Dr. Ben Carson has become the second Republican presidential candidate to call for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and the third to call for action against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR has been identified by the U.S. Justice Department as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's pro-Hamas network. CAIR has also been banned as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates (a Muslim country).
Read Clarion Project's fully-documented profile of CAIR's extremist background here.
Carson just announced his 7-point counter-terrorism strategy, of which the final point reads, "The Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations that propagate or support Islamic terrorism as terrorist organizations and fully investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism."
During this week's national security debate, Carson mentioned a secret 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood strategy memo that listed a network of its fronts inside America, including CAIR's predecessor (the Islamic Association for Palestine). The memo defined the Brotherhood’s "work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within." Carson warned that the Brotherhood memo said they'd use political correctness to further their Islamist agenda.
In October, Carson called on the IRS to revoke CAIR’s tax-exempt status after its "brazenly violated" the government’s 501(c)(3) non-profit regulations by formally demanding that Carson end his presidential campaign. CAIR made the declaration after Carson said he would not support a Muslim candidate for president, which he later qualified as saying he was only referring to Muslims that follow sharia law.
Carson issued a statement that accurately pointed out:
"This is not the first time that CAIR has disrespected U.S. laws or America. It has previously lost its tax-exempt status by failing to file federal taxes three years in a row. It had also been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to funnel money to Hamas, a terrorist organization."
The IRS website says that organizations that have non-profit status can inform the public about candidates and their policies, but they are prohibited from explicitly endorsing or opposing a candidate. It states (with my emphasis):
" Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes."
CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad, who has previously expressed his support for Hamas, responded to Carson in TIME Magazine by describing CAIR as a democratic and diverse civil liberties organization. He pointed to CAIR's endorsement of a letter against the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS/ISIL) but, of course, left out the fact that the letter endorses rebuilding the caliphate, jihad against perceived occupiers and sharia governance.
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper insulted Carson as a "failing candidate grasping at straws and seeking payback for CAIR's previous criticism of his anti-Muslim bigotry."
Dr. Carson is currently in fourth place nationally in an average of polls (12%). He is in fourth place in Iowa (12%), seventh place in New Hampshire (7%) and 2nd place in South Carolina (17%); the first three states to vote in the presidential nominating process.
Rival Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz introduced legislation last month that, if passed, would have Congress formally request the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department. The legislation outlines CAIR's links to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's fundraising network for Hamas. Cruz also described the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization" during this week's debate.
The third GOP presidential candidate to state that he'd take on CAIR is George Pataki, who served as governor of New York during the Islamist terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Pataki told the Clarion Project in June that he would strip CAIR of its tax-exempt status as part of a policy of punishing non-profits who promote terrorist organizations or jihad against Americans. Pataki has not taken a position on designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. He is currently registering less than one percent in the GOP nomination campaign.
You can read the Clarion Project's factsheets on each presidential candidate's positions related to Islamist extremism here.
Watch Clarion Project's Prof. Ryan Mauro debate a CAIR leader on Newsmax television below on whether or not CAIR is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood: