The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is blasting President Obama for the comments he made about the Middle East in his State of the Union speech. By criticizing Obama’s pledge to support Israel as a Jewish state, CAIR indirectly expressed its support for the elimination of the democratic U.S. ally.
“American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side,” said President Obama.
Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director of CAIR, responded by calling the statement a “very negative precedent.” He compared the identification of Israel as a Jewish to apartheid South Africa.
The opposition to Israel’s status as a Jewish state is a carefully-worded way of opposing Israel’s existence. This manipulative use of semantics was one of CAIR’s foundational purposes.
In 1993, the FBI wiretapped a secret meeting of Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas operatives in Philadelphia. The get-together led to the founding of CAIR the next year by two of the present leaders. The discussion focused on creating a new organization with a clean track record that could present a message more palatable to an American audience.
Omar Ahmad, one of CAIR’s later founders and former board chairman and Nihad Awad, CAIR’s current executive director, discussed how to handle the posing of a question about whether they want to destroy Israel.
“There is a difference between you saying ’I want to restore the '48 land’ and when you say ‘I want to destroy Israel,’” Ahmad said.
In another exchange on the topic, someone said to Ahmad, “We don’t say that publicly. You cannot say that publicly, in front of Americans.” He concurred, replying, “We didn’t say that to the Americans.”
CAIR also expressed its disappointment with President Obama on the topic of National Security Agency intelligence-gathering. CAIR accuses the NSA of "cultivating Islamophobia" and says Congress should “restore the privacy rights of all citizens.”
The organization has helped spread exaggerated impressions of NSA operations and even sued the NSA alongside a Unitarian church. In October, it helped put together an interfaith coalition to protest the NSA. The Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro debated one of the organizers of the protest on Chinese television.
Another issue CAIR criticized President Obama for was the use of drones to eliminate terrorists. President Obama said he would scale back the usage of the weapon overseas to minimize anti-American sentiment.
CAIR is asking President Obama to address “the drone program’s lack of public accountability and transparency, claims of executive overreach, possible lack of due process in lethally targeting American citizens, and the high number of civilian casualties that have resulted from these attacks.”
Drone strikes are precise and the projected civilian casualty toll is always taken into account when launching them. There is no proof to the contrary. CAIR uses the relative term of “high number” to reinforce the impression that the U.S. government is essentially massacring civilians.
CAIR is also referring to the controversial drone strike that killed American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who joined Al-Qaeda and became a senior leader involved in planning operations against the U.S.. CAIR feels that the U.S. should have captured him and put him on trial and that his death is a violation of due process.
If the U.S. could have captured al-Awlaki, it would have—but he was hiding in Yemen and on the move. The killing of al-Awlaki, an American citizen, is no different than the killing of a bank robber or school shooter that is an American citizen. CAIR doesn’t tell that side because it would rather that its audience see the U.S. government as an out-of-control tyrant with an anti-Muslim agenda.
CAIR’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union raises a separate but related point. The organization references the congressional testimony of its government affairs manager about drones in May 2013.
CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history. The federal government labeled it a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The FBI’s official policy bans personnel from using CAIR as an outreach partner because of its links to Hamas and other Islamist radicals.
So why is CAIR being used for congressional testimony on counter-terrorism operations? How can CAIR, which was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in terror funding, be invited to educate the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights?
CAIR’s deception-laced political influence operation was never aimed at the Left, Center or Right. This is not a partisan issue. The Islamists have friends and adversaries in each party.
Those concerned about Islamism must fight efforts to frame it as a Left/Right issue. If that is how it is viewed, then CAIR and its allies will know it can always count on one side to reflexively support it like a good teammate.
Liberals, conservatives and libertarians all have plenty of reasons to oppose Islamism and its apologists in the U.S. With the proper information, this can be a uniting issue.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.