By Ryan Mauro

In what could be called a new version of “Romney-CAIR,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Maryland campaign chairman, former Republican Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, is an endorser of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I’m glad that you have established such a strong voice in the community and that you are working to maintain a strong sense of cultural and economic identity,” Ehrlich is quoted on CAIR’s website as saying in December 2005.

Under the headline “What They Say About CAIR,” dated March 2010, there are lists of comments from religious, law enforcement and election officials. Ehrlich’s comment is included there.

The Justice Department named CAIR an “unindicted co-conspirator in 2007 in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity discovered to be a front for the Hamas terrorist group. On July 1, 2009, District Court Judge Jorge Solis ruled that there was “ample evidence to establish the association” of CAIR to Hamas to justify the label.

A federal court filing states, “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”

Apparently, Ehrlich has not requested that CAIR delete his endorsement.

Although Ehrlich’s statement was made before CAIR was labeled as an “unindicted co-conspirator,” experts on Islamic extremism say that is not a valid excuse.

Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told WND that CAIR had a history of extremism from its founding in 1994 to 2005 when Ehrlich spoke in support of the group.

“All Governor Ehrlich had to do was look up CAIR on Google. He could have read nearly a dozen congressional testimonies I delivered in the 1990s through 2005 that specifically cited CAIR as a front group with hundreds of self-authenticating footnotes,” Emerson said.

Dave Gaubatz, who is being sued by CAIR over his expose of the group’s terror ties, “Muslim Mafia,” told WND that there are only three reasons anyone would endorse CAIR.

“They are incompetent, they are ignorant or they are in bed with them financially and/or politically,” he said.

Ehrlich is currently promoting his new book “Turn This Car Around: The Roadmap to Restoring America.” In May 2011, he told the Washington Times, “My [work] will be a blueprint for the party and for the country going forward.”

During his tenure as the governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich was sometimes criticized by local Muslim leaders. In 2006, the president of the Baltimore chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Bash Pharoan, spoke out against Ehrlich’s attendance at a pro-Israel rally while Israeli forces fought Hezbollah in Lebanon. He also said he was “firmly opposed” to the Park51 project, derided by critics as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The Romney campaign did not respond to emails or phone calls requesting comment.

Romney has been criticized by some Islam critics for a statement he made to U.S. News & World Report in 2009. The former Massachusetts governor said “jihadism” is “by no means a branch of Islam. It is instead an entirely different entity. In no way do I suggest it as a part of Islam.”

Romney, however, has raised the ire of CAIR. The group’s 2008 “Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States” report included an advertisement his campaign aired in Iowa titled “Jihad” among a list of alleged “Anti-Muslim Remarks and Acts on the Presidential Campaign Trail in 2007.”

More recently, CAIR condemned Romney for having Middle East expert Walid Phares as a foreign policy adviser.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND’s author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR’s lawsuit. The book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now.

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