CAIR has stepped in as counsel for a woman questioned by FBI agents about interactions she had with the American-born radical cleric and leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, (AQAP) Anwar Awlaki. A CAIR-California list-serv email specifies that FBI agents questioned a woman about interactions she had with Shaikh Anwar Awlaki almost three years ago. Interestingly, CAIR makes no statement regarding the importance of cooperating with the FBI in collecting information on Awlaki, a U.S. designated terrorist considered so dangerous he has been added to the CIA's target list.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a bomb on board a Detroit airliner last December, says he was instructed to do so by Awlaki. When Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hassan killed 13 and wounded many others, Awlaki called Hassan a "hero." Awlaki has been linked to failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad.
In 2009, CAIR pledged a renewed effort to combat extremism. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad explained that "[t]he idea is really to refute and counter the misuse of certain ayahs [verse of the Qur'an] and hadiths [sayings of the Prophet Muhammad] that are commonly misused by recruiters or young people who do not understand the depths and circumstances of revelations and just juxtapose superficial and disconnected meaning to justify their actions."
Awlaki perfectly fits the description of the types of "recruiters" that CAIR wishes to counter. The radical cleric invokes religious themes and cites verses from the Qur'an, even hadiths, to promote and justify violence, especially against Americans. Yet CAIR does not take the next step to encourage the community to be very cooperative with the FBI when agents come knocking for information on this individual.
Condemnation is a nicety, but taking every opportunity to encourage community members to cooperate with the FBI to provide information about Awlaki would show a true commitment to preventing terrorism.