Muslims Thank McKinney for Efforts on Their Behalf
By Susan Jones CNSNews.com Morning Editor August 23, 2002
(CNSNews.com) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, has written a letter to Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), thanking her "for all your efforts on behalf of our nation."
The letter also said, "We will support you in any future efforts, whether in the political arena or in the private sector, to promote the cause of justice and inclusion."
McKinney was defeated in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Georgia, so she will not return to Congress when her current term ends.
She drew heavy support from the Muslim community, while her challenger, former state court judge Denise Majette, received considerable support from Jewish contributors.
In a letter released Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations praised McKinney for her "willingness to do what is right, in spite of the consequences."
But some of what McKinney did raised eyebrows in both Republican and Democratic circles.
For starters, McKinney made national headlines in October 2001 for pursuing a $10 million charitable contribution from a Saudi prince - money intended to help victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani angrily returned the check, after Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal suggested that U.S. Middle East policy contributed to the terrorist attacks. The prince urged the U.S. to "re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause."
Then in March, McKinney suggested the Bush administration had failed to act on prior warnings of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In an interview with a Berkeley radio station, McKinney said, "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? What do they have to hide? Persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war," she charged.
But according to CAIR, McKinney "stood for the poor, the forgotten and the disenfranchised."
The letter said, "Your example motivated thousands of ordinary people to get involved in the political process and to fight for their civil rights and human dignity. The Muslim community wishes to once again thank you...""
Muslims grooming candidates for 2004
Islamic group on nationwide tour to urge political participation
Posted: May 20, 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A leading Islamic lobby group is on a nationwide tour to introduce Muslims to American politics. Building an influential voting bloc for the 2004 elections and eventually seeing Muslim candidates on ballots for everything from city council to congressional seats are two aims of the Virginia-based Muslim American Society, the St. Paul Pioneer press reported.
The MAS also wants to increase campaign donations for politicians who have represented Muslim interests, including civil-rights protections and immigrant issues.
On Saturday, MAS will lead a civil rights march and rally in Washington, D.C., it touts as the largest gathering of Muslims ever in the nation's capital.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, American Muslims, who traditionally focused on foreign policy, increasingly have made domestic policy their biggest concern, the St. Paul paper said. At a day-long workshop last Saturday in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., participants discussed issues such as mosque expansions, Islamic slaughterhouses and racial profiling.
The workshop turned 60 eager participants into lobbyists and, possibly, potential candidates, the Pioneer Press said.
"It's not just talking about issues that affect Muslims," workshop organizer Jessi Frenzel told the paper. "It's our duty as American residents to speak up on a lot of issues. To be a good citizen is to be a good Muslim."
Frenzel said he is considering a future in politics.
Another Muslim group held a political awareness seminar Sunday at the Islamic Center of Minnesota in Fridley in which participants learned how to approach the mayor, handle media interviews and build interfaith support.
About 700 Muslims ran for public office in 2000, and 153 were elected, the St. Paul paper reported. In 2002, however, the number of Muslim candidates dropped to fewer than 70, with about 15 elected, said Agha Saeed, a professor who has compiled the figures for the American Muslim Alliance.
One of a handful of Muslim candidates elected in the country last year was Keith Ellison, the first Muslim chosen for state office in Minnesota. Ellison, a member of the state House, said he was hit with a campaign "smear tactic" but now laughs about it. Fliers post in Minneapolis neighborhoods showed him in a bow tie with "Muhammad," his Muslim name, displayed prominently, the St. Paul paper reported. The message essentially said: Can this person really represent you?
Ellison said he wants to see Muslims add their voices to issues such as homeland security and the economy.
"I'm down here [at the Capitol] every day, and there's no Muslim presence at all," he told the Pioneer Press. "Without speaking up, people will pass repressive legislation on you. It's essential to raise your profile and find your political voice."
Muslim groups claimed their support of President Bush put him in office, but an exit poll by the Detroit News showed 66 percent of Muslims in Michigan voted for Al Gore. Muslims are heavily concentrated in Detroit and other major metropolitan areas including New York, Chicago and Southern California.
Rahma Farah, 18, who participated in the Saturday workshop, said the experience made her optimistic about the future of Islam and U.S. politics.
One day, she told the St. Paul daily, there may even be a Muslim president of the United States.
"Who knows?" Farah said. "Maybe in 2020."
MAS said, according to a news release, it is planning a June 9 workshop on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to train imams and other Islamic leaders in the "community-building skills of political participation and media relations."
The session will be part of the American Muslim Council's annual imam conference, from June 5th to June 9th.
"No leader in our community should miss this opportunity to build crucial outreach skills," said Dr. Souheil Ghannouchi, president of the Muslim American Society. "In order to be effective leaders, our imams must be able to engage government officials on issues of concern to the community and properly represent their faith to the media."
After the training seminar, imams will have lunch with Muslim congressional staffers, MAS said, providing "an ideal opportunity for networking and building practical knowledge of the role of Muslims in politics."
Should Muslim Quran be USA's top authority?
Paper stands by story citing 'mainstream' leader pushing for Islamic America
Posted: May 1, 2003 By Art Moore 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A former newspaper reporter says she stands by her story claiming the chairman of a leading Muslim lobby group declared the Quran should be America's highest authority. In a press release accusing WorldNetDaily of "demonizing Muslims," the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, denied its chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, made the statement and said it is seeking a retraction from the newspaper that published the story July 4, 1998.
However, Steve Waterhouse, editor of The Argus in Fremont, Calif., since 1997, told WND his paper has not been contacted by CAIR. The article also was run in a sister publication, the San Ramon Valley Herald. The paper's city editor, Dave Boitano, said he would have known if CAIR had sought a retraction.
The reporter who covered the event, Lisa Gardiner, told WND she remembers the strong statement by Ahmad, who was one of several speakers at a session titled, "How Should We As Muslims Live in America?" at an Islamic conference in Fremont.
Gardiner, regarded as a reliable reporter, is now a legislative aide for California Democratic Assemblyman John Dutra. She said the statement in question is her paraphrase but insisted it is accurate and will not retract the story.
Her article also paraphrases Ahmad saying, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant."
WND Editor Joseph Farah referred to Omar's remarks – which have been cited by other critics of CAIR – in a column last week on the Muslim group's campaign to derail President Bush's nomination of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to the U.S. Institute of Peace.
In its press release, CAIR said Farah's most recent articles "smeared" the Muslim group with numerous "falsehoods and distortions" in an attempt to support Pipes' "controversial" nomination. The group claims WND stories "prompted" readers to write "hate-filled" messages to CAIR, and that some are being examined by the Justice Department.
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer responded yesterday to a question by WND's White House correspondent about CAIR's opposition to Pipes.
"The nomination continues to stand," Fleischer said.
Living in America
Ahmad's remarks have been cited by CAIR critics in the context of charges the group is tied to a radical element of Islam rather than the mainstream it claims to represent.
Its press release says: "CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is a mainstream organization that regularly works with national law enforcement authorities, elected officials and other civil liberties and minority groups.
A copy of Gardiner's original article, provided by Waterhouse, said in part:
Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the board of the Council on American-Islamic relations, spoke before a packed crowd at the Flamingo Palace banquet hall on Peralta Boulevard, urging Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are "on the wrong side." Muslim institutions, schools and economic power should be strengthened in America, he said. Those who stay in America should be "open to society without melting (into it)," keeping mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam, he said.
"If you choose to live here (in America) ... you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam," he said.
Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, he said. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth, he said.
When asked whether CAIR had contacted the newspaper for a retraction as indicated by its press release, national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told WND, "[Ahmad] never made the statement, and we have sought a retraction."
Pressed several times to specify whether CAIR already has contacted the newspaper, he repeated the statement then finally said someone from CAIR's California affiliate made the contact.
When confronted with the fact that the newspaper's editors say CAIR has not contacted them and the reporter stands by the story, he ended the call with, "If you are going to use distortions, I can't stop you; it's a free country. Have a nice day."
Hooper called back, however, and said he wanted to change his statement to say, "We will seek a retraction, and we have spoken to the reporter about it in the past."
Although WND did not solicit or encourage the virulent e-mails, CAIR's press release ties them to the newssite, and Hooper told WND the Justice Department is "looking into it."
A Justice spokesman, Drew Wade, said the department does not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.
But Paul Bresson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who looked at CAIR's examples of the e-mails when WND forwarded him the press release, said the FBI thoroughly examines the merits of each case, and he could not immediately judge whether they rose to the level of a threat worthy of investigation. He added, however, if they essentially amounted to just epithets, a probe would be unlikely.
With just name-calling, "we would have a lot of work to do" to make a case out of it, he said.
So why is CAIR so upset with WorldNetDaily?
"CAIR's leadership," said Farah, "has an Islamic totalitarian mindset just like their funders in Saudi Arabia and their friends in the Hamas terrorist group. They dish it out pretty well, but they can't take any criticism – not even e-mails! You should see the hate mail I get from CAIR's members. It would make your hair stand on end."
Farah added: "These extremists like to try to intimidate people, but they can't stand up like men and take it. Now they are running to the Justice Department for help. Fortunately for us, we don't have Shariah law in this country; we live free under the U.S. Constitution."
Motivated to promote unity
Gardiner explained the newspaper's coverage of Ahmad's 1998 speech – well before Sept. 11, 2001 – was partly motivated by the "need to know more about the diversity of religions in California and the world."
"That was something we worked for, and the newspaper was covering many Muslims in the community," she said.
She considered her personal interaction with the Muslim leaders "extremely positive" and enriching.
"I think it would be unfortunate if this [controversy] ultimately ended up creating more hostility and misunderstanding," she said.
Party official censured for 'Islamophobia'
Party official's offending e-mail thanked God Muslims not majority
Posted: April 30, 2003 By Art Moore 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Under pressure from a controversial Muslim lobby group, a Canadian party official has been censured for his angry defense of Rev. Franklin Graham's Christian relief work in Iraq. When Stephen Leach fired off an e-mail to the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Canadian affiliate for its excoriation of Graham's plans for Iraq, he thought he was acting as a private citizen.
However, the Muslim group apparently discovered Leach's affiliation through an Internet search and turned the e-mail into a public campaign. Leach is vice president of the Progressive Conservative party's Oshawa, Ontario, riding, or district.
In his e-mail to CAIR, he called the group's recent demand Graham be barred from working in Iraq a "hate crime."
Leach wrote: "North America was not founded on Muslim principles, else, we wouldn't be the strong continent we are today. We would be a [backwoods] civilization, like many Muslim nations found in the Middle East today."
In response to concerns about his e-mail, Leach said, "This is my opinion, this is no opinion based on anybody else but my own."
But CAIR Canada issued a news release calling on party leaders to repudiate the remarks. After some negotiation, Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark agreed last week to denounce Leach's comments, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper reported.
CAIR Canada said when it "contacted leader Joe Clark for a statement regarding the party's position on Islamophobia, his office refused to intervene, characterizing the issue as a private conflict between individuals."
Nevertheless, Clark eventually helped draft a joint statement with CAIR Canada's spokesman, Riad Saloojee, which said the remarks "were completely unacceptable and inappropriate."
A CAIR news release said Sheema Khan, chair of CAIR Canada, concluded a conversation with party officials saying she was satisfied the Progressive Conservative Party would continue to be an ally of CAIR "in the defense of the principles of multiculturalism and inclusiveness."
Last month, CAIR's U.S. spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, criticized Graham and other evangelical Christians for using humanitarian concerns as a "cover" for their "true motive" – to convert Muslims to Christianity.
"They go after them when they're most vulnerable and hope they can get them to leave their faith," he told Beliefnet. "It's a very despicable practice."
The Muslim leader, who has said he wants the U.S. eventually to become a Muslim nation, said, "Franklin Graham obviously thinks it is a war against Islam."
"This is a guy who gave the invocation at President Bush's inauguration and believes Islam is a wicked faith," Hooper said. "And he's going to go into Iraq in the wake of an invading army and convert people to Christianity? Nothing good is coming of that."
Leach's e-mail to CAIR Canada said:
"Your organization has publically (sic) endorsed a HATE CRIME against Christians as Billy Grahams son is working to assist helping out refugees from Iraq. "If this was the other way around, no one would doubt a HATE CRIME had been purpetrated (sic).
"I am shocked and dismayed by the belief structure being upheld by Muslims in North America where everyone has the freedom of speech and religion.
"North American was NOT founded on Muslim principles, else, we wouldn't be the strong continent we are today. We would be a bag woods (sic) civilization like many Muslim nations found in the Middle East today.
"I demand a public apology by your President to Mr. Graham immediately and would recommend you work WITH Christians and Jews, and not against them as your faith would have it.
"Yeah, we are the infidel (sic), but in North America, thank God you are a minority religion and not one which the vast majority of North Americans adhere to.
"Truely (sic) disgusting!! Hell, even I fly the Red, White & Blue and I'm not even an American. I'm Canadian. :) God Bless America, God Bless the Allies, God Bless the soon to be [free] Iraqi's (sic), their freedom paid for in blood of those nations which actually give a damn about them."
A party spokesman said it is now up to Leach's local party leader to decide whether further disciplinary action against him is required.
The CAIR Canada chair Khan apparently was satisfied with the outcome, stating in the joint release, "I am confident these internal [party] matters are being addressed with the seriousness they deserve."
Leach told the Ottawa Citizen he did not think it was fair to drag his party into the controversy, but insisted members of the Conservatives and the government share his opinions.
"Because of the role they play right now, they don't say such things publicly," he said.
Leach also refused to apologize for his remarks, vowing to "never back down."
"I was just upset that these people can condemn an organization like Franklin Graham's," he said. "That is fear-mongering, hate in itself."
A group calling itself Anti-CAIR has set up a website "exposing the truth about the Council on American-Islamic Relations," which it calls "just one of many anti-American terrorist-sponsoring organizations hiding behind the religion of Islam in the United States today."
Responding to CAIR's criticism of the Pentagon for inviting Graham to speak at a Good Friday service, Anti-CAIR issued a news release stating, "While ACAIR supports the rights of members of the Islamic faith to oppose the appearance of Rev. Graham, we do not understand the involvement of CAIR in the dispute."
ACAIR charged: "CAIR is an Islamic fundamentalist organization dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America. CAIR is not qualified to speak on behalf of mainstream Muslims in America."
Anti-CAIR also has defended Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, whose nomination by President Bush to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace has generated a CAIR campaign.
fires terror professor
USF sacks Sami al-Arian after arrest for conspiracy, racketeering
Posted: February 26, 2003 By Diana Lynne WorldNetDaily.com
The University of South Florida has fired a tenured professor jailed last week for allegedly
running an international terrorist organization.
"We have determined that the University of South Florida must sever all ties to Sami
al-Arian once and for all," USF President Judy Genshaft announced at a press conference.
"Today, the provost has issued a letter to terminate Dr. al-Arian's employment
As WorldNetDaily reported, computer science professor Sami al-Arian was arrested by
federal agents last Thursday.
USF Professor Sami al-Arian arrested for supporting terrorists
A federal indictment accuses al-Arian of serving as the North American point man and
treasurer of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group designated by the State Department as
an international terrorist organization.
The 50-count indictment also charges al-Arian, two other former and current instructors at
USF and five other individuals of operating a criminal racketeering enterprise that provided
funding and organization for the global terror ring responsible for the deaths of 100 people
in and around Israel, including two Americans.
In addition to criminal racketeering, al-Arian and the seven others are charged with
conspiracy to kill and maim people abroad; conspiracy to provide material support to the
terrorist group; extortion; perjury; mail and wire fraud; obstruction of justice; and
attempting to procure citizenship or naturalization unlawfully to help terrorists.
If convicted, the men could face life in prison.
Al-Arian and the seven alleged co-conspirators are described as having set up a terror cell
In the 1980s, al-Arian founded a religious charity, the Islamic Concern Project, that federal
authorities now say has been funneling money and providing organizational support to
Islamic Jihad since 1984.
In conjunction with his brother-in-law, Mazen al-Najjar, al-Arian also founded the World
and Islam Studies Enterprises, or WISE, a now-defunct Islamic think tank at USF.
Federal agents raided the think tank, the charity and al-Arian's home and office at USF in
1995. They seized tapes from the late 1980s and early 1990s in which al-Arian proclaims
"Death to Israel" and "Let us damn America," in Arabic.
Al-Najjar was arrested in November 2001 on suspicion of ties to terrorists and was
deported last August.
Amid the federal investigation into his suspected association with terrorist organizations,
USF suspended al-Arian with pay in December 2001 and banned him from the campus.
The university maintains the accusations against al-Arian and the media attention hurt the
school's fund-raising efforts and threats raised concerns over student safety.
"Dr. al-Arian has repeatedly abused his position at the university. He has misused the
university's name, reputation, resources and personnel," Genshaft told reporters this
morning. "No longer will he be able to hide behind the shield of academic freedom."
An assistant at the office of al-Arian's civil attorney Robert McKee told WorldNetDaily he
had just received the documents from USF. He plans to go over them with al-Arian later
today and is withholding comment in the meantime.
Federal agents also arrested another USF professor, 42-year-old Sameeh Hammoudeh.
Also indicted but still at large overseas, is former USF instructor Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.
He served as the executive director of al-Arian's charity and recently became the head of
the worldwide Islamic Jihad. Shallah lives in Damascus, Syria.
USF is not actively taking steps to terminate Hammoudeh. A spokesperson told
WorldNetDaily that because he is an adjunct professor who gets paid on an hourly basis,
his incarceration sufficiently ends his association with the university.
When asked what would happen if Hammoudeh were to be released on bail, the
spokesperson could not say whether he would be allowed to teach again.
WorldNetDaily reports U.S. Magistrate Mark Pizzo issued a continuance yesterday after
al-Arian's lawyers said they weren't prepared to make a case before the judge to have
their client released on bond. The judge ordered al-Arian to stay in federal custody until
In a statement released by his family, the Kuwait-born al-Arian claimed he was being
persecuted and declared he would go on a hunger strike: ''I'm crucified today because of
who I am, a famous Palestinian, an Arab and Muslim, an outspoken advocate for Palestinian
''I am a prisoner because of the hysteria engulfing the country in the aftermath of the 9-11
tragedy and because there are very powerful political groups which are thirsty for my
blood,'' al-Arian wrote in the statement obtained by the Miami Herald. "I am not the enemy,
but the forces of exclusion and intolerance are. I have declared a hunger strike to protest
this unjust persecution of me because of my beliefs and opinions.''
The American Association of University Professors has supported al-Arian, calling his plight
a major civil rights issue.
As WorldNetDaily reported, an Islamic school in Tampa has removed al-Arian from its board
of trustees. Some analysts believe the professor's role at the academy raises disturbing
questions about the use of mosques and schools in America by terrorist sympathizers as
fronts or bases of operation for terrorist groups and their activities.
try to quash Bush nominee
Washington Post backs radical group's opposition to Daniel Pipes
Posted: April 22, 2003 By Art Moore WorldNetDaily.com
A controversial Islamic lobby group that casts itself as a mainstream voice for American
Muslims is fiercely opposing President Bush's nomination of a leading Middle East scholar to
the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, charges that
Daniel Pipes, director of a Philadelphia-based think tank, the Middle East Forum, is an
"Islamophobe" whose views "have been instrumental in widening the divide between faiths
Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Pipes, who speaks Arabic and has a Ph.D.
from Harvard, was castigated by Muslims as a racist for insisting militant Islam is a serious
threat to U.S. security. Since then, he has been in regular demand as a pundit on
television news programs, often explaining the distinction he makes between militant Islam
and Islam in general.
Like CAIR, however, many U.S. Muslim activist groups insist he unfairly paints Muslims in
broad strokes, and on Sunday the Washington Post supported that assertion in an editorial
condemning the nomination as "sort of a cruel joke."
The Post objected to Pipes' argument that since only Muslims are vulnerable to becoming
militant Muslims or "Islamists," therefore Muslims should be given more scrutiny by U.S.
security than others.
The paper said the Bush administration "has gone to particular pains to calm the nerves of
U.S. Muslims, who are ever anxious that they are being singularly scrutinized. As long as
there is an operational Justice Department actively investigating terrorism, this outreach
campaign will never work perfectly. But the Pipes nomination is salt in the wound."
Pipes argues, however, that while the problem is radicalized "Islamists," and not mainstream
Muslims, "one must look at Muslims to find Islamists."
He believes Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the
diplomatic corps "need to be watched for connections to terrorism" and "mosques require a
scrutiny beyond that applied to churches and temples."
"To find Islamists, you would naturally look at the population they are most likely to come
out of, and that is Muslims," he told WorldNetDaily. "That is the difficult dimension of this."
Pipes said he could not comment on the Peace Institute nomination since it is a pending
Senate matter. CAIR has refused to speak with WorldNetDaily because of content it
regards as anti-Muslim. Pipes has written columns for WND.
If approved by the Senate, Pipes would become one of 15 board members of the U.S.
Institute of Peace, established by Congress in 1984 as a think tank to promote "the
prevention, management and resolution of international conflicts." The panel, which meets
six times a year, can have no more than eight voting members of the same political party.
Pipes, the author of 11 books, including "Militant Islam Reaches America", served in the
U.S. Departments of State and Defense and directed the Foreign Policy Research Institute
In a letter urging President Bush to rescind the nomination, CAIR Executive Director Nihad
Awad said Pipes' "bigoted views have been instrumental in widening the divide between
faiths and cultures."
"Unfortunately, no credible Muslim leader in the United States or around the world could
cooperate with an organization in which Pipes has a decision-making role," he said.
However, a report by Pakistan Today last week contended "many moderate American
Muslims, frustrated by and angry at the extremist policies of militant Islamist organizations
in the U.S. and their efforts to portray themselves as the sole voice of Islam, have
welcomed the nomination of Daniel Pipes."
Among the supporters, the report named Tashbih Sayyed, president of the Council for
Democracy and Tolerance, and Islamic scholar Khalid Duran, the target of a death edict in
2001 after CAIR attacked him for his book.
CAIR was featured in the U.S. State Department's Madison Avenue-style campaign to win
the "hearts and minds" of Muslims around the world, and President Bush invited Awad to
the White House shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the Muslim critics maintain CAIR
and similar groups are conduits for radical Islam, including Saudi Arabia, which promotes its
strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam in the U.S. through prison recruitment, military
chaplains, Muslim student organizations and underwriting as many as 80 percent of
Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud
gave $500,000 for CAIR's program to put pro-Islam books and tapes in 17,000 American
That gift came just a few days after CAIR issued a press release, stating: "In all its actions
and statements, CAIR seeks to reflect the mainstream beliefs and views of the Muslim
community in North America ... . We do not support directly or indirectly, or receive
support from, any overseas group or government."
U.S. Muslim leader W. D. Muhammad has noted that when Saudi Arabia makes such gifts it
requires that the receiver "prefer our school of thought."
CAIR's Awad attended a symposium in Riyadh in March 2002 that featured a session
"devoted to Saudi Arabia's efforts to promote dialogue between civilizations through the
establishment of cultural and Islamic centers in different countries around the world, "
according to the website of the Saudi embassy in Washington.
In January, the group's community affairs director, Bassem K. Khafagi, was arrested by
federal agents in connection with a probe of the Islamic Assembly of North America, an
organization suspected of aiding Saudi sheiks tied to Osama bin Laden.
Critics charge that the result of "civil-rights" lobby efforts by CAIR and similar groups is
watered-down immigration laws, security procedures and intelligence. But Pipes – who says
CAIR has sent out "nearly a hundred tirades impugning my reputation since July 1999" –
sees a much more pernicious aim.
"In short," he says, "CAIR represents not the great civilization of Islam, but a radical
utopian movement originating in the Middle East that seeks to impose its ways on the
United States. Americans should consider themselves warned: A new danger exists in their
CAIR chairman Omar M. Ahmad said at a public meeting in July 1998, according to the San
Ramon Valley Herald, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become
The Quran, Ahmad said, "should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only
accepted religion on earth."
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star
Tribune that he wants the United States to become a Muslim country.
"I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United
States to be Islamic sometime in the future," Hooper told the Star Tribune. "But I'm not
going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."
Founded in 1994, CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association for Palestine, identified as a
"front group" for the terrorist group Hamas, according to Steve Pomerantz, former chief of
the FBI's counterterrorism section.
Another ex-FBI counterterrorism chief, Oliver "Buck" Revell, has called the Islamic
Association For Palestine – both Awad's and Hooper's former employer – "a front
organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants."
CAIR advisory board member Siraj Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White on
Feb. 2, 1995, as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators in
the attempt to blow up New York City monuments," including the World Trade Center in
CAIR called the conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, including Sheik Omar
Abdul Rahman, "a travesty of justice."
Wahhaj, who invited Rahman to speak at his mosque and testified on his behalf during the
trial, has called for the U.S. government to be replaced with a Muslim caliphate.
In 1994, CAIR coordinated a series of meetings for Bassam Alamoush, a Jordanian Islamic
militant who has called killing Jews a "good deed."
The Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International said Alamoush delivered the
following public address in the Spring of 1998: "Somebody approached me at the mosque
and asked me, 'If I see a Jew in the street should I kill him?'"
After pausing a moment with a dumbfounded face, the Journal said, Alamoush answered
the question to a laughing crowd: "Don't ask me. After you kill him come and tell me. What
do you want from me, a fatwa? Really, a good deed does not require one."
Later in the speech Alamoush interrupted his presentation to say: "Good news – there has
been a suicide operation in Jerusalem."
Defense of violence
CAIR – which devotes a section on its website to the question, "Who is Daniel Pipes?" –
has focused since Sept. 11, 2001, on responding to what it perceives as a rising tide of
negative stereotypes about Muslims.
The group released a report last May, based on complaints solicited by its website,
suggesting there had been a major upsurge in anti-Muslim discrimination in the U.S. since
Sept. 11. Only 1 percent of the 1,500 complaints had to do with the threat of violence,
In February, CAIR launched a year-long series of full-page New York Times ads that cover
issues such as terrorism. One ad calls terrorism "a tactic employed by deluded individuals"
and emphasizes "it is not condoned by Islam or any other religion."
But along with statements by CAIR leaders, Pipes sees numerous examples of the group's
defense of Islamist violence, including:
Picketing the Dallas Morning News for revealing the Hamas infrastructure in Texas.
Launching a campaign against the Tampa Tribune for uncovering the Islamic Jihad network
in that city.
Criticizing the Journal of the American Medical Association for investigating the medical
condition of victims of terrorism, and the children's magazine, The Weekly Reader's Current
Events, for publishing material on international terrorism.
Denouncing the Atlantic Monthly for publishing an article on Islamist violence in Sudan
Denouncing a Senate Subcommittee for holding a hearing on "Foreign Terrorists in America:
Five Years After the World Trade Center Bombing."
Pipes notes that CAIR also attacked the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles for
portraying the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini as a Hitler-like enemy of Jews, and
criticized Reader's Digest for documenting the repression of Christians in several Muslim
CAIR called on the Catholic Church to investigate noted priest Richard John Neuhaus, editor
of the journal First Things, when he condemned contemporary Islam's "resentments and
suspicions, alternating with low-grade jihad in the form of the persecution of Christians,
international terrorism, and dreams of driving Israel into the sea."
Supporters of CAIR sent Neuhaus an avalanche of abusive mail accusing him of being
"obviously mentally ill" and "doing the work of Adolf Hitler."
Other Washington, D.C.-based groups opposing Pipes' nomination include the Muslim
American Society, which issued an e-mail dispatch yesterday titled "Anti-Muslim Bigot to
Appear on C-SPAN."
It urges supporters to call in to the network's "Washington Journal" program at 9 a.m.
Eastern time today "to challenge Pipes on his racist, anti-Muslim views."
Among the e-mail's suggested "talking points" was the assertion "if Congress confirms Pipes'
nomination, [it] will send the message that anti-Muslim bigotry is acceptable."
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