CAIR Books Radicals for Fundraising Banquets

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is using Islamist radicals to raise money throughout the country, according to a Clarion Project review of their fundraising banquets. CAIR calls itself “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group,” but has been labeled a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity by the federal government and attacks the integrity of its moderate Muslim rivals.

The Cincinatti and Columbus, OH chapters of CAIR turned to Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a cleric with indisputable credentials as a radical Islamist, for their fundraisers. He has been recorded saying “America is the most wicked government on the face of the planet Earth” and “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

In 1995, Wahhaj was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Commenting afterwards in a sermon,  Wahhaj said, “I’m not frightened by no list, by no government! I thank Allah. I’m honored that they thought enough of me to put me on a list.”

The Chicago chapter of CAIR had some fundraising help from keynote speaker Zaid Shakir, Safaa Zarzour and Kifah Mustafa.

Shakir’s radicalism has been documented in detail by the Clarion Project. This includes preaching that Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon was not a terrorist attack, justifying attacks on U.S. soldiers and expressing a hope to see America governed by Sharia law.  Safaa Zarzour has served as the Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America, another unindicted co-conspirator labeled as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

Kifah Mustapha is designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. He is listed among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” The Palestine Committee was set up by the Brotherhood to support Hamas in the U.S. Mustapha’s mosque has extensive links to the Brotherhood and he sang in a band that performed pro-Hamas songs.

Remarkably, 56 public officials in Illinois endorsed CAIR-Chicago for the event, including Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

The Minnesota chapter of CAIR’s fundraiser did not feature any prominent radicals as speakers, unlike last year when Kifah Mustapha was booked. Despite CAIR’s well-documented Islamist background, Rep. Keith Ellison and Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at its banquet.

Noticeably absent as a sponsor was Best Buy. Last year, The Clarion Project initiated a petition (signed by 12,000 people) that called for a boycott of Best Buy until they agreed to stop its donations to CAIR-Minnesota. However, this year's sponsors include Walmart, the University of Minnesota Law School and the Hamline University School of Law. They were joined by American Muslims for Palestine, an Islamist group, and the Muslim American Society, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

The Michigan chapter of CAIR was helped by Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. There is video of him saying that homosexuals are cursed. The Clarion Project has also documented his mosque’s extremism time and time again, including strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Oklahoma chapter of CAIR enlisted the services of Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the Outreach Director of the radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia. In 2001, he spoke for the Islamic Association for Palestine, a pro-Hamas Muslim Brotherhood front, and said attacks on Israeli infrastructure are justified. The imam of his mosque recently endorsed armed jihad. Abdul-Halik is also the former chair of Government Relations for the Muslim Alliance in North America, led by Siraj Wahhaj.

The Cleveland, OH chapter of CAIR’s fundraiser featured Hassan Shibly of CAIR-Tampa. He said that Hezbollah is not a terrorist group and his Facebook page promoted the idea that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks and that the U.S. was secretly orchestrating sectarian violence in Iraq. He seemed to justify attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq and praised a Jewish group that supports Ahmadinejad and Israel’s elimination.

The New York chapter of CAIR had Basim Elkarra of CAIR-Sacramento as a speaker. He has suggested that “Islamophobes” be prosecuted just like Holocaust deniers and he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in 2007. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer gave Elkarra a “certificate of accomplishment” in 2006 and then rescinded it after learning of CAIR’s background.

CAIR-NY’s event presented the Interfaith Center of New York with an award for their alliance. Fellow recipients included the Muslim American Society, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and the Islamic Circle of North America, also listed as a front in a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo.

The Dallas-Forth Worth, TX chapter of CAIR’s banquet featured CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and Imam Omar Shahin.

Awad took part in a secret Muslim Brotherhood meeting in 1993 that was wiretapped by the FBI where deception was discussed as a primary tactic. In 1994, he said that he supports the Hamas terrorist group over the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In 2004, he would not condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, instead calling them “liberation movements.”

Imam Shahin leads the Islamic Center of Tucson, the home of “basically the first cell of al Qaeda in the United States.” The mosque has extensive links to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Shahin believes 9/11 conspiracy theories and referenced an Islamic verse about fighting Jews in a 2002 sermon.

Joining Awad and Shahin was Sahar Aziz, a senior policy advisor to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties from 2008 to 2009. Last year, she spoke alongside Siraj Wahhaj for CAIR-Michigan.

Looking at CAIR's "all-star" list of radical Islamists that they are using as fundarisers, it is clear they are not the innocuous "Islamic civil liberties group" they protray themselves as.


Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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