CAIR comes with a questionable past
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.” (www.investigativeproject.org/1854/doj-cairs-unindicted-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