Mr. Kalsbeek is a teacher in Covenant Christian High School and a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church, Walker, Michigan. Previous article in this series: March 1, 2006, p. 259.
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”
Muslim institutions, schools and economic power should be strengthened in America. Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to be dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.¹
This goal of Islam was openly expressed back in 1998 by Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Surely Omar does not speak for all Muslims that reside in the West, nevertheless he does speak for CAIR, which is the most organized and influential Islamic voice in the West. So modern-day Issachar must turn to CAIR for help in understanding Western (resident) Islam’s response to the Islamic movement.
What is CAIR?
The Council on American Islamic Relations was established in1994. Their website states that its purpose is
to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. Through media relations, lobbying, education and advocacy, CAIR puts forth an Islamic perspective to ensure the Muslim voice is represented. In offering this perspective, CAIR seeks to empower the American Muslim community and encourage their participation in political and social activism.²
The specific means they employ to accomplish these goals their website goes on to identify. Included is a Civil Rights Department that “counsels, mediates and advocates on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes.” Their Governmental Affairs Department “conducts and organizes lobbying efforts on issues related to Islam and Muslims.” CAIR’s Communications Department “works in conjunction with local and national media to ensure an accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public.” In the process they monitor the media “to challenge negative stereotypes, but also to applaud and encourage positive representations of Islam and Muslims.” Publications are produced by CAIR to “address the needs and rights of American Muslims…. CAIR’s research Department publishes an annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights, which serves to document hate crimes and discrimination cases reported to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department.” Their Education Department
organizes regular conferences and training seminars for governmental and law enforcement agencies, media professionals and the academic community. These events are designed to present easily accessible and accurate information about Islam and Muslims. CAIR’s TeamWorks sensitivity and diversity training workshop is offered to employers, educators, and organizations as a proactive approach that highlights relevant Islamic practices and offers suggestions for religious accommodation.³
It would be unfair to fault CAIR for their seemingly benign goals and the means they claim to be using to achieve them. After all, something must be done to ensure a fair shake for Islam in hostile Western society. However, all analysts do not agree that CAIR is as harmless and “moderate” as it claims. They question whether or not CAIR actually practices the moderation they preach. Often the answers to their concerns find CAIR wanting.
Pre 9/11 CAIR “Moderation”
What are some of the activities of CAIR that provoke the anxiety of many in the West? Following are a few examples of CAIR actions that have contributed to this concern prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001: —CAIR was founded by Hamas supporters Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad, and Rafeeq Jabar. Remember, Hamas is the Muslim organization that has repeatedly denied Israel’s right to existence, using suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism to demonstrate the point.4
—In the late 1980s the future CAIR board member Ihsan Bagby stated that Muslims “…can never be full citizens of this country [United States, ck] because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”5
—Organizations that fund terrorism also fund CAIR. “The Saudibased Islamic Development Bank (IDB) gave CAIR $250,000 in August 1999. The IDB also manages funds that finance suicide bombing against Israeli civilians by providing funds to the families of Palestinian ‘martyrs.'”6
—”CAIR even includes at least one person associated with terrorism in its own ranks. On February 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the ‘unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators’ in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments. Yet CAIR deems him ‘one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America’ and includes him on its advisory board.”7
—”CAIR consistently defends other militant Islamic terrorists too. The conviction of the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing it deemed ‘a travesty of justice.’ The conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who planned to blow up New York City landmarks, it called a ‘hate crime.’ The extradition order for suspected Hamas terrorist Mousa Marook it labeled ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘anti-American.'”8
—”…in 1998 CAIR was able to get National Public Radio to blacklist Steven Emerson for his efforts in uncovering the terrorist organization Hamas in the United States. When Jeff Jacoby, a columnist at the Boston Globe, protested the involvement of CAIR in the affair, it launched a letter-writing campaign against him.”9
—”Prior to September 11…CAIR protested the U.S. designation of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations…. CAIR had even started to organize street protests against news organizations that dared report on the history of militant Islam, going to the point of lambasting anyone who referred to ‘fundamentalist Islam’ or to the concept of jihad in Islam as guilty of ‘defaming Islam.’ …(CAIR) also condemned the August 1998 retaliation against Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.”10
Little wonder, then, that some question CAIR’s real motivation and purpose. They reason that the purported moderate goals of CAIR and the means they use to employ them can also be used to coerce the West by means of threats of lawsuits and violence to advance Islam and silence the opposition. But that was then (pre 9/11). What about now (post 9/11)? Has the 9/11 debacle had any effect on CAIR’s activities and rhetoric?
Post 9/11 CAIR “Moderation”
Although it is true that CAIR officially condemned the 9/11 attacks, much of their subsequent activity leads one to question their sincerity. Read on to find out why.
—Serge Trifkovic informs us that CAIR has been “busy airbrushing their past record…. They used to keep archives of all their past public statements, activists’ speeches, etc. on the web, but after September 11 most of them have mysteriously disappeared.”11 The question is, why have they done this? Do they have something to hide? Don’t they want the West to know the facts mentioned above under the heading “Pre 9/11 CAIR ‘Moderation'”?
—CAIR continues to have links to proven Islamic terrorists. Daniel Pipes provides numerous examples, including: Randall Royer, CAIR’s civil rights coordinator, who was charged with helping Al- Qaeda and the Taliban fight American troops in Afghanistan; Ghassan Elashi, founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, who was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping computers to designated state sponsors of terrorism; and Rabih Haddad, a CAIR fundraiser, who was arrested and deported from the U.S. for financing Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.12
—Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, sends red flags flying when he says, “Mosques are not only centers for spirituality; they are now bases for political and social mobilization.”13 Under the cir- cumstances the term “mobilization” has ominous overtones.
—CAIR continues to intimidate those who try to expose the uncomfortable truths of Islam. CAIR demanded an apology from National Reviewand the removal of the book The Life and Religion of Mohammed from the sale list by National Review’s Book Service because it explained why “Mohammed couldn’t possibly be a true prophet.”14 Apparently it makes no difference that the book expresses the truth about Islam and its prophet. What appears to matter to CAIR is how they can limit what the public knows about Islam and its prophet. The sad result of this case was that National Reviewcaved in and removed the book. Robert Spencer opines, “…it is a victory for those who don’t want Americans to know uncomfortable details about Muhammed. Unfortunately, jihad terrorists know these elements of the life of Muhammed quite well and are imitating them. Ignorance of them will only make us more vulnerable.”15
—Spencer reports another incident of CAIR intimidation, this one involving a radio station. In this case Infinity Radio suspended its talk-show host Michael Graham for remarks about Islam that revealed that the Koran justifies the practice of Muslims lying to non-Muslims. About this Spencer notes, “If CBS and CAIR get their way, the American people will be denied the ability to act in the interest of their own self-preservation—by not being allowed to investigate and discuss the roots of Islamic violence and terrorism. And that, in turn, will lead only to increased vulnerability to new terror attacks, more virulent than any we have seen up to now.”16
—Following the 9/11 attacks one would have expected a “moderate” Muslim organization (which CAIR claims to be) to do all in its power to distance itself from the perpetrators of the despicable deed. Yet Ibrahim Hooper, Director of Communication of CAIR, refuses to explain “…why CAIR refused to endorse a rally against terror, sponsored by ‘Free Muslims’ and 80 other supporting organizations.”17 Would it not be legitimate to ask CAIR about their lack of an Antiterrorism Department and Anti-terrorism Hotline that Muslims would be encouraged to use to expose terrorist operations and operatives?
Evaluation of CAIR
The evidence strongly suggests that CAIR is a resident Islamic organization whoseexpressedgoal is the fostering of a proper understanding of Islam, while at the same time sanitizing real Islam and CAIR’s real purposes. In the process CAIR seeks to limit what non-Muslims are allowed to know about Islam. A quote fromWorld magazine puts it rather succinctly:
In CAIR’s formulation, all true Muslims are peaceful and serene, and any Christian who doubts that is a bigot. Indeed, while CAIR has issued numerous statements over the years naming evangelical “Islamophobes” and criticizing “Christian leaders …engaged in deliberate distortion of the (Quran) and Islamic beliefs,” it has never in its press releases criticized by name a single Muslim cleric calling for holy war against America and the infidels. It’s as if the fundamentalist movement that threatens to take over the entire Muslim world doesn’t even exist in CAIR’s world.18
Perhaps the most telling evidence supporting the contention that CAIR has less-than-noble purposes is its own action with respect to a defamation lawsuit it launched against an organization that calls itself AntiCAIR (ACAIR). In the still-pending suit CAIR claimed damage by six statements about CAIR published on ACAIR’s website. Interestingly, during the process of the litigation, CAIR filed an amended motion in which it no longer retains four of the original six statements it had earlier condemned as libelous. Those statements include the following: 1) “(CAIR is an) organization founded by Hamas supporters…. 2) CAIR was started by Hamas members…. 3) CAIR…was founded by Islamic terrorists. 4) (CAIR) is partially funded by terrorists….”19
Of significance is the fact that the statements were dropped from the suit only after ACAIR lawyer Reed Rubinstein responded to CAIR’s lawsuit with an extensive and well-informed set of discovery requests and documents. Apparently CAIR realized that with the admission of ACAIR’s information in court their claim against ACAIR concerning those statements was lost. That being the case, CAIR has made some significant admissions about itself. Apparently the statements are true after all.
While it may be true that CAIR does not speak for all, or even most, Muslims in the West, there is no question that CAIR does carry the most clout. It is hard to know to what degree CAIR’s way of thinking reflects the thinking of all Muslims in the West, but it sometimes appears that the real “moderate” Muslims are too intimidated to speak for fear of the repercussions. History would suggest that they fear (along with many others who dare to question CAIR and Islam) with good reason.
To be continued….
¹ R. Cort Kirkwood, “The Gathering Storm,” The New American 23 January, 2006:26.
² Council on American Islamic Relations, from http://www.cairnet.org/default.asp?Page=missionAccomplishedHow.
³ Council on American Islamic Relations, from http://www.cairnet. org/default.asp?Page=mission AccomplishedHow
4 Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, “CAIR Founded by ‘Islamic Terrorists’?” Front Page Magazine 28 July, 2005, from http://www.daniel pipes.org/article/2811.
5 Pipes & Chadha, “CAIR Founded by ‘Islamic Terrorists’?”
6 Pipes & Chadha, “CAIR Founded by ‘Islamic Terrorists’?”
7 Daniel Pipes, “CAIR: ‘Moderate’ friends of terror,” The New York Post 22 April, 2002, from ttp://www.danielpipes.org/pf.php?ld=394.
8 Pipes, “CAIR: ‘Moderate’ friends of terror.”
9 Alvin J. Schmidt, The Great Divide (Boston, Mass. Regina Orthodox Press, Inc. 2004), p. 250.
10 Serge Trigkovic, The Sword of the Prophet (Boston, Mass. Regina Press, Inc. 2002), pp. 270-271.
11 Trifkovic, p. 272.
12 Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadah, “CAIR Founded by ‘Islamic Terrorists’?”
13 Schmidt, p. 254.
14 Robert Spencer, “Calling truth ‘Islamophobia,'” Human Events 4 April, 2005:12.
15 Spencer, p. 252.
16 Robert Spencer, “Infinity Radio Muzzles Truth on Islam,” Human Events, 15 August, 2005:17.
17 Mychal Massie (16 Aug. 05), “W have right to know truth about CAIR,” from http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45799.
18 Bob Jones, “TRUTH OR CAIR,” World 22 March, 2003:16.
19 Pipes and Chadha, “CAIR Founded by ‘Islamic Terrorists’?”