Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – National Headquarters

Clarion Project
Article Source: Clarion Project

Article Source: Clarion Project

The U.S. government labeled CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing the Hamas terrorist group.

CAIR describes itself as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group,” but in 2007, the U.S. government labeled CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing the Hamas terrorist group.

In November 2014 CAIR was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates along with a host of other Muslim Brotherhood entities. 

CAIR was listed among “individuals/entities who are/were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” The Palestine Committee is a secret body set up to advance the Brotherhood/Hamas agenda.

The FBI subsequently severed official contacts with the group, saying it “does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

On July 1, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis upheld  CAIR’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator because of “ample evidence” linking it to Hamas. However, he also ruled that the designation should not have been made public.

In a 2007 court filing in the case of convicted terrorist Sabri Bekhala, federal prosecutors state: “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists … the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”[2]

In 2014, the United Arab Emirates banned CAIR as a terrorist group. [2a]

CAIR grew out of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a group founded in 1981 by Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook. He is now a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip. U.S. Muslim Brotherhood documents clearly identify the IAP as one of its fronts. One 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memorandum says it is engaged in a “Civilization-Jihadist Process.” It states:

“The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

In 1993, the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee organized a secret meeting in Philadelphia that was wiretapped by the FBI. The participants, which included two IAP officials, Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, discussed how to support Hamas and, in the words of Judge Solis’s ruling, “goals, strategies and American perceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Ahmad was recorded discussing how to modify language about destroying Israel for an American audience.

The need to create a new “neutral” entity for influencing U.S. policy and opinion was agreed upon because “it is known who we are.” CAIR was formed by Awad and Ahmad the next year. A 1994 Palestine Committee meeting agenda includes “suggestions to develop work of” CAIR and IAP.

Ahmad served as CAIR chairman until 2005. Nihad Awad remains the Executive Director of CAIR. In 1994, Awad said, “I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.”[3] That same year, he said Hamas is right to “defend themselves against illegal occupation.”[4] In 2004, Al-Jazeera asked him about the U.S. designations of Hamas and Hezbollah as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. He answered, “We do not and will not condemn any liberation movement inside Palestine or Lebanon.”[5] In June 2014, it was revealed that the FBI monitored the emails of Awad from July 2006 to February 2008.[5a]

In a CNN interview in November 2014, Awad denied that CAIR has ever had links to the Muslim Brotherhood but exalted the Islamist movement and falsely claimed it has renounced violence. He said it is “not a terrorist organization” and is “the largest social opposition to the dictatorial regimes.”  [5b]

The group’s events regularly feature Islamists and it closely works with other Brotherhood-linked organizations. Some CAIR officials continue to openly support Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the elimination of the state of Israel. Others are more evasive and condemn “acts of terrorism” but not Hamas and Hezbollah by name. The Clarion Project’s film, The Third Jihad, includes a news clip where current CAIR Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor is seen awkwardly refusing to condemn the two terrorist groups.

CAIR wages an unrelenting campaign to discredit its critics as anti-Muslim bigots.[6] CAIR also attacks its Muslim critics, for example, loudly protesting the appointment of anti-Islamist activist Dr. Zuhdi Jasser to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms because he is a “sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia.”[7]

The CAIR spokesperson who attacked Jasser, Ibrahim Hooper, previously worked for IAP. In 1993, he said, “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”[8] In 2003, Hooper said on the Michael Medved radio show that Sharia Law would replace the U.S. Constitution if Muslims became the majority.[9]

A Gallup poll published in 2011 found that only 12% of Muslim-American males and 11% of females picked CAIR when asked which Muslim-American organization most represents their interests.[10]

In September 2013, it was reported that CAIR is violating the Internal Revenue Service laws and Foreign Agent Registration Act by hiding foreign donors. The report claimed that CAIR has “engaged in more than 100 political influence operations on behalf of foreign principals in the United States.”[11]

In September 2014, Awad and CAIR endorsed a letter opposing the Islamic State terrorist group’s tactics, but endorsed Sharia governance’s brutal hudud punishments, the recreation of a caliphate and the Islamist doctrine of gradualism. It even implied that journalists that are viewed as dishonest as acceptable targets for violence.[12]


[1] Address as of January 1, 2013, as listed on CAIR website’s “Contact” page: https://www.cair.com/Contact.aspx

[2] U.S. v. Sabri Benkahla, No. 07-4778, Brief for the United States, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, On Appeal From U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Virginia. https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/542.pdf

[2a] www.clarionproject.org/analysis/united-arab-emirates-ban-cair-other-us-brotherhood-groups

[3] The statement was made at Barry University on March 22, 1994. The Investigative Project on Terrorism has recording of it at: https://www.investigativeproject.org/223/cairs-awad-in-support-of-the-hamas-movement

[4] Stated on  CBS’s “60 Minutes” on CBS on November 13, 1994, as documented by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “Apologists or Extremists: Nihad Awad,” https://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/113.

[5] Al-Jazeera interview with Talal al-Haj. Translated by the Translating Jihad blog, “CAIR’s Nihad Awad Refuses to Condemn Hamas,” January 24, 2011, https://www.translatingjihad.com/2011/01/cairs-nihad-awad-refuses-to-condemn.html.

[5a] Greenwald, Glenn and Murtaza Hussain. “Meet the Muslim American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On,” The Intercept, July 9, 2014. https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/07/09/under-surveillance/

[5b] “Video: CAIR Director Slams ‘Shocking’ UAE Move During CNN Interview,” I Hooper YouTube channel, November 18, 2014.https://youtu.be/xQwCBXN3oQc

[6] See “Anatomy of a Smear: ‘The Third Jihad’ Fights Back” by Wayne Kopping, posted on YouTube on February 13, 2012: https://youtu.be/fdBTuUH5AAA

[7] Markoe, Lauren. “Muslims Call New Religious Freedom Appointee a ‘Puppet’ for Islam Foes,” Religion News Service, March 27, 2012. https://archives.religionnews.com/culture/social-issues/conservatives-appointed-to-religious-freedom-panel

[8] Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Apr. 4, 1993. As reported in, “CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment” by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, the Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2006, pp.3-20, https://www.meforum.org/916/cair-islamists-fooling-the-establishment

[9] Pipes and Chadha, referencing personal communication with Medved in 2004.

[10] Gallup Nightly Poll from January 1, 2008 to April 9, 2011.  https://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/153611/REPORT-Muslim-Americans-Faith-Freedom-Future.aspx

[11]Johnson, Charles C. “CAIR Gets Millions From Foreign Donors Thanks to Non-Profit Shell Game,” Daily Caller, September 21, 2013. https://www.dailycaller.com/2013/09/21/cair-collects-millions-from-foreign-donors-thanks-to-non-profit-shell-game

[12]Mauro, Ryan. “Muslim Leaders Sign Letter Against ISIS, But Endorse Sharia.” Clarion Project, October 1, 2014. https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/muslim-leaders-sign-letter-against-isis-endorse-sharia