A Minnesota school district that first took the advice of the Council on American Islamic Relations has thought better of it, and now has reversed its decision regarding a witness to Islamic persecution of Christians in Egypt who wanted to address the community.
According to officials with Liberty Counsel, leaders with the Bagley, Minn., Independent School District had engaged in viewpoint discrimination when they responded to a demand letter from the local CAIR chapter, and canceled a scheduled speech by Usama Dakdok in October.
LC explained that a local resident had rented a school auditorium for the address by Dakdok, who is a Christian originally from Egypt who grew up attending government schools there where he was educated about Islam as the state religion.
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When CAIR discovered it would be a Christian speaking at the community event, its activists immediately wrote the school district, stating, "Although Dakdok has the First Amendment right to free speech, this right is not absolute and has been limited when it is considered to be harassment, intimidating or encouraging violence against a particular group of people."
The CAIR letter claimed Dakdok's appearance at a school would violate the district's harassment and violence policy and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
CAIR, in the person of Minnesota Executive Director Lori Saroya, blasted the district's initial decision to allow the speech, stating, "By spewing his hate-filled views in a school auditorium, Mr. Dakdok would have created the perception that his bigotry has the endorsement of education authorities."
So the school district canceled the address, just four days before it was scheduled to be held.
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Enter Liberty Counsel, which dispatched a letter to the district pointing out that CAIR had the situation wrong.
"Usama Dakdok is a Christian originally from Egypt, who grew up in that country attending government schools where he was educated about Islam as the state religion. In Egypt, as a member of the Coptic ethnic minority, Mr. Dakdok has also personally witnessed the persecution of other Coptic Christians by fundamentalist Muslims. As you may be aware in Egypt (as elsewhere), the Quran is explicitly cited as justification for the burning of churches, raping of women, murder of both sexes and all ages through beheading and other methods, forced 'marriage' of Christian women and girls to Muslim men and their forcible 'conversion' to Islam, payment of the 'jizya' tax for the privilege of remaining Christian,and other persecution that is inflicted upon members of the Coptic Christian ethnic and religious minority," Liberty Counsel told the district.
So he is "uniquely qualified to give a Christian perspective about life under shariah (Islamic religious) law, and is a sought-after public speaker."
Regarding his appearance in Minnesota, he had been invited by residents of the community to speak. A local resident, Tammy Godwin, made arrangements to use the school.
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After being confronted by CAIR, the district reneged on its agreement, and Supt. Steve Cairns "stood firmly behind the cancellation, despite the fact that district policy makes available its facilities to members of the public for purposes of protected speech activity and debate."
Although Dakdok's speech eventually went on at a local church, he still wishes to return to speak at the school and a larger section fo the community, Liberty Counsel said.
Its letter to the district explained that CAIR's "characterization of district policies and the Civil Rights Act simply is "inaccurate."
"Contrary to CAIR's assertions, the district's suppression of the constitutionally protected speech of Mr. Dakdok at the insistence of a biased third party who disagrees with the message is unconstitutional," the letter said.
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"Because the district has created a limited public forum by allowing anyone in the community to rent facilities for purposes of peaceable speech and discussion, disinviting Mr. Dakdok for the reasons given constitutes viewpoint discrimination and is unlawful."
It continued, "The district may not cancel his speaking engagement where it holds facilities available for public purposes, including speech and debate. CAIR or anyone else may rent district facilities to share an alternative viewpoint regarding speech with which they disagree, including Mr. Dakdok's. What they may not do, however, is silence speech because they disagree with the speaker's message, and they may not use a governmental entity to do indirectly what CAIR cannot do directly, at least not in this country."
Liberty Counsel officials said the school then notified them of the reversal. A letter from an attorney for the district, Charles Long, said a building rental form was needed, and the rent, but also listed dozens of dates that the auditorium was available.
The national CAIR organization was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial, and 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:
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.
"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.
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."
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.