MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mocks Republican House members concerned about the influence of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Capitol Hill
Is the Council on American-Islamic Relations merely a civil-rights organization exercising its constitutional right to lobby on Capitol Hill like hundreds of other nonprofit organizations?
That’s the way Politico and other mainstream news outlets have portrayed CAIR – despite the FBI’s decision this year to cut off ties to the Muslim group after its designation by the Department of Justice as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the largest terrorist-finance case in U.S. history.
In its coverage of a press conference on Capitol Hill in which four Republican House members presented an internal CAIR document revealed in the new WND Books release “Muslim Mafia” that shows the group sought to place interns in the intelligence, homeland security and judiciary committees, Politico characterized the document as a “fairly straightforward public-relations and lobbying strategy.”
There was no mention of the undisputed fact that along with CAIR’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, many of its leaders and prominent supporters have been convicted in terrorism-related cases.
FBI officials have testified CAIR’s parent group, the Islamic Association for Palestine, was founded as a front group for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. And evidence from the FBI presented at the Holy Land trial showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and founder Omar Ahmad participated in a three-day summit in 1993 of U.S.-based Hamas members and supporters.
Wiretaps revealed Ahmad argued for using Muslims as an “entry point” to “pressure Congress and the decision makers in America” to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York – who has described CAIR as an organization “which we know has ties to terrorism” – formally supported the FBI’s divorce with CAIR in a letter to the agency’s director signed with Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
In 2007, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California withdrew an award to the head of CAIR’s Sacramento chapter, citing “concerns” about the group’s associations. She explained her office had not thoroughly researched CAIR.
Internal e-mails, according to “Muslim Mafia,” show CAIR debated going “all out against” Boxer in a smear campaign but decided against it because she’s a popular Democrat, and CAIR didn’t think it could make an attack “hurt her enough.”
The Politico story, despite its lack of any reference to the controversy surrounding CAIR, apparently has become a template for some media.
A follow-up story by TPMMuckracker cited Politico’s context-free description of the internal CAIR document as “a fairly straightforward public-relations and lobbying strategy.”
WND asked one of the bylined reporters of Politico’s Oct. 14 story, Jake Sherman, why he didn’t mention Justice Department and FBI assessments of CAIR, allowing the Muslim group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, to freely mock the lawmakers’ claims.
After receiving no response Monday following a phone call and e-mail, Sherman replied to a follow-up e-mail saying all questions should be addressed to his deputy managing editor, Tim Grieve.
Grieve received an e-mail with the question Monday evening but did not respond. When WND reached him by telephone Wednesday, he asked WND to contact Kim Kingsley, Politico’s media director.
Kingsley has not responded to a phone call and e-mail.
In other coverage, Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald defended CAIR by calling the lawmakers’ news conference Oct. 14 “one of the most despicable domestic political events of the year.”
Vanity Fair quoted only the last paragraph of the CAIR strategy memo, which covered the relatively mundane goals of taking advantage of “Wiki” and “intranet.” The article made no mention of the first paragraph, which names homeland security, intelligence and judiciary committees as targets of their influence.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow opened a mocking eight-minute segment on the lawmakers’ press conference with a clip of the Joe-McCarthyesque character Sen. John Iselin from the 1962 movie “The Manchurian Candidate,” comparing his rants about communist infiltration to the four House members’ claims.
With no reference to the fact that the book specifies its claims are specifically about CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of al-Qaida and Hamas, Maddow made it seem as if the lawmakers and “Muslim Mafia” authors were alarmed simply because there were Muslims on Capitol Hill.
With heavy sarcasm, she intoned that the Congress members demanded CAIR be investigated because it “does things that every other D.C. public-relations and advocacy operation does, but they do it,” she said, pausing for effect, “while being Muslim.”
Maddow quoted only the second part of the CAIR memo’s top paragraph, which states the group’s goals of holding a “lobby day” and placing interns in congressional offices.
The CAIR internal document obtained during the “Muslim Mafia” undercover investigation says: “We will focus on influencing congressmen responsible for policy that directly impacts the American Muslim community. (For example, congressmen on the judiciary, intelligence and homeland security committees.) … We will develop national initiatives such as a lobby day and placing Muslim interns in congressional offices.”
The four Republicans who presented the document were members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, Reps. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., John Shadegg, R-Ariz., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and Paul Broun, R-Ga.
According to “Muslim Mafia,” internal CAIR communications and other documents reveal that CAIR has strategically placed operatives inside the federal offices of Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., among others.
There are now as many as 50 Muslim activists working on Capitol Hill today, according to the book.
Counterintelligence officials say their growing presence raises alarms, because a stated goal of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is the infiltration of key government agencies and institutions like Congress.
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