CAIR comes with a ques­tion­able past

The Calvert Recorder - - Letters To The Editor -

As a share­holder in Pear­son in­vestor Libyan In­vest­ment Author­ity, the Coun­cil on American-Is­lamic Re­la­tions, it could be ar­gued, wields con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence in shap­ing school pol­icy. CAIR has de­manded in­ves­ti­ga­tions of teach­ers, special ac­com­mo­da­tions for Mus­lim stu­dents and the ad­di­tion of Mus­lim holidays to school cal­en­dars. CAIR’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Ni­had Awad, has called on state and lo­cal govern­ments to re­move stat­ues honor­ing Con­fed­er­ate troops.

In two tri­als in 2007 and 2008, an FBI agent traced CAIR’s al­leged ori­gins for a jury to a gath­er­ing of Ha­mas mem­bers in Philadel­phia in Oc­to­ber 1993 (CAIR strongly de­nies this ori­gin story, how­ever). The im­pe­tus for the “Philly con­fer­ence” was re­port­edly a se­cretly recorded phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Shukri Abu Baker, then-pres­i­dent of the Holy Land Foun­da­tion, and Ab­del­haleem al-Ashqar, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of a Ha­mas-linked ed­u­ca­tional fund.

The pre­vi­ous month, Is­raeli For­eign Min­is­ter Shi­mon Peres and an of­fi­cial of the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion signed a “dec­la­ra­tion of prin­ci­ples” on the White House South Lawn. The road to a last­ing peace was be­ing paved.

Tes­ti­mony by FBI agent Lara Burns placed both of CAIR’s lead­ers, Awad (iden­ti­fied in the wire­tap tran­script as “Ni”) and Omar Ah­mad, at the two-day con­fer­ence in Philadel­phia. Ahmed and Awad pre­vi­ously served with Mousa Abu Mar­zook on the Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion of Pales­tine, a front group that grew out of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-funded Pales­tine Com­mit­tee.

In an ex­cerpt from the wire­tap tran­script, Baker (iden­ti­fied as “Sh”) urges the cre­ation of a new group with no ob­vi­ous rad­i­cal ties: “And let’s not hoist a large Is­lamic flag, and let’s not be bar­baric-talk­ing. We will re­main a front so that if the thing hap­pens, we will ben­e­fit from the new hap­pen­ings in­stead of hav­ing all of our or­ga­ni­za­tions clas­si­fied and ex­posed.” (­ves­tiga­tive­pro­­dicted-co-con­spir­a­tor-sta­tus-le­git). Through his ques­tion­ing of Agent Burns, prose­cu­tor Barry Jonas es­tab­lished that CAIR did not ex­ist prior to the ter­ror­ist sum­mit.

Be­fore be­ing added to the Trea­sury De­part­ment’s Des­ig­nated Ter­ror­ist list in 2001 and de­ported, Mar­zook funded the deaths of 47 Is­raelis and funded groups to serve as a front for Ha­mas within the U.S. Tes­ti­mony in the United States vs. Holy Land Foun­da­tion leaves lit­tle doubt CAIR could have been one of them.

Ed­ward C. Daven­port, Drum Point

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