In November of 2004, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a propaganda center for Hamas, was found liable for the murder of an American teenager, David Boim, who was slain during a Hamas drive-by shooting in Israel. Soon after, the group dissolved its corporation and went into nonexistence – but not before leaving remnants of its being along with a thorn on American society. That thorn, CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has attempted to put separation between itself and the IAP, its parent organization. However, a recent discovery regarding the IAP’s American Muslim Society (AMS) would suggest that the two are still, to this day, very much connected, leaving the legitimacy of CAIR’s own existence open to question.
The IAP was originally incorporated in November of 1981. According to the state of Illinois, the Registered Agent for the corporation was Aly A. Mishal, an individual who is listed as an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial held in Dallas, Texas that began in July. The IAP’s brain trust included such individuals as Mousa Abu Marzook, who became the head of Hamas during the inception of the violent Intifada in 1987, and Sami Al-Arian, who helped found Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in 1979.
During the start of the 90’s, a young group of radicals had taken over the leadership of the IAP. In March of 1990, the IAP officially split up its organization and incorporated an office in Richardson, Texas, the city where HLF was located. The group name on the documents was the American Middle Eastern League for Palestine (AMELP). The incorporator was then-IAP President Yasser Salah Bushnaq. Among other things, AMELP would serve as the IAP’s publishing house.
What is interesting is that, according to the state of Texas, AMELP is still active, classified as an “IN GOOD STANDING – EXEMPT CORPORATION.” What is even more interesting is that the Registered Agent of AMELP is Ghassan Dahduli – an associate of convicted Al-Qaeda operative Wadi Al-Hage – who was deported from the U.S. in November of 2001 for fraudulently obtaining a work visa.
In April of 1991, the IAP’s Illinois corporation was dissolved, and a new one was formed in October of 1993, using the alias American Muslim Society (AMS). Listed in the new corporation were the following “assumed names”: Islamic Association for Palestine in Chicago, Islamic Association for Palestine in North America, Al-Zaytouna and Al-Zaytouna Newspaper. Just as AMELP was acting as the IAP in Texas, AMS was doubling as the national organization and a local IAP chapter.
Less than a year after AMS was created, the IAP founded another group, CAIR. In June of 1994, using seed money they received from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), the President of the IAP Omar Ahmad, the future President of the IAP (and Registered Agent of AMS) Rafiq Jaber, Nihad Awad and Ibrahim Hooper opened up an office in Washington, D.C.
Throughout CAIR’s existence, the organization has been haunted by its parent group’s ties to Hamas. CAIR’s response to this was to either ignore reports or to dismiss tough questions as being the result of a biased conspiracy against all Muslims. In May of 2007, CAIR could no longer deny reality, as the organization was named as a “co-conspirator” in the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. The label was given, in lieu of a trial that was about to take place, naming past employees of HLF as defendants.
During the HLF trial, testimony from federal agents would reveal that CAIR was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret Hamas support network comprising of a handful of groups and led by Marzook. These revelations did much to put an end to the speculation concerning CAIR’s relationship with the IAP. However, new information should end the speculation altogether.
Prior to the IAP’s dissolution, the group created local offices in various parts of the United States. One of the chapters, the American Muslim Society of the Tristate Area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware (AMS Tri-State), was set up in Villanova, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, and was incorporated in January of 2001. Like AMELP, this chapter was never shut down.
The AMS Tri-State headquarters is located at the Foundation for Islamic Education (FIE), a satellite campus for Cairo, Egypt’s Al-Azhar University whose entire Board of Trustees resides in Saudi Arabia. FIE has played host to several Islamist radicals. They include: Maher Hathout, a Senior Advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), who has on numerous occasions stated his support for Hezbollah; Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss-born Muslim scholar, who had his visa revoked by the U.S. State Department, due to his providing of funds to Hamas; and Riyadh ul-Haq, a Muslim cleric from England, who was banned from entry into Canada, on grounds that he had incited hatred against Jews, Hindus, homosexuals and moderate Muslims.
Four and a half years after AMS Tri-State was founded, CAIR opened its own chapter in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was very important to both organizations, as it was the site of an infamous 1993 meeting that comprised of IAP and future CAIR leaders discussing ways in which they could raise money for Hamas from American shores.
It was not just the Hamas meeting that the two groups had in common. When one looks at the board members of each organization, he/she sees a striking similarity. Iftikhar Hussein, the Secretary General of AMS Tri-State, is also the Chairman of the Board of CAIR-Philadelphia (CAIR-Pennsylvania). Zaheer Chaudhry, the President of AMS Tri-State, was, up until recently, a CAIR-Philly board member. [One other AMS Tri-State leader, the group’s Vice President Aziz Al-Taee (a.k.a. Aziz Kadoory Aziz), who is not affiliated with CAIR-Philadelphia, is of note, as he has, in the past, pled guilty to purchasing stolen computers and selling packaging for crack cocaine. Al-Taee also claims to be the last person to speak to his then-business partner Nick Berg, before Berg was kidnapped and subsequently beheaded in Iraq.] Additionally, Adeeba Al-Zaman, the former Communications Director and former Office Manager of CAIR-Philadelphia, was a moderator at an AMS Youth Forum held at FIE, in August of 2003.
The links from AMS Tri-State to CAIR-Philadelphia are significant, as they prove that CAIR still – even today – has a working relationship with the IAP (through its remnants).
When Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook was facing deportation from the United States in 1996 – Marzook had been in the U.S. since 1981 – CAIR’s propaganda machine shifted into high gear, as the group took to his defense. On May 10, 1996, two days after U.S. District Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy ordered Marzook’s extradition to Israel, Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of CAIR, organized a press conference, at which he stated, “[T]he arrest, detention and extradition is politically motivated…[T]his campaign has been orchestrated to serve as a wedge between America and Islamic countries.” The following month, CAIR, joined by the IAP and a group calling itself Muslims for a Better America, signed an open letter calling the proceedings against Marzook an “injustice” and alleging that “our judicial system has been kidnapped by Israeli interests.”
CAIR had much to thank Marzook for. Indeed, the organization owed him for its very existence. Yet, since Marzook’s departure to Jordan, and later to Syria, CAIR has worked marvels in order to conceal and dodge questions concerning its terrorist pedigree. Today, though, after all that emerged at the Holy Land trial, and certainly after this new information surfaced regarding its ongoing relationship with one of the IAP’s local chapters, CAIR no longer has the luxury of denial. Being that that is the case, should not CAIR and all that remains of the group that created it be removed from America as well – once and for all?
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. Beila Rabinowitz is the Director of Militant Islam Monitor.