By: James Simpson | Capital Research Center
Summary: The Council on American-Islamic Relations has a history fraught with questionable associations and dubious claims related to Islam and terrorism. In its latest report, CAIR targets numerous nonprofit groups and grantmakers for “funding hate.” But these so-called “Islamophobic” groups are not hate groups at all—unless you use the definition of “hate” promoted by the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center. This careful analysis of CAIR’s report will debunk many of the organization’s central arguments.
CAIR the Domestic Branch of a Foreign Terrorist Organization
It’s important to note that CAIR was originally founded in 1994 as the domestic front group for the Palestinian terrorist group HAMAS, with Nihad Awad as director. CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Islamic Trust are also unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial, the largest U.S. trial of its kind.
Court documents revealed in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial further established connections with HAMAS among CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust, and other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups. A judge in the case concurred that CAIR was connected to HAMAS, and Nihad Awad himself was recorded in 1994 publicly describing his decision to support HAMAS. CAIR and the other groups remain on the list of unindicted co-conspirators and avoided prosecution only because their indictments were squelched by the Obama Justice Department.
Furthermore, CAIR, like every other Muslim Brotherhood group in the U.S., now takes its orders directly from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Turkey has become the de facto leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is odd, because Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates have all declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
But Turkey makes no bones about supporting the terrorist group HAMAS. As described in the recent publication Ally No More: Erdoğan’s New Turkish Caliphate and the Rising Jihadist Threat to the West:
President Erdoğan has neither concealed his support for HAMAS nor been slow to act when HAMAS has called upon AKP [the acronym for Turkey’s Justice and Development Party] leadership and required his assistance. As will be shown later, USCMO senior leadership led by Secretary General Oussama Jammal and CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad has pledged its fidelity to Erdoğan. Despite the conviction of several former CAIR officials for various crimes related to jihad terror, CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce HAMAS as a terrorist group.
CAIR director Nihad Awad is center front of the photo where U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders came to meet directly with Erdoğan in 2016. Awad has since met with Erdoğan in 2017 and 2018. Why has CAIR not registered as an agent of a foreign government? For that matter, why hasn’t it been declared a terrorist group?
Consider that zakat, a tithe of 2.5 percent of one’s wealth for those who qualify, is an obligatory component of the Ramadan celebration, to be paid before the Eid prayer ending Ramadan.
What most people don’t realize, and Muslim leaders are quick to deny, is that 1/8th of zakat must go to support jihadi operations. This includes all methods used to establish Islamic hegemony across the globe: terrorism, terror support, subversion, and propaganda—anything that advances the Ummah.
John Guandolo is a former Marine combat veteran and decorated FBI officer who, according to his bio, “created and implemented the FBI’s first Counterterrorism Training Program focused on the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Doctrine, and the global Islamic Movement …” Guandolo went on to found Understanding the Threat, an organization that provides threat-focused strategic and operational consultation, training, and education for all levels of government agencies and the private sector. Today, Guandolo instructs law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. about threats to national security, including threats related to Islamic terrorism.
According to Guandolo, CAIR receives zakat donations, and all of it goes to this category. Guandolo explains:
Sharia [Islamic law] states the eight (8) categories are: (1) the poor; (2) those short of money; (3) zakat workers; (4) those whose hearts are to be reconciled; (5) those purchasing their freedom; (6) those in debt; (7) those fighting for Allah; (8) travelers needing money.
Specifically, category 7 is defined in sharia as: “Those Fighting for Allah.” … [M]eaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster, but who are volunteers for jihad without remuneration. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses for the duration of the journey, round trip, and the time they spend there, even if prolonged.” [Um dat al Salik, Book H zakat, H8.17]
The North American Islamic Trust describes frankly how it uses income generated from the properties it holds as a form of zakat:
The property is then used for purposes that are shariah compliant. Essential to the scheme is that the corpus of the property remains intact while income derived therefrom, or the property itself, is used for diverse Islamic causes as a sadaqa jariya (recurring, continuous or on-going charity) including socio-economic, military, or political purposes for the benefit of Muslims as well as non-Muslims. [Emphasis added.]
Significantly, those convicted in the Holy Land Foundation trial were all convicted of using zakat to support Islamic terrorism conducted by the Palestinian terrorist group HAMAS.
CAIR’s Real Agenda: Attacking Its Most Threatening Opponents
Interestingly, Understanding the Threat is not one of the 47 listed as a part of the “Islamophobia Network,” and Guandolo gets mentioned only in the small print of CAIR’s Islamophobia report. However, CAIR relentlessly targets Guandolo. CAIR, SPLC, and the ACLU pile on, both in written reports and relentless efforts to stop his training program. They warn law enforcement agencies not to hire him and publicize their objections to his training and speaking events.
David Bores, a retired Army Colonel and former chief of police, also provides instruction free of charge to both law enforcement and civilians on Sharia crime. CAIR and its allies also routinely attempt to block his training, aggressively attacking members of law enforcement and aligned organizations that decide to host him. CAIR is assisted in its efforts by mainstream news organizations like Newsweek.
CAIR could gain some credibility by forcefully denouncing terrorism. But they don’t. Instead, they work aggressively to undermine law enforcement efforts to ferret out jihadis in the U.S. and attack anyone who associates Islam with what these and other Islamic terrorist groups do.
CAIR recently demanded the US Army War College drop Raymond Ibrahim, a noted scholar on the history of Islam, from its list of lecturers. Since when does a “civil rights advocacy” organization get to dictate or limit what our defense establishment can study, especially since Islamic terrorism is a major and demonstrated threat our nation faces today?
Rather than ignore or push back against this outrageous demand, the War College has canceled Ibrahim’s presentation, using a flimsy excuse about timing. That is a frightening demonstration about the power of words and shows why, despite its obvious dishonesty, CAIR is willing to hang “Islamophobe” over the heads of such organizations. Many will fold out of fear of criticism—and our soldiers are denied critical information as a result.
The day after the San Bernardino attacks which left 14 dead, CAIR ushered Syed Raheel Farook before the media cameras. Raheel is the brother of gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, and he struggled to explain how his brother could do such a thing. CAIR then went on to smear Tea Party groups that had warned local city council members about the threat of Islamic terrorism mere days before. Raheel was later convicted of immigration fraud as part of a scheme that involved Enrique Marquez, the neighbor who supplied weapons to the terrorists.
Even if you make the claim that these terrorists practice a distorted version of Islam, why wouldn’t CAIR want law enforcement to take every action it could to protect Americans instead of thwarting its efforts? Has CAIR facilitated any undercover work at the mosques where most terrorist activity gets stirred up? Perish the thought! They defend them.
Furthermore, is protesting sharia—i.e., Islamic law—a bad thing? It condones things like female genital mutilation, polygamy, and child brides. CAIR is litigation-happy and uses frivolous lawsuits almost daily to challenge American laws, national security efforts, and seeks to carve out exceptions that will accommodate sharia in direct contravention of our Constitution.
CAIR Chicago brags of having launched almost 5,500 suits in its 15 years of business, with 396 in 2018 alone. Jaylani Hussein, director of CAIR Minnesota, recently bragged of 360 lawsuits in 2017.
CAIR recently lost a three-year lawsuit in Oklahoma, where it had attempted to frame a gun club for discrimination. David Yerushalmi’s American Freedom Law Center, which CAIR targets in its report, represented the defendant. The gun club owner stated in court, that following the Chattanooga, Tennessee, terrorist attack in July 2015, where five servicemembers were killed:
On October 23, 2015, Plaintiff Raja’ee Fatihah, a board member for the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR—an organization that federal, state, and foreign governments acknowledge has ties to terrorism—went to Defendants’ gun range armed with a loaded (round in the chamber) military-issue handgun strapped to his side, a military-style rifle slung over his shoulder, magazines loaded with approximately 140 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, a concealed recording device in his pocket, and a dangerous agenda: to create a controversy with armed individuals at the gun range, hoping that he would not be allowed to fire his weapons so he could file this meritless lawsuit and run to the media with his pre-arranged “Islamophobia” narrative, knowing that the liberal media would willingly serve as an echo chamber for his spurious claim of discrimination.
The range owners determined Fatihah was threatening the safety of its customers, its employees, and the community, and was in violation of clearly posted range rules. He was therefore prevented from using the facility.
Significantly, the range rules explicitly stated that the club would not knowingly assist in the training of any terrorist. Following the March terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, the club posted a sign stating:
In case you were wondering (or had questions), “terrorist” includes the following:
If you support or are associated with any of these organizations, do not enter these doors!
In court the owners defended their right to exclude anyone associated with terrorism in any way, stating: with regard to Mr. Fatihah’s association with terrorist organizations, we learned from the Internet that he is a board member of CAIR-Oklahoma. We have produced, and included in our summary judgment filings, numerous documents from the public record connecting CAIR with terrorists, including documents from the Holy Land Foundation criminal trial where the presiding judge stated in his written opinion that the United States government “produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (‘IAP’), and with Hamas.” We incorporate all these documents and exhibits into this response. Hamas is officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government. The United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally, has officially designated CAIR a terrorist organization. We also produced information about a recent resolution from the Arkansas House of Representatives setting forth CAIR’s ties to terrorists.
On April 23, 2019, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.
This June, the American Freedom Law Center won another important 11-year-long case against CAIR in Virginia. This was a lawsuit launched by the AFLC on behalf of three victims of a “massive fraud first carried out, and then concealed by CAIR.” Settlement amounts were undisclosed but according to AFLC, its clients were “very happy” with the outcome.
In 2015, CAIR released a report about the increased frequency of hate crimes targeting mosques. But there are also reports of some mosque fires being set by Muslims intentionally, hoping to create more strife and division. CAIR might have mentioned another similar incident at the Savoy Masjid Mosque in Houston. The Council initially demanded that fire be investigated as a hate crime. However, that one was set by a devout Muslim who attended the mosque many times daily. CAIR has since moved on.
Why doesn’t CAIR ever mention the almost routine Islamic terrorist attacks occurring around the world? They keep claiming terrorism is not part of Islam, which is a “peaceful religion.” If terrorism is not part of Islamic ideology, there are a lot of misinformed Muslims killing people for no reason.
This SPLC/CAIR report is yet another towering example of Red/Green Axis propaganda. CAIR Chicago just announced its new Lantern Project. This is a website very similar in design and intent to that of the SPLC, but will focus on “Islamophobia.” CAIR intends the project to be an ongoing effort—CAIR’s very own version of SPLC—to identify, vilify and doxx its opponents.
While CAIR hopes to undermine its political enemies by intimidating funders with its “Islamophobia” report, it has actually done more to undermine its own cause. As documented herein, it is a study in false and misleading statements designed to undermine the financial support for those it hates, not least of which are organizations that have been successfully exposing CAIR for what it truly is.
In CAIR, we are not dealing with a “social welfare” or “civil rights” organization. CAIR and its Muslim Brotherhood network is a domestic enemy, determined to first remove those of us exposing its true, ugly underbelly, then join with the Left in “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…”