For the third time, the controversial Muslim Brotherhood front group Council on American-Islamic Relations has been ordered by a federal court to pay the legal fees for a private citizen in Michigan who opposed the construction of an Islamic center in her neighborhood because it could create traffic problems.
In a case that illustrates what has become known as “lawfare” – the use of legal maneuvers to threaten, intimidate or overwhelm critics of an Islamic agenda – CAIR was ordered this week to pay compensation for its confrontational approach to Zaba Davis.
As a result of her opposition, Davis was hit with subpoenas for her private emails and even was ordered to appear for a deposition by CAIR.
WND reported earlier when a judge canceled the subpoenas and other orders for Davis and ordered CAIR to pay her fees and costs.
The ruling in the case said CAIR “contends that its sole interest in deposing Davis stems from a genuine belief that she has what it believes to be relevant information, and not from any personal malice against her for her public opposition to the school.”
“This argument fails for a few reasons. First … the court finds unpersuasive [CAIR’s] relevance argument. Second … to the extent information possessed by Davis is relevant, that relevance is far outweighed by the chilling effect that allowing the subpoenas would have on speech, not only for Davis, but for all others who wish to be involved in public discourse on matters of public concern.”
David Yerushalmi, senior counsel for the American Freedom Law Center, which defended Davis in the case, said, “Apparently, hell hath no fury like a Muslim Brotherhood ‘civil rights’ organization scorned.”
He noted it “was CAIR’s third bite at objecting to the sanction.”
“You’d think they’d concede this one rather than continue to run up our legal fees with each new frivolous objection they file,” he said.
A magistrate judge had issued the sanctions against CAIR, but CAIR objected, prompting a district judge to affirm them. The magistrate judge then reissued the sanctions with further details, and CAIR objected yet again. The district judge now has affirmed them again.
Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder, said private citizens “have a fundamental First Amendment right to express to their elected officials their personal views on matters of public concern.”
“CAIR’s ruthless attacks demonstrate that its objectives are dangerously at odds with the Constitution. Consequently, this reaffirmation by the court sanctioning CAIR’s lawless behavior was important not only for our clients, but for all private citizens who want to speak out against CAIR.”
Yerushalmi said CAIR “employs egregious lawfare tactics to frighten honest citizens so as to prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights.”
“Our clients opposed the new mosque construction, like many neighborhoods oppose new construction of any type, not because it was Muslim, but because it would wreak havoc on their neighborhood with un-remediated traffic and noise,” he said.
“CAIR’s abuse of federal subpoena power is analogous to Shariah-adherent jihadists threatening violence against anyone who, in their perverse view, insults their religion or Muhammad. When you threaten people with enough violence or litigation, the media and the self-anointed talking heads on cable TV and radio begin to lecture us about ‘civility’ and ‘provocation’ not because criticisms of some fundamental aspects of Islam are wrong or in and of themselves uncivil or objectively provocative, but because these pundits are frightened themselves of standing up to these bullies – whether they be violent jihadists or lawfare jihadists like CAIR.”
The case began in 2012 when the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor asked that Pittsfield Township rezone land for construction of an Islamic school and community center complex.
Municipal officials cited infrastructure and traffic concerns and turned down the request.
Then CAIR, which calls itself “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization,” but, according to AFLC, “is widely known in government circles as a Muslim Brotherhood front group,” filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the township on behalf of the MCA.
The lawsuit claimed the decision was prompted by discrimination against Muslims, not concern over traffic and other problems.
In the township decision-making process, residents who lived near the proposed project “expressed concerns about the traffic congestion that would be caused by the construction of a school and community center in their neighborhood.”
AFLC said it submitted a petition expressing opposition.
In response, CAIR issued subpoenas for the personal information to a number of people. Davis and her husband came home to find papers jammed in the front door demanding production of personal emails and other documents as well as an appearance at a deposition.
When the case first arose, WND columnist Pamela Geller, who, it was alleged this week, was the target of an beheading plot by two jihadis, saw it as another example of CAIR using the U.S. legal system to silence opponents.
“CAIR’s jihad millions buy media and men, and now it’s going after private citizens,” she wrote at the time. “It sends a message. It sends a message to every single American – that if you dare to oppose Islamic supremacism, you will be targeted, smeared, harassed and driven to bankruptcy through legal channels.”
She noted that a government memo confirms CAIR was formed by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas.
CAIR also has sued the co-author of a WND Books expose of CAIR, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.”
The national CAIR organization was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial.
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, Michigan, 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. 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 not 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.