Eight years ago, the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued the investigators behind a daring, undercover operation that turned up evidence confirming the organization’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and violent Islamic supremacism.
Now, as its case finally heads to trial, CAIR is trying to block the defendants from presenting that evidence and other damaging information to a jury.
Last Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., delayed a pretrial hearing scheduled for May 15 to allow more time to address a motion by CAIR to disallow evidence it describes as “anti-Muslim bias.”
“CAIR is terrified that a jury will learn the truth about its pro-Hamas founding and leaders,” said attorney Daniel Horowitz.
He represents David Gaubatz, a co-author of the book that published the evidence, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” and his son, Chris Gaubatz, who conducted the investigation as a CAIR intern.
During his internship, Chris Gaubatz wore a recorder on his clothing to capture video and audio of his activities. He gathered some 12,000 pages of documents, headed for a shredder, that held evidence of crimes committed by CAIR, including violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, giving material support to terrorist organizations and providing fraudulent legal services.
But CAIR filed suit alleging, among other claims, violations of the federal and District of Columbia Wiretap Acts and the Stored Communications Act. In the complaint, however, CAIR has never defended itself against the actual claims of the book, which documents the organization’s founding as a front group in the United States for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Horowitz told WND the evidence of CAIR’s origin and character is “at the very core of our defense.”
“You can’t violate the rights of a criminal organization by exposing their violent underbelly,” he said, noting that Hamas is a recognized terror organization throughout the world.
“We are now going to have the opportunity to show the judge that our allegations against CAIR are based upon hard, proven facts,” Horowitz said. “Up until now we’ve had to endure CAIR’s constant cries of bigotry every time we have opposed them on this case.”
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the D.C. Circuit Court said in her order Wednesday that additional briefings are necessary to resolve the matter of whether the evidence regarding CAIR’s background and character can be admitted.
Horowitz noted he has a recording of a CAIR founder saying he prefers Hamas to the PLO.
“When the jury hears that, they’re not going to find wrongdoing by our clients who exposed them,” he said.
After naming the Gaubatzes in the lawsuit, CAIR added the Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Security Policy and three of its employees for their part in commissioning a documentary about CAIR. Also added was attorney David Yerushalmi and his non-profit group SANE, which campaigns against the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah.
A legal brief responding to CAIR’s motion to disallow evidence of its origin and character noted the group “has made numerous accusations of anti-Muslim bias on the part of the Gaubatz defendants and their counsel.”
CAIR’s motion stated: “For years, Defendants have promulgated and endorsed the mistaken belief that CAIR is a terrorist organization and Muslim Brotherhood front group. These allegations are blatant conspiracy theories intended to push Defendants’ anti-Muslim agendas.”
The reply brief says the defendants “agree that anti-Muslim bias should not be part of a defense and that persons of all religions should have equal access to fair treatment and justice in the courts.”
“However,” it argues, “fact-based evidence that is relevant to contested issues, should not be excluded simply because CAIR labels such criticism ‘anti-Muslim.'”
The brief notes that the criticisms raised by the defendants have been raised by others, including prominent news sources, a Democratic senator and federal judges.
It cites a 2007 New York Times story about CAIR that states in the opening paragraph: “With violence across the Middle East fixing Islam smack at the center of the American political debate, an organization partly financed by donors closely identified with wealthy Persian Gulf governments has emerged as the most vocal advocate for American Muslims — and an object of wide suspicion.”
The article describes how Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., canceled an award she intended to present to CAIR and canceled a meeting set with the organization.
Boxer commented: “There are things there I don’t want to be associated with.”
Also entered as an exhibit by the defense is a 2014 Washington Post article on the designation of CAIR as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim country.
It cites, in addition, the FBI’s suspension of contact with CAIR after the group was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of a sister Muslim Brotherhood organization that funded Hamas, the Holy Land Foundation in Texas. The case demonstrated CAIR and its founders were part of a group set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas.
Documented meetings with extremists include a 2009 visit by CAIR’s executive director, Nihad Awad, with Muammar Gadhafi to solicit funds from Gadhafi for CAIR.
CAIR’s ‘true nature’
CAIR contends Chris Gaubatz had a “fiduciary duty” — a relationship of trust to manage or protect property — as an intern not to publish the CAIR documents.
But the Gaubatzes’ legal counsel argues “the relationship between a genuine civil rights organization and a person purporting to share its ideals is more likely to establish a fiduciary relationship than if CAIR is a criminal organization which used its intern program as part of its fake civil rights persona.”
CAIR also argues for an “expectation of privacy,” but the defendants reason that “if CAIR was regularly engaged in unlawful conduct it is logical for a jury to conclude that it would conduct its criminal activities in an area that was not easily accessible to an intern.”
“The quasi public office is likely not where illicit activities were planned.”
Entering evidence of criminal activity by CAIR, the defendants argue, also is relevant for determining the credibility of witnesses “who personally established the ‘civil rights facade’ and who personally engage in activity that is unlawful.”
FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed CAIR chief Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. 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.