Just a week after an article in the New York Sun revealed that federal prosecutors had named the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an unindicted co-conspirator in a HAMAS terrorist financing trial in Texas (see my follow-up article, “CAIR Fingered by Feds”), signs are appearing that the organization’s finances are taking a big hit from this news and cracks are being noticed in CAIR’s carefully constructed public façade.
According to data published on CAIR’s own website, more than a third of the way through the month of June, by the close of business on Tuesday the 12th CAIR had raised only $18,976 (less than 8 percent) towards its monthly goal of $250,000. In order to meet their monthly goal, CAIR will need to raise $12,835 every single day in each of the 18 days remaining in this month. On Monday, the daily increase in receipts they reported was a meager $150 and on Tuesday was noticeably better at $1,825, but still well short of what they need to meet their budget.
The news of CAIR’s financial peril arrives just a day after Audrey Hudson’s article yesterday in the Washington Times, “CAIR Membership Falls 90% since 9/11”, which noted the substantial drop in CAIR membership from 29,000 in 2000 to less than an estimated 1,700 in 2006. CAIR’s plummeting membership is hardly breaking news to FrontPage readers who have been following my coverage of this same story since back in February beginning with an article, “Numbers Don’t Lie”.
Just three weeks ago I observed that CAIR’s estimated membership had fallen from 4,671 in 2004 to 2,615 in 2005 – a one-year 46 percent drop in membership – based off the organizations recently released 2005 IRS Form 990 (“CAIR by the Numbers”). The estimates in Ms. Hudson’s Washington Times article observes that trend continuing to 2006 and finds a further 35 percent drop in CAIR’s membership from the year before to 1,700.
Predictably, CAIR assailed the findings of the Times article in a press release issued yesterday, claiming that deeply discounted and free memberships were not considered. That notwithstanding, CAIR offered no explanation on why their membership revenues continue to drop at exactly the same pace as their estimated membership, which seems to correlate directly with my earlier findings and the Times estimates of the organization’s membership.
The data found in CAIR’s 2005 Form 990 also shows a chasm opening up in the group’s finances as part of a downward trend that has been ongoing for several years. In that earlier report I noted:
Also seen in the 2004 and 2005 IRS Form 990s is that direct contributions to the organization (line 1) also saw a sharp decline, dropping from $2,166,270 in 2004 to $1,667,057 in 2005, losing almost one-quarter (23 percent) of their contributions from the previous year.
There could be a number of reasons associated with this recent financial dropoff. Since last week’s news about being named as unindicted co-conspirator, the group’s supporters are surely considering that fact that continuing to contribute to CAIR, who it is now known is under scrutiny by federal law enforcement and prosecutors – might be fearful of being investigated themselves. But CAIR’s ties to HAMAS financing is hardly breaking news, so any supporters now considering this possibility should not have been supporting a HAMAS-tied front group to begin with.
But in the long-term, it might be CAIR’s rapidly increasing extremism which may be responsible for driving away its past supporters. Its shrill spokesmen and constant indictments of American society as rife with “Islamophobia”, when in fact the data rarely if ever supported their claims and self-serving narratives, had stripped away much of the “moderate” veneer CAIR and it’s political and media establishment allies had labored to sustain. In some respects, CAIR’s public relations successes and seeming ubiquity may be directly contributing to its own undoing.
One additional factor contributing to CAIR’s financial death spiral has been the role of independent media in exposing the organization’s extremist agenda. At virtually every opportunity, the establishment media has not only given CAIR a free ride and helped to advance its radical Islamist agenda, but they have consistently looked the other way whenever CAIR’s critics revealed yet another inconvenient truth about the group’s Islamist goals.
The most glaring example of this was an article back in March by Neil MacFarquhar in the New York Times, “Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in the US”, which was little more than an aggressive defense for the organization as they were under direct fire from FrontPage’s own Joe Kaufman (who was quoted the article). MacFarquhar went so far as to blame CAIR critics for the rise in Muslim extremism at home and abroad: “Some activists and academics view the controversy surrounding the group as typical of why Washington fails so often in the Middle East, while extremism mushrooms.”
This is EXHIBIT A in support of the claim that if it had been left to the media establishment, CAIR’s public image would have remained virtually unblemished and its extremism unchallenged. Responsibility has fallen to the independent media, such as FrontPage Magazine, and aggressive journalism conducted by independent researchers and organizations, to unmask CAIR’s radical agenda, media relations stunts, and troubling associations. CAIR’s present financial woes give evidence that we have done our job well.
CAIR’s boom-and-bust fortunes will give needed encouragement to those looking for some sign of success in countering the global Islamist movement, but continued vigilance will be needed. It might be that CAIR’s foreign petro-patrons will step in again to bail the organization out. For the moment, however, CAIR’s financial peril bodes well for the cause of liberty and freedom, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.