The Council on American-Islamic Relations' protest that the documentary The Third Jihad smears Muslims reveals more about CAIR's desire to hide its record than any concern for the civil rights of Muslim Americans.
Unfortunately, however, that was enough for the New York Police Department to cave in to CAIR's demands and stop using the film in training programs for police officers. Now, New York's finest will have to look harder for evidence that the group claiming to look out for civil rights is actually working to stymie law enforcement efforts to stop terrorism.
Narrated by M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim who challenges groups such as CAIR, The Third Jihad details how CAIR was created shortly after a secret 1993 meeting in Philadelphia involving members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee. Their goal was to lead opposition to the 1993 Oslo accords and generate support for Hamas, the terrorist organization that now runs the government in Gaza.
Records of that October 1993 conference, which was tapped by federal law enforcement officials, detail how CAIR's founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad were present as the group discussed the need to create a pro-Hamas advocacy group that would not be tied publicly to Hamas.
Shukri Abu-Baker, then the president of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Hamas financial support arm, explained the idea. "We will form an organization for you to show the Americans that you are … [unintelligible]," he said. "It will be made up of some of our people, our beloved ones, and let's not hoist a large Islamic flag and let's not be barbaric-talking. We will remain a front so that if the thing happens, we will benefit from the new happenings instead of having all of our organizations classified and exposed."
In testimony, FBI case agent Lara Burns said CAIR was created after the Philadelphia meeting and pointed to an exhibit which shows CAIR listed on a Palestine Committee agenda within weeks of its 1994 creation.
The FBI cited that evidence in explaining why it cut off formal communication with the group. "Until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS," FBI Assistant Director Richard C. Powers wrote in April 2009, "the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
The Third Jihad also shows CAIR officials refusing to denounce Hamas or Hizballah as terrorist organizations and cites an internal Muslim Brotherhood document submitted in the federal trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development that shows how the Brotherhood wants to create a global Islamic state.
But CAIR refused to deal with the documentary's substance. Instead, it called it "notorious" and then devoted the rest of its press release to the same guilt-by-association tactics it accuses its opponents of using. It quoted CAIR-NY official Zead Ramadan comparing the documentary to the Nazi-era file Triumph of the Will and the silent movie Birth of a Nation, which romanticized the Ku Klux Klan. Ramadan also voiced his concerns to NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at a local Eid celebration. According to Ramadan, Kelly seemed concerned and said he would "take care of it."
Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne also took CAIR's side in the argument. "It was reviewed and found to be inappropriate," he said of the movie. "It was not approved for the curriculum. It's not shown for any purpose now."
Released in 2008, The Third Jihad's only flaw concerning CAIR is that it doesn't have enough information about the self-styled civil rights group. For example:
- Last month, CAIR's San Francisco chapter posted an anti-FBI graphic on its website urging members not to talk to the FBI. It later removed the graphic and claimed it was a mistake.
- The 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial publicized links between CAIR founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad and the Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization of U.S. Hamas support groups. CAIR was listed itself as a component of the committee in internal documents.
- The government named CAIR as an unindicted coconspirator in the trial, and the presiding judge ruled in a 2009 opinion that was unsealed last year that there was "ample evidence" tying CAIR to Hamas.
It's not the first time the NYPD has met CAIR's self-interested demands. In 2007, CAIR heavily criticized an NYPD report entitled "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat." Then-CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed said the report casted "a pall of suspicion over the entire American Muslim community" and labeled "almost every American Muslim as a potential terrorist."
Perhaps what CAIR really objected to was the report's analysis of the radicalization of former CAIR communications specialist Randall Todd Royer. A former U.S. Army soldier, Royer, as part of a 2004 plea agreement on weapons charges, admitted in a statement of facts to assisting others in "gaining entry to a jihad camp run by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan," a U.S. designated terrorist organization. In 2004, Royer testified in the case of Virginia cell leader Ali Al-Timimi, in which he admitted to encouraging others to seek training from LeT during a secret meeting held only days after 9/11. Royer's terror-linked actions overlapped with his time served with CAIR, from 1997, to at least the beginning of October 2001.
In 2009, the NYPD amended the report to include a statement of clarification which called the New York Muslim community its "ally" and added "that the NYPD's focus on al-Qaida inspired terrorism should not be mistaken for any implicit or explicit justification for racial, religious or ethnic profiling" and that it should "not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism." That wasn't good enough for CAIR. In a joint statement, the organization remained concerned that the report still contained "harmful stereotypes."
CAIR officials, it seems, have never seen a documentary, article or planned congressional investigation of radical Islam they consider "unbiased." Nor, it seems, have they found any law enforcement investigation of radical Islam worthy of their support. All of which makes it quite troubling that the leaders of the police department in the city most victimized by radical Muslim terrorists would roll over so easily.