In a feature spotlighting a “new generation” of civil right leaders, the Los Angeles Times profiled the executive director and co-founder of an organization named by the U.S Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to finance the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
But the Times makes no mention in its entry for Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of that fact or the fact that he was, according to FBI evidence, a senior Hamas leader who helped form his organization in 1993 as a front for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.
In its March 5 feature, “The new civil rights leaders: Emerging voices in the 21st century,” the Times describes CAIR as “the nation’s most prominent Islamic advocacy organization, making Awad, its leader, one of America’s foremost Muslim voices in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks.”
In November, however, the United Arab Emirates named CAIR as one of 82 designated terrorist organizations around the world, placing it in the company of al-Qaida and ISIS.
The Los Angeles Times article mentions, citing an interview in the Intercept, Awad has been “an outspoken opponent of blanket surveillance of Muslims, and his own email account was allegedly tracked by the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2006 and 2008, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.”
“I’m outraged as an American citizen that my government, after decades of civil rights struggle, still spies on political activists and civil right activists and leaders,” Awad told the Intercept, the news organization that broke the story. “I’m really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, we are treated with suspicion.”
CAIR was formed in 1994 by the U.S. branch of Hamas known as the “Palestine Committee” to function as the “political arm” of the Palestinian terrorist group. A year before founding the front group, Ahmad and Awad had attended a secret meeting with “senior leaders of Hamas” at a Philadelphia hotel that was bugged by the FBI.
An internal FBI memo written by the former head of the FBI’s counterterrorism division describes “all attendees” of the meeting – including Awad – as “Hamas members.”
CAIR, according to the evidence, was born out of a need to give a “media twinkle” to the Muslim leaders’ agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law in the U.S.
Fight back against CAIR’s attack on First Amendment by making a contribution to WND’s “Legal Defense Fund.” Donations of $25 or more entitle you to free copy of “Muslim Mafia” – the book so devastating to CAIR the group is trying to ban it.
As WND reported, a former FBI official contends the Justice Department has enough incriminating evidence to file terrorism charges against CAIR and its founders but has chosen not to indict the Washington-based group and its leaders at this time.
John Guandolo, author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America,” believes the government balked at throwing the book at CAIR for political reasons.
CAIR has cultivated a number of political supporters – mainly among leading Democrats in Washington – that include senior White House officials. Secret Service entry logs show CAIR officials have visited the White House several times during the Obama administration.
In 2009, FBI Assistant Director John Miller wrote to Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., confirming that the bureau had “suspended any formal engagement” with CAIR field offices around the country.
He explained that the move “comes in part as a result of evidence gathered through FBI investigation and presented in connection with the Holy Land Foundation trial.
Even a number of Muslim leaders have commended the FBI for it rejection of CAIR.
The statement said the “undersigned American Muslims” have “long known the true character of CAIR and its allies.”
“CAIR’s supporters,” it said, “included American Muslims for Palestine, the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Muslim Students Association, as well as the leading pro-Iranian Muslim element in America, the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, Ca.”
The Muslim leaders who signed the statement “observe that they denounce ‘terrorism’ in general terms but not the specific actions of Islamist groups like Hamas or Hezbollah. They denounce violence but not the ideologies behind it.”
“We observe their commitment to radical aims, their attempts to chill free speech by calling critics of radical Islam ‘Islamophobes,’ and their false, ugly accusations against moderate American Muslims who disagree with their agenda.”
The leaders say they “reject any claim that CAIR and its supporters are legitimate civil liberties advocates or appropriate partners between the U.S. government and American Muslims.”
“We congratulate the FBI for adopting a firmer attitude toward CAIR, as a defense of Americans of all faiths from the menace of radical Islam, including Muslims of all backgrounds – Sunni, Shia, Sufi, secular, etc.”
They “call on the U.S. Department of Justice to affirm and continue this decision” and on “the entire United States government to follow suit in rejecting relations with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”
The signatories include M. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, which initiated the statement.
Rogues gallery of terror-tied CAIR leaders
As former FBI agent Mike Rolf acknowledges in “Muslim Mafia,” “CAIR has had a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country.” According to another FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials, “Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters.”
A review of the public record, including federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations, reveals that CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations. The list is long and includes:
|FBI agents arresting CAIR founding director Ghassan Elashi in 2002.|
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR’s founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
- Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director’s home was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C. Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided in September 2006. In 2004, LIFE’s Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers. Al-Hanooti is related to Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Muthanna al-Hanooti, wearing traditional headgarb
“Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,” according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in 1993 at a Philadelphia hotel. Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
Although Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, he has praised Palestinian suicide bombers as “martyrs” who are “alive in the eyes of Allah.”
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn’t killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida’s top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR’s board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj
“Muslim Mafia,” citing co-author’s Sperry’s previous book “Infiltration” as well as terror expert Steven Emerson’s research, reports that Wahhaj, a black convert to Islam, is converting gang members to Islam and holding “jihad camps” for them. With a combination of Islam and Uzis, he has said, the street thugs will be a powerful force for Islam the day America “will crumble.”
Wahhaj was a key speaker at CAIR’s 15th annual fund-raising banquet in Arlington, Virginia, in 2009.
- Randall “Ismail” Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, was among those who trained with Royer’s Northern Virginia cell.
- Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR’s director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counter-terror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.
- Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, is a target of the still-active probe. Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, “Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media. “Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit’s group.In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors say is a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR’s executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in 1993 that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving. During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Hamas front. Both were IAP officers. Dahduli’s name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation. (An April 28, 2009, letter from FBI assistant director Richard C. Powers to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. – which singles out CAIR chief Awad for suspicion – explains how the group’s many Hamas connections caused the FBI to sever ties with CAIR.)Awad’s and Dahduli’s phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing “important phone numbers” for the “Palestine Section” of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit showed Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.
- Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR’s founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad, too, was placed at the Philadelphia meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is ethnic-Palestinian.(Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR’s website mentions their IAP past.)
- Nabil Sadoun: A CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. In fact, Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case. UPDATE: In 2010, Sadoun was ordered deported to his native Jordan. An immigration judge referenced Sadoun’s relationship with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation during a deportation hearing.
- Mohamed Nimer: CAIR’s research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. CAIR neglects to mention Nimer’s and Sadoun’s roles in UASR in their bios.
- Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that “the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas.” In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.
- Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fundraiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.
- Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience.”This country is facing a terrible fate, and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned,” Yusuf warned. “It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.”
CAIR’s founder, Ahmad, while claiming to be a moderate and patriotic American, reportedly told a group of Muslims in Northern California in 1998 that they are in America not to assimilate, but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant,” a local reporter paraphrased him as saying. “The Quran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Ahmad insists he was misquoted. However, the reporter stands by her story, and a FBI wiretap transcript quotes Ahmad agreeing with terrorist suspects gathered at the secret Philadelphia meeting to “camouflage” their true intentions.
He compared it to the head fake in basketball.
“This is like one who plays basketball: He makes a player believe that he is doing this, while he does something else,” Ahmad said. “I agree with you. Like they say, politics is a completion of war.”
Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, also has expressed a desire to overturn the U.S. system of government in favor of an Islamic state.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
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.