March has been a bad month for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In recent weeks, the organization’s sympathy for Islamic terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been revealed more clearly than ever, as CAIR personnel publicly expressed their support for the two groups.
At this moment, for instance, Sami Al-Arian’s picture adorns CAIR’s homepage. The graphic is part of an “Action Alert” that CAIR released March 19. It calls on supporters to write letters of support to Al-Arian, who is currently protesting his detention -- what CAIR calls “alleged unjust treatment by U.S. authorities” -- by way of a hunger strike. CAIR describes Al-Arian’s predicament as a “struggle for justice.”
It is telling what CAIR does not mention about al-Arian. A co-founder and the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, he played a major role in a number of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, that killed Israelis as well as two American citizens. He even used a children’s school that he created, in Tampa, Florida, to help finance the terror group. Today, Al-Arian sits in an American prison, convicted for his participation in PIJ.
On February 28, 2006, Al-Arian pled guilty to one count of the indictment that had been previously issued against him. The charge, as stated in the plea agreement [pdf], was: “Conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist...”
While Al-Arian was in the United States, he was active in helping to found organizations beyond the fronts he created for PIJ. One of them, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), would later splinter off into CAIR. CAIR eventually repaid Al-Arian by having its Communications Director for its Florida chapter, Ahmed Bedier, act as his spokesman in the media, when Al-Arian was facing criminal charges. And the group has been repaying him ever since, even sponsoring screenings of a “puff film” about him, titled USA vs Al-Arian.
Since PIJ is found on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and since CAIR is overtly supporting and telling others to support one of PIJ’s admitted operatives, this would seem an open-and-shut case of the organization providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
It is not the only such case. This past year, CAIR was linked to Hamas, during a federal trial which ran from July through October of 2007. Court documents [pdf] from the trial prove that CAIR was created as part of the Palestine Committee, a group led by then-head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook’s mission was to raise money for Hamas from American shores. The trial named leaders of another member organization of the Palestine Committee, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), as defendants. [IAP was also a member group.]
On March 1, 2008, Americans Against Hate sponsored a rally against CAIR’s usage of a government-owned facility in Broward County, Florida. During the event, a CAIR-Florida representative named Jawhar “Joe” Badran stated his feelings about Hamas. Standing next to the Executive Director of CAIR-Florida Altaf Ali and speaking into a microphone bearing CAIR’s logo and name, Badran was caught on camera making the following incredible statement: “Hamas is not a terrorist organization.” As well, at the rally, he proclaimed, “Hamas is a defender of the Palestinian people. That’s what Hamas is.” And: “Hamas is better than Fatah, because there’s no corruption. Hamas takes care of the people.”
Badran picked a poor time to exonerate Hamas of the charge of terrorism. Less than a week after a CAIR member voiced his support for Hamas, on March, a terrorist attack took place at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, in Jerusalem, carried out by a resident of the city, Alaa Hisham Abu Dhaim. The attack left eight students dead, each from gunshot wounds. All but one of those murdered were teenagers, including a 16-year-old American citizen named Avraham David Moses. Following the attack, the military wing of Hamas, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, issued a press release calling the incident a “heroic martyrdom operation” and stating that more attacks like it are to follow. Hamas originally took credit for the attack (which may have been coordinated with one or more terror groups), and a number of arrests regarding it followed, including that of the shooter’s father, Maan, a former Hamas member.
CAIR’s recent and very public support for terrorist groups should be seen as a defiant challenge to those in our government who are no longer oblivious to the organization’s disquieting agenda. CAIR, in short, has sided with America’s enemies in the War on Terror. All that remains is for the U.S. government to hold the group to its word.