It probably wouldn't fly too well if the mayor of our nation's largest city appointed, to a panel responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws, a member of a militant, white supremacist group ideologically sympathetic to the notion that our country should return - by any means necessary - to the days of Jim Crow. Surely political leaders and civil rights activists from coast to coast would clamber to find microphones and news cameras before which they could righteously thunder their disapproval of such an appointment; undoubtedly the national media would be all over such a story. It seems, however, that organizations composed of nonwhite, "politically correct" bigots do not ignite a similar passion in the breasts of our society's masters of moral preening. What else could explain the dearth of attention given to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent appointment of Omar Mohammedi, general counsel to the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), to his city's Human Rights Commission?
As Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes points out, the Washington-based CAIR, founded in 1994, "presents itself as just another civil-rights group" - cultivating an image of moderation that enables it to garner "sizable donations, invitations to the White House, respectful media citations, and a serious hearing by corporations." The organization's goal, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper says benignly, is to promote "interest and understanding among the general public with regards to Islam and Muslims in North America."
But the reality is something not nearly so benevolent, and Americans ought to become aware of it. CAIR is a direct outgrowth of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). According to Oliver Revell, the FBI's former associate director of Counter-Intelligence Operations, the IAP "is an organization that has directly supported [the Palestinian terror group] Hamas' military goals. It is a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants. It has produced videotapes that are very hate-filled, full of vehement propaganda." Such roots can hardly be considered "moderate," and as we examine CAIR more closely, what we see only gets uglier.
CAIR's founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was the IAP's public relations director with a long history of extremism. Awad openly praised Iran's notorious Ayatollah Khomeini. He blasted the trial and conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers - against whom the evidence of guilt was overwhelming - as "a travesty of justice." At a 1994 Barry University forum, he candidly stated, "I am in support of the Hamas movement."
The IAP's current president, Rafeeq Jaber, was a founding director of CAIR. Mohammed Nimer, who directs CAIR's Research Center, was on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which is the strategic arm of Hamas in the US and was founded by Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook. The aforementioned Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's Director of Communications, lso worked for the IAP. To this day, he refuses to publicly denounce Osama bin Laden. He euphemistically ascribed the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa to a "misunderstanding of both sides." He dismisses the Sudanese Islamic government's enslavement and torture of millions of black Christians and animists during the past two decades - to say nothing of its slaughter of some two million more - as mere "inter-tribal hostage-taking." He makes no secret of his desire to see America one day become a Muslim country. "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future," he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."
Such sentiments echo those of CAIR chairman Omar M. Ahmad, who in July 1998 told a crowd of California Muslims, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." In a similar vein, CAIR board member Imam Siraj Wahaj calls for replacing the American government with a caliphate, and warns that America will crumble unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda." Wahaj, it should be noted, served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Muslim cleric convicted for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the same cleric who was busy devising plans to blow up American landmarks, buildings, and bridges; the same cleric whose conviction CAIR called a "hate crime" against Muslims. And even though Wahaj was listed as an un-indicted co-conspirator in Rahman's case, CAIR now permits him to sit on its advisory board, deeming him "one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America."
With regard to the war on terror, CAIR's anti-American loyalties are all too clear. In October 1998, for instance, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard that dubbed Osama bin Laden "the sworn enemy," complaining that such a caption was "offensive to Muslims." In the wake of 9/11, CAIR actually denied bin Laden's culpability, a position from which it would not budge until three months after the attacks, by which time the evidence against al-Qaeda's linchpin was irrefutable. The Website for CAIR's New York chapter - with which Mayor Bloomberg's appointee Omar Mohammedi has been affiliated - openly doubted that Islamic hijackers were responsible for the attacks, speculating that either the Bush administration or Israel orchestrated the nightmare.
CAIR has been the mouthpiece of some of the vilest anti-Semitism imaginable. For example, the organization co-sponsored a 1998 Brooklyn College rally at which a militant Egyptian Islamist led the attendees in chanting, "No to the Jews, descendents of the apes." Hussam Ayloush, who heads CAIR's Los Angeles office, contemptuously refers to Israelis as "Zionazis."
Over the years, a good portion of CAIR's funding came from a group called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). Yet when President Bush closed the HLF in December 2001 upon learning that it was raising money to support Hamas terror attacks, CAIR reacted with its characteristic petulance and indifference to American interests. Calling Bush's move "unjust" and "disturbing," the group circulated a petition exhorting the government to unfreeze HLF assets - charging that "there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam."
CAIR'S recently published 2002 Civil Rights Report reads much like virtually all other "civil rights" reports that are preordained to "discover" that the purportedly victimized groups in question are suffering unimaginable pain. It details "incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, stereotyping, discrimination, and harassment" allegedly spawned by the "epidemic" of "Islamophobic backlash that occurred following the September 11 terrorist attacks." According to the report, "Muslims in the United States are more apprehensive than ever about discrimination and intolerance." From passenger profiling at airports, to crackdowns on visa violators, to the closing of terrorist-linked Muslim charities like the HLF, to the Patriot Act's provisions (which, incidentally, made possible the recent crucial arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) - all of these measures, according to CAIR, constitute proof that "discrimination is now part of daily life for American Muslims."
Predictably, CAIR says nothing about the remarkable prosperity of Muslims in America, who in fact constitute the most affluent Muslim society on earth. As Daniel Pipes reported in November 2000, American Muslims "boast among the highest rates of education of any group in the country (a whopping 52 percent appear to hold graduate degrees), and this translates into a pattern of prestigious and remunerative employment." Muslim Americans' median household income of about $69,000 stands well above the national average.
All in all, CAIR's dual agenda is abundantly clear: (A) to depict the United States as a snake pit of "Islamophobes," wherein Muslims must fend for their very lives at every moment; and (B) to promote the hateful aspirations of our nation's deadliest enemies, radical Islamic terrorists. Does it make any sense, then, for the mayor presiding over the very city where the Twin Towers once stood, to appoint an important figure of such an organization to a Human Rights position in city government? Some might consider it an abomination.