Politics
National Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations Nihad Awad holds a translated copy of the Quran as he speaks during a news conference at the headquarters of CAIR on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) National Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations Nihad Awad holds a translated copy of the Quran as he speaks during a news conference at the headquarters of CAIR on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

Justice Dept. inspector general investigates FBI, CAIR ties

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating the FBI’s contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The investigation comes amid increased pressure from Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf to end formal and informal contacts between FBI officials and CAIR.

The White House, however, is prodding federal agencies to meet with CAIR, which has close ties to Islamist groups, such as HAMAS. “There is hundreds of examples of departments and agencies that meet with CAIR on a range of issues,” George Selim, the White House’s new director for community partnerships, told The Daily Caller June 7.

“I was was shocked, but not surprised” at the news about the White House’s outreach to CAIR, Wolf told TheDC on Monday.

“For the administration to be meeting with these people is disappointing and shocking, but … the administration is disappointing,” Wolf said.

CAIR is especially controversial because of its many links to the theocratic Muslim Brotherhood, whose political wing is set to dominate Egyptian politics since the 2011 departure of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.

In 2009 a judge confirmed the Justice Department’s decision to name CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation conspiracy to smuggle funds to HAMAS, which is a jihadi affiliate of the Egypt-based brotherhood. Five men in the smuggling ring were sentenced to jail in 2009, including two who were given 65-year sentences. Five current or former CAIR employees have been jailed or deported for terror-related offenses.

Wolf has sponsored language in a pending House measure that pressures the FBI to sever relations with CAIR.

“The [appropriations] committee understands that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an existing policy prohibiting its employees from engaging in any formal non-investigative cooperation with CAIR [and] the committee encourages the attorney general to adopt a similar policy for all department officials,” said the committee report accompanying the 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, passed in mid-May by the House.

The Justice Department’s IG began investigating the FBI’s contacts with CAIR in March. Spokesman Jay Lerner declined to provide any details about the investigation, but pointed to a short passage in the IG’s semiannual report to Congress, released April 30.

“The OIG is reviewing interactions between FBI field offices and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The review will determine if these interactions were in compliance with FBI policy and guidance that restricts certain interactions with CAIR,” said IG Michael Horowitz.

The FBI has contacts with many groups, said FBI spokesman Chris Allen. “But CAIR is not a group that we work with,” he said.

The funds in the Holy Land operation were intended for HAMAS, which controls the Gaza Strip between Egypt and Israel. HAMAS has launched thousands of missile attacks against Jewish residents in Israel, because it believes Israel’s territory should be ruled by Muslims.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper declined to comment.

The outreach to CAIR is controversial because of CAIR’s ties to HAMAS, but also because it is part of a controversial effort by the White House to cooperate with various Muslim groups in the United States.

The cooperation is intended to avert jihadi attacks in the United States, but also to bring Muslim groups into the Democrats’ progressive-led diversity coalition.

The cooperation effort accepts the separatist demand by CAIR and other Muslim advocacy groups that they — but not elected politicians — should represent the nation’s 2 million-plus Muslim residents and citizens, according to critics.

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