On November 30th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) did something that would have made the group’s Syrian-harbored “grandfather” proud. It posted to its website and sent out to its e-mail list an overtly pro-Hamas and anti-Semitic article, written by a vehemently anti-Israel author. In the dozen-plus years of its existence, for CAIR little has changed.
The man most responsible for CAIR’s founding is none other than the number two leader of Hamas today, Mousa Abu Marzook. He has been located in Damascus, Syria, since shortly after the United States deported him to Jordan back in 1997. Each and every week, one can read quotes attributed to him -- speaking in the name of Hamas -- in the news media. As recently as November 14th, the Associated Press quoted him as saying that international demands for Hamas to recognize Israel were “Illegal and illegitimate.”
Before his deportation, Marzook made his mark on American society by creating, within it, a vast Hamas infrastructure. It included a Hamas command center called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a Hamas financing arm called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and a Hamas propaganda wing called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). It is through this last group that CAIR was born.
CAIR was founded by three leaders of the IAP, in June of 1994. Two months prior to this, one of the founders publicly stated his support for Hamas. He is the Executive Director of CAIR today, Nihad Awad. He stated, “After I researched the situation inside and outside Palestine, I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO... I know that this movement as an Islamic movement has not been objectively reported in the United States...”
Awad’s statement was just a precursor for what was to come, as CAIR has, time and time again, demonstrated an extreme hatred towards Israel and a fondness for those that wish to destroy it. Recent events provide evidence for this:
· CAIR-Chicago placed on its July 18, 2006 newsletter a cartoon of an Israeli being held upside-down by his feet, while being shaken of his money, with the caption “BANKROLLING A MENACE WITH OUR TAX MONEY.”
· CAIR-Florida’s Communications Director Ahmed Bedier hosted a radio show on July 21, 2006, where every one of his guests lauded Hezbollah.
· On October 11, 2006, a founding director of CAIR’s Texas chapter, Ghassan Elashi, was sentenced to seven years in prison for funneling money to Marzook and Hamas.
And now, less than one week ago, CAIR has elected to post to its website and ship to its e-mail list a pro-Hamas article with anti-Jewish overtones. The piece, ‘The kangaroo court taking place in Chicago,’ was written by Ray Hanania, a man known for his anti-Israel attitudes, previously referring to Ariel Sharon as being “Nazi-like” and saying that Israel is “provoking the violence” against itself.
In the article -- a commentary lamenting America’s treatment of Hamas operative Mohammed Salah -- Hanania finds no fault with Salah’s affection for Hamas, an organization that uses suicide bombings as a means to murder innocent civilians. He states, “Salah is not guilty of terrorism. Whether he supported Hamas or not is a non-issue. Many Palestinians support Hamas in part because Hamas is a creation of Israel’s refusal to make genuine peace.”
As well, Hanania, in the article, shrugs away as insignificant Salah’s and co-defendant Abdelhaleem Ashqar’s hatred towards Jews. He states, “So far, after 10 weeks of trial, all that the U.S. Government can say about Mohammed Salah and co-defendant Abdelhaleem Ashqar is that they opposed the Oslo Peace Accords and that they didn’t believe that their Muslim children should mingle in peace with Jews.”
Of course, regardless of Ray Hanania’s sentiments towards Hamas and Jews, with respect to the indictments, he is hiding from the facts -- Mohammed Salah has been charged by the United States government with recruiting and training Hamas members and with transferring money to Hamas. In addition, Salah served five years in an Israeli jail for his Hamas related activities. This last part Hanania actually acknowledges, though he seems to believe that the fact Israel eventually released him clears Salah of any wrongdoing, which obviously is not the case.
The true wrongdoing in this matter is that an author has chosen to defend an operative from Hamas, and an organization that peddles itself off as a “civil rights group” has chosen to propagate that defense -- an anti-Semitic, pro-Hamas editorial. In doing so, CAIR has shown that it cannot move past what has plagued the group since it began. The American legacy of Mousa Abu Marzook remains strong, and nothing CAIR says or does -- no phony Fatwa Against Terrorism or any of its other publicity stunts -- is going to change that reality.
Gary Gross of Let Freedom Ring contributed to this report.
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