U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and U.S. Representatives Trent Franks and John Shadegg expressed concern over Rep. Keith Ellison's relationship with the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a recent letter to the Minnesota Congressman.
The letter was prompted by Rep. Ellison's recent attendance at CAIR-Arizona's 2009 Annual Banquet. In the letter the Arizona politicians said that they were "deeply concerned that any official support of this organization [CAIR] would undermine the legitimate concerns of federal investigators about CAIR's relationship to foreign terrorist organizations."
The "concerns" about CAIR that the Arizona delegation referenced in the letter were highly publicized during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Among the evidence, CAIR was listed on a memo as part of the Palestine Committee in the U.S. – the memo calls on members of the committee to "increase the financing and moral support for Hamas." As a result the FBI decided to cut off contacts with CAIR – citing questions surrounding CAIR's relationship to Hamas as its reason.
But Ellison and CAIR deny the organization's ties to Hamas. In an interview before his speech at CAIR-Arizona's banquet Ellison said, "I would never associate myself with anyone even soft on terrorism," calling the Arizona politicians' claims "ridiculous." He also argued that if there were truth to the allegations surrounding CAIR that the Government could move ahead with arrests and prosecutions, which it has not. CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Ahmad Daniels also denied the allegations asserting that, "In no way, shape or form is CAIR Arizona associated with Hamas."
It should be noted that this is not the first time Ellison has met with CAIR. Ellison's relationship with CAIR is well-developed as detailed in an IPT report from last year.