In the wake of the FBI's decision to cut off outreach meetings with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the D.C.-based advocacy group announced a new board chairman. He is Larry Shaw, a North Carolina state senator and, by most accounts, a nice guy.
But as David J. Rusin points out, new leadership doesn't erase CAIR's troubling history as part of a Hamas-support network in the U.S. Rusin was put off by a Fayetteville Observer editorial praising Shaw and mocking any insinuation CAIR poses any problem. It calls out Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson by name:
"At times, Emerson seems to be hinting at criminal activity; yet through all these years of exposure there seem to have been no indictments of CAIR. Isn't that where incriminating evidence logically leads?
At other times he seems merely to be informing CAIR of what it must do if it wants people to accept it for what it says it is: an organization formed to promote understanding of Islam. His conditions include breaking the annoying habit of defending itself against his attacks."
Rusin makes plenty of fine points in rebuttal, noting the FBI, case agent in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) terror finance trial called CAIR a front group, that prosecutors placed it on a list of unindicted co-conspirators and said CAIR was "affiliated with Hamas" in a separate brief.
It is important to remember that jurors convicted the HLF defendants on 108 counts last November. Those are fairly tangible examples of CAIR's problem, which Rusin said the Observer ignored:
"In the pièce de résistance, the Observer mocks the notion that CAIR is 'Hamas' kinder, gentler face': If so, 'it's been too surreptitious by half. Hamas' message of hate could have been delivered more clearly and more forcefully by almost anyone who tried.' Not only does this feeble argument neglect the radical statements that senior CAIR officials have let slip on occasion, but it betrays a shocking ignorance of the purpose and tactics of stealth jihad.
With the Fayetteville Observer writing editorials like this, does CAIR still need a PR staff?"
It's fine for the Observer to be skeptical of the boss' claims. But there's no indication anyone at the paper tried to read any of the documents themselves. And that's unacceptable in writing an editorial so dismissive.
You don't even have to accept our copies of the exhibits. Here is the Dallas federal court web page listing all the HLF exhibits. Search "Philly" and read the transcripts for yourselves. You'll see CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad refer to "Samah," a silly code for the group they wish to help (hint for editorial writers: read it backward!). Other transcripts show them openly discussing ways to mislead Americans about their objectives.
Inquiring minds might want answers about how CAIR found itself listed on a meeting agenda for the "Palestine Committee" – the U.S.-based Hamas support network. Or, how CAIR's two founders, including current Executive Director Nihad Awad, found themselves on this internal telephone list of the "Palestine Committee" alongside Hamas Deputy Political leader Mousa Abu Marzook, Hamas Gaza spokesman Ahmad Yousef and others.
You have a local figure assuming control of an organization whose founders plotted ways to deceive you. Why wouldn't you want to challenge him about that?