Last week the establishment press got hoodwinked – again.

An extremist advocacy group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, released a report suggesting there has been a major upsurge in anti-Muslim discrimination in the U.S. since Sept. 11.

The press reported the pseudo-scientific findings without any analysis of the data, without exploring the group’s broader Islamicist agenda and without criticism by dissenting experts.

In other words, reporters and editors did what we refer to in the business as a “rip and read” job with the group’s press release.

As I said on television last week in debating one of the officials of CAIR, this report has all the meaning and substance of a peace promise by Yasser Arafat.

I did something few reporters evidently bothered to do. I actually read the 50-page report by CAIR. The study, it turns out, is based on some 1,500 reports gathered by CAIR, which solicits such complaints on its website. Has CAIR received more complaints about supposed civil rights violations against Muslims since Sept. 11? I have no doubts it has. CAIR has received wide exposure on television and in press accounts since the terrorist attack on the U.S. Does it stand to reason that as CAIR gets more visibility it would collect more complaints from disgruntled Muslims? You bet. But so what?

After all, there are about 4 million Muslims in America. These complaints, even if valid, represent less than .04 percent of the U.S. Muslim population.

The biggest percentage of complaints have to do with alleged profiling of Muslims at U.S. airports. Now I know many non-Muslims who feel like they have been shaken down unfairly and unnecessarily at airports since Sept. 11 – including myself. I don’t attribute this to discrimination. I attribute it to the fact that we are at war – a fact conveniently forgotten by CAIR, which seems to have sympathy for the adversaries in that conflict.

Only 1 percent of the 1,500 complaints had to do with even the threat of violence. In other words, I myself have received more threats of violence – from Muslims – than all of the respondents in this report have allegedly received from non-Muslims. This is news?

Among the grievances CAIR cites in this report is the shutdown by the government of phony Muslim charities serving as front groups for terrorism – organizations like the Holy Land Foundation. That’s hardly a civil-rights issue. It’s a matter of prudent, if belated, national-security precautions.

Some of the other outrages cited by CAIR include nasty e-mails the group has received from ordinary Americans. By that standard, I am a victim of so many civil rights violations, I should be entitled to reparations from the U.S. government.

The real news of this cooked-up report is what it says about CAIR itself. There is not one nice word in the 50-page report about America. You get the impression from reading this report that Americans are running out and lynching Muslims for the sheer sport of it, that official U.S. government policy is to avenge the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by targeting Muslims at random, that Americans are a hateful, spiteful group of sadists intent on scapegoating innocents.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

CAIR’s report gives America no credit whatsoever.

It raises the question: If conditions for Muslims are so bad in America, why is Islam the fastest-growing religion in America, according to CAIR? Why do Muslims flock to the United States – this hideous concentration camp for Muslims?

I’ll tell you why. Many Muslims have come here and continue to come here to escape the Islamo-fascism of places like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia – places about which CAIR never has a bad word to say.

CAIR was late to the party in condemning Osama bin Laden for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It finally got around to it three months after the fact. Don’t expect any time soon a sweeping condemnation of the latest suicide bombing by Hamas, which killed 15 in Israel. The founder of this organization is on record in support of the goals and tactics of Hamas.

How seriously can we take the charges of a group that called the conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers “a travesty of justice”? How seriously can we take a group that called the conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman, who conspired to blow up New York City landmarks, a “hate crime”? How seriously should we take a group about which Steven Pomerantz, former FBI chief of counter-terrorism, says: “CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups”?

Very seriously.

The real goal of this group was made clear by its chairman, Omar M. Ahmad, who told a rally of California Muslims in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”

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