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CAIR for Governor? By: Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It’s always a concern, when those with sinister intentions gain a foothold in our government. On November 7, 2006, citizens throughout the state of Florida will go to the polls to help their candidate of choice cruise to victory and take home the prestigious and powerful seat of governor. But what happens if that victor brings with him an unwelcome partner? And what happens if that unwelcome partner turns out to be the offspring of a front for terrorist organizations? With the two leading candidates – one from each of the major parties – having dealings with CAIR, it is quite possible that this frightening scenario will occur.

CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations is an offshoot of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a group whose founders include the number two leader in Hamas today, Mousa Abu Marzook, and the former North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Sami Al-Arian. The IAP, which has, in the past, published the Hamas charter calling for the destruction of Israel, folded its organization shortly after the group was found liable for the murder of an American boy, David Boim, during a Hamas terror operation.

CAIR, itself, is the defendant in a lawsuit put forward by the family of FBI Agent John O’Neill for his murder, during the 9/11 attacks. The group has lost a Civil Rights Coordinator, a fundraiser, a Director of Community Relations, and a founding Director of its Texas Chapter, all through conviction or deportation, all linked to al-Qaeda or Hamas. CAIR’s Executive Director has publicly stated his support for Hamas, and other CAIR officials have called for America and its government to be taken over by Islam.


So much of this information has been repeated, so many times before – all of it true – yet that hasn’t stopped some politicians from embracing the organization.


Florida Gubernatorial Candidate, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis


Jim Davis is the frontrunner in the Democratic race for governor of the state of Florida.  Currently he serves as U.S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Florida, which consists of portions of the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. He is also the frontrunner in the Democratic race for the radical Islamist vote.


In 1998, Sami Al-Arian donated $200 to the campaign to re-elect Congressman Davis to the House of Representatives. This bit of information was brought to the public’s attention, via the local television airwaves, in February of 2003, subsequent to charges from the FBI that Al-Arian and seven others were actively involved with PIJ. According to one report, this had been Al-Arian’s “first legal campaign contribution on record.” Other officeholders receiving Al-Arian donations, included:  Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga; David Bonior, D-Mich; Tom Campbell, R-Calif; and Henry Hyde, R-Ill.


This is not the only time Congressman Davis has been associated with Al-Arian. Only one year after the Al-Arian campaign contribution surfaced, in March of 2004, Davis had been a featured speaker at an event sponsored by the Tampa Bay Muslim Alliance (TBMA), an organization co-founded by Al-Arian. The event, the Eighth Annual Islamic Charity Festival, also featured then-candidate for U.S. Senate and former University of South Florida (USF) President, Betty Castor.  According to incorporation papers, Al-Arian was a Director for TBMA from its June 2000 inception till the time of his arrest. Three of the individuals that had been involved with TBMA, during Al-Arian’s tenure, Husain Nagamia*, Rasheed Hakki and Hakim Aquil**, are still with the group today.


In addition to the 2004 speech, Davis’s name appeared as an attendee for TBMA’s fundraising dinner, held in April of 2005. This information was found on the same webpage as a link to the website of the Muslim American Society of Tampa (MAS-Tampa), a site that curses Jews and Christians and calls for waging war against non-Muslims.


To his credit, Jim Davis took Al-Arian’s $200 campaign contribution and donated it to charity, albeit after Al-Arian was taken into custody. [Henry Hyde had done the same with his.] However, it seems that Congressman Davis hasn’t learned from the experience, as he now has accepted a donation from a leader of a group associated with Palestinian terrorist organizations, CAIR.


On September 12, 2005, one day following the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Ahmed Bedier, the Communications Director for CAIR-Florida and the Director of CAIR’s Tampa office, donated $100 to the Jim Davis for Governor Campaign. A listing for the contribution is found on the website of the Florida Department of State Division of Elections.


Being a representative for CAIR is not the only problem with Bedier. Bedier is also the chief spokesperson in the media for Sami Al-Arian and the host of a radio show, True Talk, that regularly denounces the United States government for having close ties to Israel. Furthermore, in December of 2005, on a local television show, “Your Turn with Kathy Fountain,” Bedier stated that, prior to 1995, there was “nothing immoral” about being associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This, while PIJ, before 1995, claimed responsibility for five terror attacks, during which eight innocent people were murdered.


Florida Gubernatorial Candidate, AG Charlie Crist


Charlie Crist is the frontrunner in the Republican race for governor of the state of Florida. Currently, he serves as the Attorney General (AG) of Florida. He has also served as a Florida State Senator and as Florida’s Commissioner of Education. While AG Crist has taken a decidedly different path than his Democratic counterpart, much like Congressman Davis, he has regrettably had his own dealings with CAIR.


On October 31, 2003, CAIR issued a press release stating that, during two separate incidents, happening in the course of three days, “some 20 Muslim middle school students were either removed from or kept from boarding school buses in Jacksonville, Fla.


According to CAIR’s story, with regard to the first incident, which took place on Wednesday the 29th, after school had ended, the students were “kicked off” and “forced off” their bus by the bus driver, some left at the school and some left five miles from their homes. CAIR stated that the students were made to walk home.  One of the Muslim students said that, on the bus, the children were well behaved and quiet. With regard to the second incident, which took place on the morning of the 31st, CAIR claimed the students were not allowed on another bus. CAIR called for the suspensions of both bus drivers.


These accounts differ dramatically from the ones told by the school and the bus company, First Student, who said that the students created “disciplinary problems” and were driven back to school and offered the chance to call their parents but refused and began to walk home. School officials said that administrators and a school police officer followed them and tried to get them to return to school. According to the bus company, the students “disobeyed bus stop rules, misbehaved while on the bus, and were verbally abusive to the driver.” With regard to the second incident, a school spokesperson said the children refused to board the bus in the morning.


Of course, no part of this explanation satisfied CAIR’s need to shout “racism,” as the group held a press converence (led by Ahmed Bedier), threatened a lawsuit, and called for an investigation.  Charlie Crist answered that call, which resulted, as one site put it, in a “Sheikdown.”


CAIR’s November 10, 2003 press release read, “CAIR-FL has also been notified that the office of the Florida Attorney General is initiating an investigation into these complaints.” In January of 2005, while admitting no wrongdoing, the bus company agreed to a settlement, which included the “establishment of new antidiscrimination training policies” and monetary payments of $10,000 to a Communities in Schools Program that “aims to keep children in school” and $26,885 to AG Crist’s office for “attorney’s fees and costs.”  CAIR proudly displayed this information on its website.


Less than five months following the settlement, On May 28, 2005, CAIR-FL held its annual banquet at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The fundraiser asked patrons to help in the establishment of a CAIR office in Orlando, which would make it the third CAIR office in the state of Florida.


While they didn’t show up to the event, numerous high-ranking government officials wrote letters of support to CAIR for its fundraiser. One was from Governor Jeb Bush, one was from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and one was from AG Charlie Crist. Crist’s letter stated, “Thank you for your kind invitation to attend the CAIR Annual Banquet on May 28, 2005. Unfortunately, previous commitments will keep me from joining you.” And it ends, “I extend best wishes for a wonderful event… Sincerely, Charlie Crist.” The letter was addressed to Ahmed Bedier, and AG Crist signed his (Crist’s) name to it.


On February 25, 2006, CAIR held a press conference to announce the opening of its new Orlando office.


Florida Gubernatorial Candidate, CAIR


Last Tuesday, CAIR issued a press release, stating that “American officials should begin talking with the elected representatives of the Palestinian people.” In other words, CAIR was telling the United States that it needs to begin dialogue with Hamas. This happened at the same time the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation imposing broad restrictions on U.S. aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.


The message CAIR was sending was clear; the group stands against the U.S. government and U.S. interests and, instead, stands with terrorists abroad. The more CAIR is legitimized by our legislators and politicians (i.e., accepting campaign donations and writing fundraiser letters), the more our country’s own morals and requirements will become corrupted.


If Congressman Jim Davis and Attorney General Charlie Crist hope to attract support from Americans concerned with terrorism in the November gubernatorial contest, they could respectively hand back the donation, repudiate the letter, and work for the betterment of Florida’s citizens rather than the progress of CAIR's agenda.


* Since 1996, Husain Nagamia has contributed $1,250 to various Jim Davis Congressional campaigns.

** Hakim Aquil is currently a Democratic candidate for Florida State House of Representatives.

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Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch.

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