While many understand the Israeli need to protect its villagers from constant rocket and mortar attacks originating from Hamas-controlled Gaza, there are some who seek to castigate Israel, the victim, instead of their perpetrator. On December 29, 2008, CAIR and a cadre of other radical Islamic
organizations held a press conference to “demand” that the U.S.
government “take immediate steps to end the immoral and illegal Israeli
bombardment of Gaza and its population.” A copy of CAIR National
Executive Director Nihad Awad’s speech, from which these words were taken, is located on CAIR’s YouTube page. What went unreported is the fact that CAIR maintains close ties to Hamas.
CAIR was established in June 1994 by three leaders of the now-defunct American propaganda wing of Hamas, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). CAIR was created as being a part of the American Palestine Committee, which at the time was headed by the global leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Some 14 years later, CAIR has not managed to shake its ties to Hamas, as it was named a party by the U.S. Justice Department to a federal trial dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. All of the defendants were found guilty on all charges.
Indeed, currently on the YouTube page where Nihad Awad’s speech is found, in CAIR’s “Subscribers” section, logos are discovered for Hamas and Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, as well as Hezbollah. Furthermore, Awad has declared his support for Hamas.
Pro-Hamas sentiment is not just limited to CAIR’s national office. CAIR also has a number of local chapters around the U.S. that support Hamas. One of its more outspoken is in Los Angeles, sometimes called CAIR-California. The Executive Director of CAIR-California is Hussam Ayloush. Ayloush has held his position, dating back to at least 2001. In December 2001, the CAIR-California website donned a smiling photo of him posing with suicide bombing advocate and spiritual leader of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
In the past, Ayloush has praised Hamas-related cleric Wagdy Ghoneim, calling him a “highly regarded religious scholar.” He has referred to the creation of Israel as the “nakba” or “catastrophe.” He has labeled Israelis “Zionazis.” And he has stated that the intifada, the violent Palestinian uprising against Israel, really means “standing up against injustice.” Today, Ayloush’s blog, which he calls his “official website,” is covered with virulently anti-Israeli rhetoric.
CAIR-California’s Civil Rights Coordinator, Affad Shaikh, too suffers from an anti-Israel obsession. After Israel declared war on Hamas, Shaikh posted to different blogs a photo of an individual holding a sign with the words, “DEATH TO ALL JUICE.” Of course, by “Juice” he meant “Jews.” He added that Muslim groups should end their full participation in interfaith gatherings with Jews, calling such gatherings a “facade.”
Shaikh, in May 2007, issued a warning to the United States stating, “If we in the West continue to feed into this idea and support a state that is not truly in line with Democratic principles then we are fooling ourselves and setting up for a catastrophe of great magnitude.”
Affad Shaikh’s “Nakba” for America will become real, if people don’t wake up and realize that Hamas is not just in Gaza: its supporters live here at home. Israel’s battle in Gaza today could very well be a battle fought within the United States in the near future. In fact, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said as much, when he stated this week that Jews “have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people.”
All over the world could once again include Manhattan.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.