On Wednesday, January 18, I received an e-mail from someone identifying himself as “Ahmed.” He wrote to me that he was a “Muslim activist” and that he wanted me to come on his radio show to discuss my work, or, in his words, “to give [my] side of the story.” In doing a simple web search on his e-mail address, it turned out that this individual was none other than the Director of Communications for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ahmed Rehab.
While I didn’t know his motives in contacting me, I had recalled when another leader from CAIR, Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, had sent me an e-mail less than a year before his pleading guilty to terrorism charges. In my discussions with Royer, I had gotten much out of him, including his feelings on such Islamist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Muslim American Society (MAS) and CAIR – the latter two, organizations he had found employment with.
This being the case, I took the rare opportunity to pick Rehab’s brain with a series of relevant questions, and like Royer before him, the revelations I received from Mr. Rehab were major – the biggest one being a confirmation that the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) was no longer in existence.
I replied to Rehab’s e-mail with the following: “Ahmed, I understand that you are involved with CAIR. Were you ever involved with the IAP? I ask because both have a presence in Chicago, and both are closely related, CAIR being a group founded by the IAP (Rafiq Jaber and Nihad Awad). Oh, and do you see Rafiq at all? Maybe at the Mosque Foundation? Thanks. Joe”
My questions were perfectly legitimate. After all, CAIR was founded through the IAP; the IAP’s headquarters was in Chicago; and Rehab was part of the Chicago office of CAIR. In addition, Rafiq Jaber, apart from being a co-founder of CAIR and the President of the IAP, was also a board member and former President of the Mosque Foundation, a Hamas-linked center located in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview. The interrelated nature of all of these institutions led me to seek answers.
However, Rehab did not want to respond to any of my questions. Instead, he attempted to change the subject and redirect our discussion towards me. I was persistent, though, and on his fifth e-mail, he dropped a bomb (not literally). He answered one of the questions and, with it, told me something that I was not looking for, but it was something huge nonetheless. Rehab stated, “No, as it happens I have never been involved with the IAP. I am in my twenties and was not into the activist scene during the time this organization was around.”
The End of the IAP
The Islamic Association for Palestine was incorporated in Chicago, in November of 1981. The name listed as the registered agent on the group’s incorporation papers is Aly A. Mishal. Mishal was active during the IAP’s beginnings, along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, who developed the IAP’s magazine Tareeq Filistine (Road to Palestine), and Mousa Abu Marzook, the IAP’s founder and Deputy Political Bureau Chief of Hamas.
In the early 90’s, a young group of Muslim activists had assumed leadership of the IAP, which at this point also went by the name American Muslim Society. In June of 1994, the organization took a dramatic turn, when it created a splinter group called CAIR. Concerning the three founders of CAIR: the President of the IAP, Omar Ahmad, became CAIR’s Chairman of the Board; the IAP Public Relations Director, Nihad Awad, became CAIR’s Executive Director; and the IAP’s Rafiq Jaber took over as IAP President.
According to those involved, CAIR was created as a “civil liberties” group, so while the IAP was praising Hamas attacks via its magazines and videos, CAIR was defending the civil liberties of terrorists, such as the spiritual leader of the ’93 bombing of the World Trade Center, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and Marzook, who would soon be deported from the United States. The two groups worked well together, in that they complimented each other, but apparently that relationship is no more, as after 24 years in existence, according to Rehab, the IAP is no more. Could this be possible?
I knew that, in December of 2004, the IAP (and others) were found liable for $156 million in the murder of an American teenager, David Boim, during a Hamas terror operation. I also knew that the IAP’s website was taken down, within a few months after the verdict was rendered. But never did I see any mention of the IAP being terminated. I was of the understanding that the IAP was going to appeal the court’s decision. Indeed, a report of a future appeal is found right on CAIR-Chicago’s website.
Regardless of any of this, I have no reason to second guess Mr. Rehab’s knowledge of the IAP’s demise, because while he had refused to answer whether or not he sees the IAP’s (ex)leader, Rafiq Jaber, it seems Jaber has been a guest on Rehab’s radio station. In fact, he had been a guest on Rehab’s show!
On January 8, 2005, Rehab’s WVON Radio Islam show featured three guests: Ali Abunimah (co-founder of Electronic Intifada), Fadi Farhan (Government Affairs Director for CAIR-Chicago), and Rafiq Jaber. The topic was the upcoming Palestinian elections.
During the show, Jaber’s extremist opinions came through loud and clear. He called Mahmood Abbas “a failure,” and in a foreboding move that has only been realized today, he stated, “The only opposition that could give [Abbas] a run for his money… the only ones that could do that are the Islamist movement there, which is Hamas and Jihad.”
When asked about whether he was for a one state solution or two states (Israel and Palestine), Jaber made his true intentions known to all. He said, “Well, I think the two state solution… is really just a farce…” [CAIR’s Fadhi Farhan also chimed in, “One state solution is actually, in the long term, the only way it’s going to work, whether it be through war, whether it be through some sort of peaceful resolution of this particular conflict.”]
And Jaber raised anti-Semitic canards of old – ‘Jewish control over the media and government.’ He stated, “…the Zionists and the Jewish people, here in this country, they are [sic] big businesses and the advertisers, and so that’s one factor of it… The second part of it, of course, there is distortion of all the facts, that about Palestine, from not just the media, also from the government. The government here, which is the political leaders of our country here, [sic] that they lean also toward who is giving them the money and who is voting for them. Again, we see the Jewish people and the Jewish money and the Jewish lobby here.”
Rehab agreed: “It’s been made politically incorrect to make such statements, but I think, if you’re putting it in the context of the question (‘Why is it that you think that this media is very skewed to the Israeli side of the conflict?’), which I think is a very valid question, I think it definitely has to be made.”
This wasn’t the first time that Ahmed Rehab toyed with the subject of ‘Jewish dominance.’ In his piece entitled, “‘Double Standardism’: The Case of the Two Books” – a rant against author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie – Rehab openly complains about the American media’s criticisms against books that question the validity of the Holocaust. In the article, Rehab attributes this to “Jewish control over the media.” He further writes, “The Muslims protesting ‘Satanic verses’ were given little credibility as they were seen as being biased for their religion. On the other hand the Jews and the Jewish subjects were not seen as such but rather as credible professionals…” He then points to an American journalist’s Jewishness as being the reason for his bias. Rehab writes, “…he is of course Jewish…”
In a follow-up article, “‘Double Standardism’: The Case of the Two Films,” Rehab ridicules Hollywood for having what he considers to be a pro-Jewish slant. He states, “…the movies exploiting the Arabs and Muslims are ‘a bold and uncompromising look behind the closed doors of a hidden world’… On the other hand, a movie which glorifies the other Semites, the Jews, is a ‘great American classic’, ‘an untimely epic’, ‘a movie-making masterpiece’, and ‘an all-time family favorite’, well whoop-di-di-doo.” Rehab calls the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) a “big mouth organization.” He ends the piece by railing against Jewish filmmakers. He writes, “…the history of the Jewish film producers in particular have shown that they predate on weak minorities by default.”
Rehab, like CAIR, the IAP and Hamas before them, was influenced by the violently anti-Jewish and anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood. On his personal website, he denotes the founder of the MB, Hassan Al Banna, as a “Contemporary Muslim Individual who influenced me.” He also lauds two Muslim Brothers, who just happen to be brothers. He calls Muhamad Qutb one of his “Favorite Writers / Thinkers” and Sayyid Qutb, his “Favorite Modern Personality.” In Sayyid Qutub’s famous work, Milestones, Qutub states, “Even the Western world realizes that Western civilization is unable to present any healthy values for the guidance of mankind… It is essential for mankind to have a new leadership... Islam is the only system which possesses these values and this way of life.”
Rehab, it seems, took the Brotherhood philosophy to heart. Further evidence of this is shown in how he describes Harry S. Truman, on his website, as being one of the “Worst Presidents.” A reason for this was because, in Rehab’s words, President Truman was the “first to recognize Israel unjustly & unjustifiably.” He ridicules President Truman as “Harry S. Falseman.”
One would wonder if Rehab would feel the same about President Bush, now that he has stated that America will not recognize Hamas, until the group rejects violence and renounces its intentions of destroying Israel.
On February 4, 2006, CAIR-Chicago’s 2nd annual confab will be taking place at the Sabre Room, in Hickory Hills, Illinois. The keynote speaker at the event will be Sulayman S. Nyang, a former board member of CAIR and a professor of African Studies at Howard University. Also speaking at the event will be CAIR co-founder and Executive Director, Nihad Awad.
Shortly before he ended his tenure with the IAP, in March of 1994, Awad stated, in front of a university audience, “After I researched the situation inside and outside Palestine, I am in support of the Hamas movement…”
In Ahmed Rehab’s exchanges with me, he described his group’s founders as “concerned American citizens who wish to project an accurate and fair image of Islam and Muslims.”
But if that’s true, why is the organization that laid the foundation for CAIR gone? To Rehab, that was probably the outcome of some far flung Jewish conspiracy. In reality, though, the group had been the product of a terrorist action network called Hamas, the same organization that his group’s leader says he supports.
With all of this in mind, one has to ask if this a hint of things to come? If the IAP is gone, could CAIR very well be next?
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