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Telephoning the Enemy By: Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The Council on American-Islamic Relations, North America’s leading Islamist organization, enjoyed a seeming endorsement last week when it hosted the FBI on a television show. But if America’s top law enforcement agency and many others in the American establishment are clueless about CAIR’s sympathy for the enemy, others appear better to understand this problem – like the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS).

A bit of background on GETS: In times of extreme telecommunications congestion, such as a national emergency, it offers a calling card that permits persons “responsible for the command and control functions critical to management of and response to national security and emergency situations,” such as members of Congress and law enforcement and military personnel to benefit from priority status when making telephone calls. Additionally, private organizations with roles to play responding to national emergencies can get the cards.

CAIR, which claims to enjoy a “status of enviable prestige within [the] highest echelons” of the Washington establishment, predictably figured it too deserves priority in times of emergency, so this month it applied for GETS status, claiming to serve as a major point of contact with Muslims post-9/11.

Its request was denied in less than three hours.

GETS reportedly turned CAIR down because it did not qualify for this status, but it would have been on solid ground denying the request because of CAIR’s telephonic connections to persons suspected of links to terrorists, as CAIR has helpfully detailed in its own court filings.

More background: CAIR submitted those documents in January 2006 as part of a lawsuit it co-filed claiming that its international telephone calls had likely been listened to by the National Security Agency under an allegedly unconstitutional program President Bush authorized in 2002 enabling the NSA to eavesdrop without warrants on enemy communications during wartime.

In the lawsuit, CAIR documents some of its electronic communications with persons accused of links to terrorists. Specifically, it mentions four names:

· Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss Islamist who, as he was about to assume a position at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2004, had his U.S. visa revoked under what a Department of Homeland Security spokesman at the time said was a law banning aliens who have endorsed or espoused terrorist activity from entering the country. Though recently filed papers contradict this initial assertion, a senior DHS official told one of us back then, “the evidence we have [against him] is damning.” It is also noteworthy that Ramadan had previously been held denied access at an international border. The French authorities kept him out of France in 1995, suspecting him of being linked to Algerian terrorists then bombing Paris.

· Yusuf Islam, the convert to Islam formerly known as the singer Cat Stevens, who was removed from a flight bound to the United States in September 2004 and returned to Britain after American authorities noted his name on a “no fly” list. According to DHS spokesman Brian Doyle, Islam’s name was added to the list because of “activities that could be potentially linked to terrorism.” Earlier, Israel’s authorities twice barred Islam from entering their country, accusing him of having funded Hamas, the Islamist organization that has repeatedly pounded Israel with terrorist attacks.

· Rabih Haddad, the CAIR fundraiser who co-founded the Global Relief Foundation, a Muslim charity the U.S. government designated as a sponsor of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in 2002, then shut down.

· Islam Almurabit, former head of the Islamic Assembly of North America, now living in Saudi Arabia, who, in the words of CAIR’s complaint, is trying to evade “continual harassment by the FBI.” That “continual harassment” is likely related to Almurabit’s IANA activities, or what federal prosecutors described as the organization’s “recruitment of members, and the instigation of acts of violence and terrorism” in the service of its “radical Islamic ideology.” Specifically, the IANA hosted a well-known senior Al-Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Al-Dosari, and distributed publications advocating suicide terrorism against the United States.

By its own court filings, then, CAIR conclusively established its multiple communications with persons suspected of connections with terrorists. More than merely deny CAIR’s request for GETS privileges, the U.S. government should consider cutting the organization’s telephone lines in the event of a national emergency.

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Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum; Sharon Chadha (sharon.chadha@verizon.net) is the co-author of Middle East Politics (forthcoming).


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