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CAIR's Message of Violence By: Joel Mowbray
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 18, 2004

Appearing on Fox News recently, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ibrahim Hooper, said that in twenty years’ worth of trips to mosques, “I’ve never heard violence preached; I’ve never heard anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism preached.” 

When asked in a subsequent phone interview with this columnist if his statement also holds true for any Muslim events, conferences, and rallies he has attended, Hooper said it did and added, “In fact, if I had heard that I would have called them on the carpet and asked them why they’re saying such hate-filled, divisive things.”  (In a follow-up conversation,  Hooper said he did “not include rallies.”)

Hooper’s claims, however, are somewhere between disingenuous and just plain dishonest. 

At a now-infamous Washington, D.C. rally on October 28, 2000, then-president of the American Muslim Federation Abdurahman Alamoudi shouted to a cheering crowd, “We are all supporters of Hamas!”  In the second phone interview, Hooper acknowledged being there, but claims he did not hear Alamoudi.

In the media frenzy that followed, though, neither CAIR nor Hooper publicly criticized Alamoudi’s avowed support of the terrorist organization.

Less than a year later, Hooper joined a handful of various Muslim groups in staging a “sit in” in front of the State Department in June 2001.  During the event, American Muslim Council Director Ali Ramadan Abu Zakouk “preached violence” by labeling the mass murder of innocent civilians in suicide bombing attacks as a “God-given right.”

“The question of resistance to occupation is a God-given right.  And the occupied people can use any means possible for them. They have no limitation,” Zakouk explained.   Hooper was listed as the contact person for the press release sent out in advance of the “sit in,” though he first claimed he “did not remember” and later that he “did not hear” Zakouk’s defense of suicide bombings. 

Videotape footage of the event (provided by the Investigative Project), however, clearly shows Hooper standing barely a few feet behind Zakouk as the comments were made.

Without video or a published record noting his participation, it is impossible to know what other pro-violence, anti-American, or anti-Semitic propaganda Hooper has personally witnessed.  But there are plenty of examples of reprehensible rhetoric spouted either by CAIR officials or at CAIR co-sponsored events—any of which Hooper, as longtime CAIR spokesman, would almost surely be aware of.

At the Islamic Association of Palestine’s third annual convention in Chicago in November 1999, CAIR President Omar Ahmad gave a speech at a youth session praising suicide bombers who “kill themselves for Islam”: “Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam – that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.”

The Executive Director of CAIR’s New York chapter has made similar comments that would likewise fall under the heading of “violence preached.”  At an interfaith event shortly after 9/11, CAIR-NY's Ghazi Khankan started with the obligatory disclaimer that “those who attack civilians are wrong,” but then he explained that any Israeli adult was a “soldier” and thus not a civilian.

Khankan rationalized as follows: “Anyone over eighteen is automatically inducted into the service and they are all reserves. Therefore, Hamas in my opinion looks at them as part of the military.”  Driving home the point that it’s ok to blow up any Israeli adult, Khankan added, “Those who are below 18 should not be attacked.”  (When asked about this speech—but not being told who gave it—Hooper said, “I condemn it.”)

CAIR co-sponsored a May 1998 New York conference titled, “Palestine: 50 Years of Occupation,” where one of the guest speakers taught participants a song that included lyrics: “No to the Jews, descendants of the apes.”

Hooper insists that CAIR was not a co-sponsor of the event and added, “I don’t even know if that happened.”  But an e-mail sent out to a Muslim e-mail list the day before the event clearly identifies CAIR as one of the eleven co-sponsors—and audiotape of the conference (provided by the Investigative Project) recorded the anti-Semitic song.

Even when given the opportunity by journalists to “call on the carpet” designated terrorist organizations, Hooper demurs.

When asked by the Washington Post in November 2001 if he would condemn Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Hooper responded, “It’s not our job to go around denouncing.”  Asked by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002 to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, Hooper called such questions a “game” and explained, “We’re not in the business of condemning.”

In fact, it seems the only time Hooper is “in the business of condemning” or “denouncing” is when the U.S. government has acted against a prominent Muslim individual or group suspected of involvement with terrorism. 

After Sami al-Arian was arrested for allegedly serving as the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—which the Department of Justice calls “one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world”—Hooper, being interviewed on MSNBC, blamed the arrest on “the attack dogs of the pro-Israel lobby.”

When the Holy Land Foundation was closed in December 2001 for its alleged support of Hamas, Hooper told Cox News Service, “We see this as ill-advised and counter-productive.”  He explained, “The only specific accusation is that [the Holy Land Foundation funds] feed the orphans of suicide bombers along with hundreds of other children.” 

What Hooper should have noted was that closing down the Holy Land Foundation—even assuming that what Hooper said was true—was “counterproductive” for Hamas, because the terrorist organization provides social welfare services, particularly to families of suicide bombers, in order to garner political support and recruit more “martyrs.”

Hooper doesn’t always attack the U.S., though.  Sometimes he simply morally equates the U.S. to terrorists.

Asked in an America Online-sponsored “chat” in August 1998 who was responsible—the terrorists or America—for the East Africa Embassy bombings, Hooper wrote that although he condemned the bombings, “a great deal of what happened is responsible due to misunderstandings on both sides.”

When it comes to “misunderstandings,” though, Hooper’s record leaves none as to whether or not he has heard or directly knows of plenty of violence and anti-Semitism preached by Muslim leaders.

Joel Mowbray (mail@joelmowbray.com) is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.

Joel Mowbray is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.

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