prosecutions by ignoring requests to keep quiet about ongoing investigations.
A spokesman for the Chicago FBI cited the 2005 case of a local Muslim family who received telephone death threats from an unidentified individual – a caller who could face felony charges if found. CAIR issued a press release even after the FBI asked it not to publicize the case, the spokesman said, and thus "compromised or impeded our investigation."
Yaser Tabbara, then executive director of CAIR's Chicago office, said his organization issued a statement to make the FBI and other agencies "more responsive" and to put the matter "under spotlight." He added, "That makes them take this as seriously as we would want them to take it….We believe we did this in the best interest of the victim."
• Many incidents that CAIR has labeled "hate crimes" have turned out to be dubious.
In a July 2004 case, for example, a fire caused $50,000 in damage at a Pakistani-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. Firefighters found a gasoline can and a derogatory message directed toward Arabs spray-painted on a wall, and a white cross spray-painted on a refrigerator.
Though police cautioned against hastily labeling the incident a hate crime, CAIR swiftly issued a press release that "called on local and national leaders to address the issue of growing Islamophobic prejudice following an arson attack on a Muslim-owned business in Washington State."
The following month, police arrested the store's owner on a federal arson warrant that accused him of setting fire to the store to collect insurance on the building and its contents. Jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction at his 2006 trial; he subsequently was convicted of food stamp fraud and is scheduled for release in March 2008.
Similarly, CAIR issued a press release in August 2004 calling on the FBI to investigate "an intentionally-set fire" at a Muslim-owned grocery store in McAllen, Texas. CAIR quoted the store owner, a U.S. resident of Jordanian origin, as saying the fire "followed two separate incidents in which unknown parties painted the phrase ‘Go Home' on the door of the store."
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper added, "If whoever set this fire was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, that person needs to be brought to justice before he or she can strike again."
In September 2004, Amjad Abunar, the owner of the store, was arrested and charged with setting the fire himself. Abunar disappeared shortly before his December 2005 trial date and a bench warrant for his arrest remains in effect.
• Even while railing against supposed civil rights abuses in the United States, CAIR is silent regarding human rights violations committed by Islamists, including severe restrictions on the rights of women under fundamentalist regimes in Iran and Sudan. Indeed, CAIR has attacked critical reports on this subject by The New York Times, CBS and anti-slavery groups and activists, attacking those who report the atrocities as being biased against Islam.
In a March 1999 Internet posting, for example, CAIR attacked a New York Times article titled "Trip of Discoveries, Some Unhappy, in Iran," which had criticized Iranian practices of discrimination against women, including foreign visitors. CAIR asked readers to contact the reporter's supervisor or send a letter to the editor.
• CAIR denies the existence of a well-documented slave trade in Sudan, and considers any reference to slavery in that country an affront to Islam, because it is governed by Islamic law.
In 2000, CAIR's Hussam Ayloush asserted that it was "really stretching the situation away from the truth" to refer to "slavery raids by Muslims to enslave Christians." Such information, he said, was "coming out from certain groups from clear political agendas."
For links to today's full installment and the entire CAIR series, click here: http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/172