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Speak To Me, Ibrahim! By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 10, 2003


Wednesday morning I called Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Last week Hooper and I had words on MSNBC’s Nachman show about the propriety of the FBI investigating mosques, and I wanted to get his reaction to new allegations that the al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn has been a chief source of funding for al-Qaeda.

But Mr. Hooper wouldn’t tell me what he thought. Without allowing me to ask my question, he just said, "I have no interest in promoting the anti-Muslim agenda of you or FrontPage Magazine," and hung up.

Now, I know that tempers are boiling over in today’s tense political climate. But CAIR would be able to gain a better hearing for its new campaign to "foster greater understanding of Islam" if its spokesmen engaged the organization’s political opponents honestly, instead of smearing their positions and indulging in juvenile displays. This is especially true in these days of national crisis. Americans have legitimate questions about CAIR and Islamic radicalism that Hooper and Co. has so far refused to answer, preferring instead to resort to ad hominem attacks upon those who raise the questions.

But the questions aren’t going away. Ibrahim Hooper won’t answer them, but he can’t bury them:

[1] The Al-Farooq mosque is the second American mosque linked to terrorist activity in a week. The first was an Islamic religious center identified in the indictment of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian as one base of his operations to aid terrorists. In light of this, is CAIR’s stand against the FBI’s counting mosques as part of anti-terror operations really consistent with CAIR’s stated "commitment to our nation’s safety"?

[2] The Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud gave CAIR $500,000 for its program to put books and tapes about Islam in American libraries. The American Muslim leader W. D. Muhammad has said that when Saudis give money to American Muslims, they say, "We’re gonna give you our money, then we want you to . . . prefer our school of thought." Were these books and tapes approved by Islamic authorities belonging to the Saudi Wahhabi sect?

[3] CAIR’s stated intention in the library campaign is to help Americans learn about Islam "as a religion of peace and justice." How is this goal consistent with financing from Wahhabis, a sect so fanatical and extremist that it sanctions violence against non-Muslims and even against Muslims it considers heretical?

[4] CAIR’s new ad campaign includes fifty-two full-page ads in the New York Times. Where is the money coming from to pay for all these ads — an expense that must amount to over a million dollars? Does any of this money come also from Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia? If so (or even if not), have they approved the ads? Did Wahhabis help craft the ads?

[5] As long ago as 1999, the Naqshbandi Sufi Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani told a State Department Open Forum on religious extremism that "the problem with our communities is the extremist ideology. . . [Extremists] took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US." The fact that Wahhabis finance most American mosques would seem to bear out Kabbani’s assessment. Even if Kabbani was only half-right and extremists today control only 40% of American mosques, would they not bear investigating as part of efforts to prevent terrorist acts?

[6] On Wednesday, March 5, the same day I called Hooper, a suicide bomber killed 16 people and injured 55 on a bus in Haifa, Israel. Among the dead were ten high school students, including a 14-year-old American girl, Avigail Leitner. The Islamic terrorist group Hamas praised the bombing. Is CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad still "a supporter of Hamas," as he has stated publicly many times? If so, how does this support square with CAIR’s efforts to portray Islam as a religion of peace?

[7] When al-Qaeda issued a threat during the season of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, causing Attorney General John Ashcroft to raise the level of the nation’s terrorist alert, why did CAIR blame Ashcroft for linking terrorism to the Hajj? Didn’t that linkage come from al-Qaeda, not Ashcroft — or did CAIR have intelligence to the contrary?

[8] Why, when terrorist groups around the world use the words "Islam" and "Jihad" in their names, are people who ask questions about this fact tarred by CAIR as having an "anti-Muslim agenda"? What is CAIR really doing to sever the worldwide connection between Islam and terrorism? Dodging questions, whitewashing uncomfortable facts, and hanging up on people won’t do it.

Come on, Ibrahim. The American people, to whose safety you are committed, deserve answers.


Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.



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