The FBI reportedly joined a fundraising dinner for a prominent "civil rights" group whose leadership openly supports Hamas.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says "a representative of the local office of the FBI," whom it did not identify, attended the San Francisco Bay Area fundraiser on October 11. CAIR made the statement in a news release dated October 12.
The Center and others have been critical of the FBI leadership for bad judgment by lending political legitimacy to groups that claim to oppose terrorism, but whose leaders speak out in support of US-designated terrorist groups abroad, and who work here at home to undermine anti-terrorism laws.
CAIR's former community affairs director recently pled guilty to federal terrorism-related charges.
Reported FBI participation in the CAIR fundraiser took place as senators from both parties denounced CAIR as an extremist group tied to terrorist causes. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) surprised observers by calling CAIR "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect," while Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said CAIR leaders have "intimate links to Hamas."
A CAIR official recently complained to Al Jazeera about a federal crackdown on suspected terrorist operatives inside the United States.
“The American Muslim community has already been under suspicion since 9/11 and this just adds to our burden,” CAIR's Rabiah Hamed lamented to Al Jazeera.
CAIR complains that it doesn't get fair treatment, but it declined an invitation to testify before a September 10 Senate panel on terrorism chaired by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)
CAIR's website presently is running an article criticizing the FBI for "unfairly" tainting an Arab-American after withdrawing a planned "Excellence in Service" award. CAIR says that "Arab-American leaders" won't trust the FBI unless the Bureau reinstates the award.
CAIR is also taking credit for helping to undermine post-9/11 counterterrorism laws at the state and federal levels. It has changed its tone from outright denunciation of authorities to one that offers "help" in the fight against terrorism.
The new constructive approach, without any renunciation of past statements of support for terrorist groups, complicates public understanding of CAIR and similar organizations, as the Center notes in today's Security Forum.