Minnesota law enforcement was trained by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, along with other Muslim groups on September 24. The day-long seminar took place even though official Justice Department and FBI policy bans the use of CAIR as an outreach partner.
The Justice Department says that CAIR is an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, specifically its Palestine Committee that was set up to support Hamas. CAIR was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity named the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas.
A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood strategic memo states that its entities are engaged in â€œa kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from withinâ€ and advancement of the Islamist political cause in America. A 1994 Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee meeting agenda organizes a discussion to â€œfuture suggestions to develop the work ofâ€ CAIR.
The Minnesota chapter of CAIR is known to have used Hamas-linked individuals for fundraising. Its 2012 fundraiser had Hussein Khatib as the Master of Ceremonies.
Khatib was a regional director for the Holy Land Foundation, whose leadership was found guilty of financing Hamas. The Justice Department designated him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial and listed him as an individual who belonged to the Hamas social infrastructure in the Palestinian Territories and Israel.
Khatib is also on the national board of American Muslims for Palestine, a group with a history of pro-Hamas advocacy and links to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Its events feature Islamist radicals who have supported violent jihad.
In 2009, the FBI stopped using CAIR as an outreach partner to â€œensure that the FBI is not supporting individuals who support extremist or terrorist ideologies.â€ It cited evidence linking CAIR to Hamas in making the decision.
FBI field offices were ordered in July 2008 to begin â€œrefraining from participating in any CAIR-sponsored events, avoiding being photographed with leaders of CAIR, and not engaging with CAIR in events such as fundraisers.â€
Minnesota law enforcement ignored the judgments of the FBI, Justice Department and countless counter-terrorism experts in partnering with CAIR.
The seminar was announced in a press release by the Minnesota chapter of CAIR. The central focus was on engagement of the Somali community that has received a lot of attention because dozens of Somalis in the Minneapolis area have joined Al-Qaedaâ€™s branch in Somalia and the Islamic State.
The press releaseâ€™s contact is CAIR-MNâ€™s â€œCountering Islamophobia Coordinatorâ€ Amber Michel. CAIR uses terms and phrases like â€œIslamophobia,â€ â€œIslamophobeâ€ and â€œanti-Muslim bigotâ€ to attack its opponents, including rival Muslims. The objective is to marginalize those that criticize the Islamist ideology.
Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali Muslim activist in Minnesota whose nephew died after joining Al-Qaeda in Somalia, is aggressively combating radicalization in his community. He was not included in the seminar. CAIR has demonized Bihi and a Somali colleague of his because he has criticized CAIR and local Muslim leaders for their inaction on this issue and for inhibiting FBI investigations.
In June 2009, Bihi and 50 other local Somalis protested CAIR-MN and accused the group of â€œdoublespeak.â€
â€œThey say that I am a bad person, that I am anti-Muslim, and that I donâ€™t represent a hundred percent the Somali community,â€ Bihi says.
The law enforcement seminar also included the Abubakar as-Saddique mosque. Multiple attendees of the mosque joined Al-Qaedaâ€™s affiliate in Somalia, Al-Shabaab. The first American suicide bomber, Shirwa Ahmed, went to the mosque.
One mosque attendee, Cabdulaahi Faarax, was an Al-Shabaab recruiter who held teleconferences with the terrorist group from the mosque. Another Al-Shabaab member who committed a suicide bombing, Faraah Beledi, was a volunteer and speaker at the mosque.
A former member of an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia says he came to Minnesota after abandoning the cause and was shocked when one of his sons began being radicalized at the mosque.
His son started questioning whether the U.S. is an enemy and the former jihadi learned that the mosque was hosting lectures via satellite from a radical cleric in Kenya named Sharif Mohamed Umal that his son attended.
FOX 9 News substantiated his story by viewing an IPod from another Somali-American teenager that attended the mosque and left to join Al-Qaedaâ€™s branch in Somalia. The device included a lecture by Umal. Bihi said that Umal was â€œlaying down the bricks of radicalization.â€
The former jihadi pulled his sons from the mosque. He said the mosque is trying to â€œradicalize young people without being responsible and not leaving any paper trail.â€
According to Bihi, the Abubaker as-Saddique mosque has made recent efforts to push back against support for Al-Shabaab. He says that the mosque leadership previously lambasted those that warned of the problem, spread fear of the FBI and pressured relatives of Al-Shabaab recruits against speaking out.
Minnesota law enforcement needs to recognize that Islamism is the basis of the radicalization problem.
CAIR and the Abubaker as-Saddique mosque can condemn Al-Shabaab and offer themselves as liaisons to the Somali community, but their Islamist ideology is the basis of the radicalization problem.
The Muslim community doesnâ€™t need to be reached through Islamists. The American Islamist groups are not representative of the majority of Muslim-Americans. Any dialogue must have representation from Muslims who stand against Islamism and these groups.
The FBI has banned its field offices from using CAIR as a liaison partner. Minnesota law enforcement should follow the FBIâ€™s lead.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.orgâ€™s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.