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Preparing an appeal of a dismissed lawsuit against the Council of American-Islamic Relations, talk radio host Michael Savage and his legal team have taken a new tack, investigating CAIR’s foreign financial backers, WND has learned.
CAIR is registered as a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRS code section 501(c)(3), which restricts “lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.” CAIR’s website claims that it receives no foreign government support.
However, CAIR’s headquarters near the U.S. Capitol until recently was owned by the ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the ruler’s foundation has pledged $50 million to capitalize a long-term CAIR public-relations campaign.
“This should start to get interesting,” said a member of Savage’s legal team.
The UAE formally recognized the Taliban, and Dubai acted as the transit point for cash for the 9/11 hijackers and the staging ground for the entire plot. Two of the hijackers were Emirates, and one served in the UAE military.
Before 9/11, the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, requisitioned (as then-UAE defense minister) C-130 military cargo planes to supply Osama bin Laden’s former camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Sheik Mohammed and other members of the UAE royal family joined bin Laden and Taliban leaders on hunting parties there.
His Al Maktoum Foundation – which until 2005 held the deed to CAIR’s headquarters just three blocks from the Capitol – has held telethons to raise money for families of Palestinian “martyrs” during the intifada against Israel. It recently pledged a $50 million endowment for CAIR.
Despite enjoying major support from the UAE government, CAIR is not registered as a lobbyist or agent for a foreign government. Savage’s lawyers are investigating whether the group has legal standing to boycott his radio show and attack his advertisers as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
“CAIR would have to register as a foreign agent if their activities were not hidden under the false claim that they are a civil-rights organization that enjoys tax-exempt status,” said Daniel Horowitz, Savage’s lead attorney in the case.
Meantime, WND has learned that the Republican leadership in Congress is seeking hearings to also investigate CAIR’s foreign financing.
CAIR argues that any assertions that it receives money from foreign governments is “disinformation.”
“This is yet another attempt to invent a controversy,” it said. “CAIR’s operational budget is funded by donations from American Muslims.”
Even so, CAIR has never publicly acknowledged the $1 million controlling interest that the ruler of Dubai’s foundation took in its national headquarters just one year after 9/11.
The group also received $500,000 from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the sheik whose $10 million relief check after 9/11 was rejected by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he blamed U.S. policy toward Israel for the attacks.
“There is nothing criminal or immoral about accepting donations from foreign nationals,” CAIR asserted. “The U.S. government, corporations and non-profit organizations routinely receive money from foreign nationals.
“Bin Talal is not a member of the Saudi Arabian government,” the group added in a statement. “He is a private entrepreneur and international investor.”
This may be a distinction without a difference, Savage’s lawyers argue, since bin Talal is a member of the Saudi ruling family.
“CAIR is proud to receive support of every individual,” CAIR argued, “as long as they are not an official of any foreign government and there are no strings attached to the bequest.”
The group remains silent about donations from Sheik Mohammed, however, the ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the UAE, who suggested after 9/11 that Israel and America are the real “terrorists.”
UAE has supported Hamas “martyrs,” while CAIR recently was named by the U.S. Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families. Federal prosecutors in a more recent case said in court documents that CAIR is a radical front group working with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas “to support terrorists.”
The UAE’s $50 million endowment, pledged in 2006, puts in jeopardy CAIR’s current IRS status, Savage’s lawyers argue. They say CAIR more resembles a foreign-controlled lobbying group – “a paid agent for an Arab state tied to 9/11” – and the UAE may be working through CAIR to shut down debate about Islam on the American airwaves through the intimidation of media and their advertisers.
According to federal law, the Foreign Agents Registration Act requires registration as an agent of a foreign principal when an organization acts on the order, request or under the direction or control of a foreign principal, or whose activities are directed by a foreign principal when that person engages in political activities for or in the interest of such foreign principal, or acts in a public-relations capacity for a foreign principal.
The UAE endowment to CAIR was earmarked for public-relations efforts to repair the image of Arabs and Muslims in America after public outrage doomed a Dubai bid to run U.S. ports.
Lawyers now argue that CAIR, in turn, may have used UAE funds and other foreign support to attack “The Savage Nation” show for criticizing Islam, and to target its advertisers, including Wal-Mart, GEICO and Sprint Nextel.
“If the image of Islam and Muslims is not repaired in America, Muslim and Arab business interests will continue to be on a downward slide in the U.S.,” CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmad was quoted in the Arab press as saying after meeting with the UAE minister of finance in Dubai and receiving the funding pledge.
What’s more, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a UAE press release: “The endowment will serve as a source of income and will further allow us to reinvigorate our media campaign projecting Islam and its principles of tolerance.”
In addition, the press release stated that UAE also “endorsed a proposal to build a property in the United States to serve as an endowment for CAIR.”
The Arab press said CAIR was acquiring land for a new $24 million seven-story building.
A federal judge in California earlier this week dismissed Savage’s lawsuit seeking damages against CAIR, which was originally filed late last year. Savage is appealing the case.
As part of its background check of CAIR, Savage’s California-based lawyers and investigators have been “looking into the CAIR headquarters in D.C.”
CAIR claims it receives no foreign support, but land records contradict that claim. In fact, the Al-Maktoum Foundation of Dubai held the deed to its property from 2002 to at least 2005.
“According to records made public by (investigative journalist and author) Paul Sperry, CAIR purchased its national headquarters in 1999 through an unusual lease-purchase transaction with the United Bank of Kuwait,” said Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes. “The bank was the deed holder and leased the building to CAIR; yet despite not owning the building, CAIR recorded the property on its balance sheet as a property asset valued at $2.6 million.”
“This arrangement changed in September 2002 when CAIR bought out the Kuwaiti bank with funds provided, at least in part, by Al-Maktoum Foundation, based in Dubai and headed by Dubai’s (former) crown prince and defense minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum,” Pipes continued. “The markings on the deed indicate that the foundation provided ‘purchase money to the extent of $978,031.34’ to CAIR, or roughly one-third the value of the property.”
Here is the first page of the document filed with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds as a “Deed of Trust,” or mortgage agreement, between CAIR and the Al-Maktoum Foundation, as posted by Sperry, author of “INFILTRATION: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.” Sperry details the real estate transactions in the chapter of his book called, “The Dark Lair of CAIR.”
CAIR’s then-chairman Omar Ahmad’s signature appears on page four of the document. Ahmad recently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas terror-fundraising case.
What’s more, CAIR lists the Zahara Investment Corp. as a “related organization” on its IRS tax form 990. Curiously, Zahara was listed as a tax-exempt entity in 2002, but the next year it became a non-tax-exempt entity, which raises the question how a tax-exempt nonprofit like CAIR can be “related” to a for-profit investment firm.
“One only wonders what a more complete investigation of its real estate transactions would turn up,” Pipes said.
Savage’s legal team hopes to do just that with the help of a court-ordered discovery process.