Hamas-associated CAIR applauded by White House

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

White House officials have applauded advocacy efforts by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, even though top FBI managers refuse to meet its leaders, the council has been judged by courts to have been associated with the Islamic terror group Hamas, and several of its employees and members have been jailed or expelled for jihadi-related terrorist offenses since 2001.

CAIR was publicly applauded at a Mar. 10 White House event by Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, for its work with MTV to counter “bullying.” “Bullying can be prevented if we all take action,” said Jarrett, as she cited the MTV project, and named CAIR as a partner.

After lauding the National Education Association, Cartoon Network and a litany of other Democratic-affiliated advocacy groups and companies that are part of the White House’s “anti-bullying” campaign to reshape children’s opinions, Jarrett thanked MTV for “launching a new coalition that will work to fight bullying and intolerance online.” The coalition partners include the Hispanic advocacy group, “the National Council of La Raza, the Anti-Defamation League, and the [Council on] American-Islamic Relations, GLAAD and many others,” Jarrett said.

“There’s no controversy,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s press secretary. To advance CAIR’s causes, including “cyber-bullying,” he said, “we do what we think is necessary…what other people do is up to them.”

White House officials declined to respond to inquiries from The Daily Caller.

On Feb. 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a House hearing that the FBI does “not have a relationship with CAIR [because] there are individuals in CAIR with whom we had issues with and continue to have issues with.” When pressed by Republican New York Rep. Peter King, Mueller added that “there are occasions when individuals who may be either loosely associated with CAIR or may have attended a CAIR event that we do have relationships with… [and] on some occasions, we may be at [events] or with persons who have an affiliation with CAIR.”

The issues that Mueller referred to include the 2008 Holy Land Fund trial, where evidence showed that the most prominent Muslim advocacy groups in the United States had associations with Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. The tied groups include the Islamic Society of North America, which is an umbrella organization for many Muslim groups, and the North American Islamic Trust, which owns the titles to many U.S. mosques. “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas,” Judge Jorge Solis said in a July 2009 ruling.

CAIR is connected with Hamas through its director, Nihad Awad, who was a co-founder in 1994 of the Islamic Association for Palestine. Documents subsequently presented in court by the federal government showed the IAP was the U.S. propaganda and advocacy arm of Hamas, according to data provided by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, founded by journalist Steve Emerson. In turn, the IAP was one element of a larger circle of organizations founded by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1993, these various groups met in Philadelphia and proposed the creation of a media-advocacy organization, according to a FBI tape-recording of the meeting. Awad attended the meeting, as did another CAIR co-founder, Omar Ahmed, who declared that “if Muslims engage in political activism in America and started to be concerned with Congress and public relations we will have an entry point to use them to pressure Congress and the decision-makers in America,” according documents provided by Emerson’s IPT.

Since then, Hamas has instigated and applauded many bloody attacks on Jews, including suicide-bombs detonated on buses and in restaurants. For example, the March 11 killing of the Fogel family, including one infant and a 3 year-old, was endorsed in the Arabic-language portion of Hamas’ website, alqassam.ps, according to a translation provided by a U.S. website, translating-jihad. “Our correspondent in Nablus reported that a Palestinian mujahid [Islamic warrior] was able to break into the usurper [settlement] of ‘Itamar’ south of Nablus in the occupied [West] Bank, and stabbed five Zionist usurpers,” the article said. Another article, published on the Hamas-tied felesteen.ps website, declared the murders to be a “heroic operation,” according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

As of March 17, CAIR’s website did not carry any condemnation of the jihadi attack. The most recent press release displayed on the group’s website was issued March 10, and decried a congressional hearing on Islamic radicalization among Muslim communities.

Hamas has also prompted gays to flee from its Gaza territory. Agudah, an Israeli advocacy group for gays and lesbians, tries to win sanctuary for gays from Gaza who fear they will be executed, as required by Hamas’ application of Islamic law, if they are exposed in Gaza.

CAIR is playing a role in the broad “anti-bullying” campaign by working with the “A Thin Line” project established by the New York-based cable-TV channel MTV. The coalition is intended “to fight bullying and intolerance online,” and it also includes the National Council of La Raza, Anti-Defamation League, and GLAAD. The White House’s website highlighted the MTV project, describing it “a new anti-digital discrimination coalition, which will work with MTV to fight bullying and intolerance online (in partnership with the National Council of La Raza, Anti-Defamation League, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and GLAAD).”

A MTV spokeswoman said they recruited CAIR as part of their effort to build a coalition of minority groups that share a common interest in the reduction of “bullying.” She declined to comment when asked CAIR’s ties to Hamas.

A representative for GLAAD declined to comment about their work with CAIR.

The ADL joined MTV’s group after being reassured that it would play a more central role than CAIR, said Todd Gutnick, ADL’s director of media relations. “We considered this [MTV project] very carefully and decided that despite CAIR, it is central our mission of countering bully and cyber-bullying, and far outweighed any differences we do have” with CAIR, he said. There’s a great deal of anti-Semitism on the Internet, often in comments about American Jews in the news, he said. MTV officials assured the ADL that they would play a greater role in the project than CAIR, he said, adding that “I don’t know what their involvement is with MTV.”

CAIR is part of the MTV project because “American Muslims have the same concerns as other Americans, and cyber-bullying is one of them,” said Hooper.

Like many other activists in the White House’s campaign, Hooper conflated physical bullying and intimidation with routine spoken and online criticism of ideas and behavior, and suggested that CAIR’s critics were violent. “There’s a cottage industry of ‘Muslim-bashers’ who seek on a daily basis to marginalize American Muslims and to demonize Islam,” said Hooper.

The ‘-basher’ phrase was first used by gay-advocates to tar their critics as violent, and is now routinely used by Hooper and other Islamist advocates to portray their critics as violent. ‘Muslim-basher,’ Hooper said, is “colloquial American-English for someone who rhetorically bashes Muslims.”

When asked about CAIR’s view of Hamas, Hooper sent a statement saying “we unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al-Qa’ida, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group.” However, CAIR’s statement is ambiguous because Islamists describe Israeli military operations as “terrorism” and their attacks on Israeli civilians as justified “resistance” or “jihad.”

On Friday, a former CAIR official is to be jailed for his work as spy for Saddam Hussein. The sentencing follows the jailing or expulsion of several other former CAIR employees and contractors for terrorism-related offenses.

“We’re on this coalition [with CAIR, but] we’re not working with” CAIR, Gutnick said.