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CAIR's Looney Toons By: Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, February 21, 2006

All across the Muslim universe, otherwise known as Allahstan, a war is being waged to stifle the free speech of those in the modern and civilized world.  Over the publishing of twelve cartoons, madmen are torching buildings, burning and tearing up national symbols, and threatening the mass murder of innocent human beings.  All of this, of course, is foreign to us here in the U.S., as we have come to enjoy – and many times have taken for granted – an unrestrained press.  But one American group in particular, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), has had much past experience in what has come to be known as the “Cartoon Jihad.”  Unfortunately, this group has, for far too long, been on the wrong side of the animated tracks.

CAIR has been in operation since mid-1994, when three individuals from a Hamas-related advocacy organization received $5000 from a Hamas-related charity to start up a Hamas-related civil liberties group.  Indeed, the group’s pedigree is derived from none other than the person who is today the second in command of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook.


Knowing all of this, one can easily come to the conclusion that the members of CAIR would have taken the first plane out to Gaza City to help their militant friends raid the European Union Headquarters and threaten Denmark and Norway with death and destruction, but that just has not been the case.  While CAIR is widely known as an Islamist organization, its leaders walk around in fancy three-piece suits – no doubt paid for with some handsome Saudi dowries.  And while the CAIR women are confined to hijabs and jilbabs, they do hold some decent level positions within the organization.


CAIR puts on this progressive-minded face, but things aren’t as rosy as they seem, and appearances have been more than deceptive.  Since CAIR began, the group has lost a civil rights coordinator, a fundraiser, the co-founder of its Texas chapter, and its director of community relations, all to conviction or deportation.


Most common-sense thinking people would see something like this and run the other way, but many in the media – out of fear of offending Muslim sensibilities and fear for their own livelihoods – embrace the group, often adopting its agenda.  CAIR has fed off this fear and has grown because of it.


One of the ways CAIR takes advantage of this situation is by threatening the advertising dollars of media outlets.  In the case of WMAL radio talk show host Michael Graham, who unabashedly stated his opinions about the religion of Islam, CAIR wrote in an “action alert” that it “initiated a public campaign against WMAL and the station's advertisers after receiving complaints from listeners who heard Graham make those anti-Islam remarks.”  It seems CAIR got its way, because Graham was eventually fired.  In this same alert, CAIR published a huge list of WMAL’s advertisers, urging its followers to contact them, in response to remarks made by Graham’s successor.


CAIR has used similar strong-arm tactics against other talk show hosts, newspaper columnists, religious personalities and government officials.  And as a precursor to the recent riots in the Middle East, CAIR has gone after cartoonists as well.


The original “Cartoon Jihad” started in December of 2002, when CAIR took action against a cartoon placed on the website of the Tallahassee Democrat.  The drawing was of a Middle Eastern looking man behind the wheel of a Ryder truck with a fairly large nuclear bomb sticking out of it.  The caption on the piece read, “What Would Mohammed Drive?”  CAIR, along with the Muslim World League, a group that has been linked to al-Qaeda, demanded an apology.  CAIR, from its website, broadcast the e-mail addresses of Doug Marlette, the cartoonist, and his employer, which resulted in more than 20,000 e-mails, including numerous threats.  The cartoon never ran in the newspaper, and it was pulled from the website.


In November of 2003, CAIR responded to another cartoon controversy, which dealt with a ‘B.C.’ comic strip appearing in over 1200 newspapers worldwide.  In it, cartoonist Johnny Hart depicts a caveman entering an outhouse at night, and then asking, while inside, “Is it just me, or does it stink in here?”  The comic, which came out during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, is laden with crescent moons, and prior to the character getting into the outhouse, the word “SLAM” (as in the closing of a door) shows up in bold with its letters stacked vertically, in the shape of an “I.”  CAIR sent out a dispatch to its e-mail list, while demanding an apology, calling the comic a “cryptic” slur against the Islamic faith.


Today, although CAIR has taken a backseat in the cartoon war to crazed mobs overseas, nonetheless, the group has gotten much play over the issue.  CAIR’s friends in the media are jumping to get its take on the matter.  CAIR has even launched a “Mohammed Campaign” to educate the populace on the “life and legacy of Islam’s Prophet.”


In an article in the Miami Herald about the Mohammed cartoon craze, Altaf Ali, the Executive Director of CAIR-Florida, admits that Mohammed is “more dear” to him than his parents or his children.  He states, “We are taught that we do not truly believe, unless we love the prophet more than we love ourselves, our families or others.”


Ali made the statement less than a month after writing an editorial entitled, “Let’s seek the common ground of faith.”  The piece was placed in two on-line dailies.  One was TC Palm, a publication serving Florida’s Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches.  The other: Al Jazeerah Peace Information Center, a website – unrelated to the Al Jazeera television network – that lauds Hamas and its leaders.


On February 8th, just a day after Ali’s Miami Herald quotation, the Al Jazeerah Peace Information Center published its own set of offensive cartoons, except these were aimed at Jews.  One depicts a Dane holding a newspaper up and stabbing a Muslim with a pen, while an American fighter jet fires a missile into the chest of an Iraqi.  The side of the jet reads, “U.S.A.,” but the “A” is shaped like a Star of David (Jewish Star).  The caption reads, “The West spreading its democracy among Muslims!”


Another of the cartoons shows an Israeli flag with a stretched Star of David draped over a globe of the world, as a smiling American and a dumbfounded Saudi look up at it.  The caption reads, “2006 … The Year of Total Israeli World Domination.”  When the cartoons came out, they were placed on the daily’s homepage, along with a color picture of the deceased spiritual leader and founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (which is still on the homepage).


Nihad Awad, a self-described Hamas supporter and the Executive Director of the national office of CAIR, stated about the cartoon controversy: “People of all faiths in the West and in the Muslim world should look for ways to turn this troubling episode into a positive learning experience.”  He then cited a quotation found in Book 34 of the Hadith Sahih Bukhari, “You (Prophet Mohammed) do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.”


Awad was selectively quoting from a horrifically anti-Jewish text.  Also found in book 34, shortly after Awad’s citation, is the quotation, “Allah’s Apostle (Prophet Mohammed) further said, ‘May Allah curse the Jews, for Allah made the fat (of animals) illegal for them yet they melted the fat and sold it and ate its price.’”


These quotations and the anti-Semitic cartoons represent an evil double standard in the Islamic world:  That it’s perfectly okay to publish materials that are hateful towards non-Muslims, but when it comes to hurting Muslim sensibilities, protests and riots ensue. 

If CAIR and the rioters get their way, we will lose our right to free expression.  And if Free Speech disappears, we who grasp to this most American of values will vanish ourselves.

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

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