San Diego’s school board is only the latest public entity to formally cut ties with the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that claims to be a defender of Muslim civil rights but was shown in court to be a front for the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
The school board, in its July 25 meeting, ended a partnership with CAIR that aimed to combat “anti-Muslim bullying” after parents sued, charging the program is unconstitutional because it appears to show a preference for one religion over another. The lawsuit against the “anti-Islamophobia” campaign later was revised to focus on CAIR’s radical Islamic origin.
Already, the FBI and the Muslim Arab Gulf nation United Arab Emirates had censured CAIR.
The UAE, in 2014, listed CAIR as one of 83 banned terrorist organizations, along with the Taliban, al-Qaida and ISIS.
Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank, wrote at the time for National Review that the designation was surprising because “UAE authorities themselves have a record of promoting Islamism; because CAIR has a history of raising funds in the UAE; and because the UAE embassy in Washington had previously praised CAIR.”
On reflection, however, the listing made sense, Pipes said, because in recent years, “the Islamist movement has gravely fractured.”
“Sunnis fight Shiites; advocates of violence struggle against those working within the system; modernizers do battle against those trying to return to the seventh century; and monarchists confront republicans,” he said.
Pipes explained that after decades of working closely with the Muslim Brotherhood and its related institutions, the Persian Gulf monarchies — with the exception of Qatar — have come to see the Muslim Brotherhood and its institutions as a threat.
Pipe said that while CAIR “does not set off bombs,” it “incites, funds” and apologizes for terrorist groups.
“Challenged repeatedly to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, CAIR denounces the acts of violence but not their sponsors,” he said.
WND reported that as secretary of state, John Kerry unsuccessfully lobbied the UAE to remove CAIR and another group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim American Society, from its terrorist list.
FBI severed relationship
In 2009, when Robert Mueller was the director of the FBI, the bureau cut off its relationship with CAIR after a 15-year investigation resulted the previous year in the conviction of Hamas fundraisers. During the trial, CAIR was designated an unindicted co-conspirator.
CAIR previously participated in FBI training sessions and served as a liaison with the Muslim community.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, who had met with Mueller and other top FBI officials, was found to have participated in planning meetings with the Holy Land Foundation, which saw five of its officials convicted of funneling $12.4 million to Hamas.
CAIR chairman emeritus Omar Ahmad also was designated by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. At the trial, Special Agent Lara Burns testified CAIR was a front for radical Islamic groups operating in the U.S.
CAIR’s parent organization, according to FBI wiretap evidence from the terror-funding case, was founded at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia that included Awad. The organization, 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.
CAIR sued to have its name removed from the list of co-conspirators. But WND reported in 2010 a federal judge determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”
CAIR also protested the FBI’s decision to sever relations.
“This is an unfortunate legacy of the Bush administration’s misguided and counterproductive efforts to marginalize mainstream American Muslim organizations,” CAIR’s national office said in a statement to FoxNews.com at the time.
“It is not surprising that we would be singled out by those in the previous administration who sought to prevent us from defending the civil rights of American Muslims.”
After the FBI cut off relations with CAIR, Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., urged Congress to follow suit, pointing to further evidence of CAIR’s radical ties in WND Books’ “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.
“Why would anyone allow a group, who the FBI says is tied to terrorism, to influence national security policy, or any policy for that matter?” she said in a statement. “If the FBI has cut ties with CAIR, Congress should wake up and do the same.”
At a news conference in Washington in 2009, Myrick said of “Muslim Mafia,” which featured the work of an undercover investigation: “Now we have proof – from the secret documents that this investigative team has uncovered, coupled with the ones recently declassified by the FBI – that [radical Islamic] agents living among us have a plan in place, and they are successfully carrying out that subversive plan.”
Shortly after the book was published, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the undercover investigative team behind “Muslim Mafia,” alleging its reputation was harmed, and it sought damages in court.
But a federal court in Washington shot down CAIR’s claim that its reputation was damaged by the undercover investigation that alleged it was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The court determined CAIR failed to present a single fact showing it had been harmed, and the organization gave up that specific claim against former federal investigator Dave Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz.
CAIR has used various tactics to prolong the case, however, and it is expected to go to trial this fall.
‘Some students are more equal than others’
In San Diego, CAIR’s local chapter had been formally approved by the school board in March to help develop a plan to “combat Islamophobia and the bullying of Muslims students.”
The group representing the parents in the lawsuit, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, said the school board’s decision to end its partnership with CAIR is an important victory, but the lawsuit might continue.
FCDF Executive Director Daniel Piedra told IPT he’s still concerned that CAIR might partner with the school district on other programs.
CAIR, Piedra said, talks about equality, but “it’s really Orwellian because in their philosophy and the school board’s philosophy, they are really saying that all students are equal but that some students are more equal than others.”
FCDF said that if it turns out that CAIR was intimately involved in drafting the program, the lawsuit might move forward because students’ rights would have been violated.
The updated complaint in June by the San Diego parents argued school officials aimed to “identify safe places” for Muslim students and “explore clubs at the secondary level to promote the American Muslim Culture” while similar accommodations were not being given to adherents of other religions who feel bullied or harassed.
The amended complaint noted that the school district found only seven reported incidents of religiously motivated bullying of K-12 students between July 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016, and also did not specify the religion of the victims.
That means only about 0.006 percent of actively enrolled students were impacted, the complaint stated.
It also pointed out the 2014 report by CAIR-California that led the school district to adopt its anti-Islamophobia program found that only 7 percent of students reported being subjected to mean comments or rumors about them because of their religion.
CAIR leaders have made statements affirming the aim of establishing Islamic rule in the United States.
The Islamic organization long had accused WND and others of “smearing” the Muslim group by citing a newspaper account of CAIR founder Omar Ahmad telling Muslims in Northern California in 1998 that they were in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.
But WND caught CAIR falsely claiming that it had contacted the paper and had “sought a retraction,” insisting Ahmad never made the statement.
In a telephone conversation with WND in 2003, CAIR’s communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, insisted someone from CAIR’s California affiliate made the contact with the paper.
When confronted with the fact that the newspaper’s editors had told WND that CAIR had not contacted them and that the reporter stood by the story, Hooper abruptly ended the call, saying: “If you are going to use distortions, I can’t stop you; it’s a free country. Have a nice day.”
Minutes later, however, Hooper called back and said he wanted to change his statement to say, “We will seek a retraction, and we have spoken to the reporter about it in the past.”
But three years later, the issue arose again, and WND found CAIR still had not contacted the paper.
Hooper, himself, 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.”