CAIR Campaigns Against Classroom Pledge of Allegiance

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is campaigning to block legislation in Oklahoma that would make saying the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory in public school classrooms, even though students will not be forced to individually participate.

The first bill makes recitation of the pledge mandatory for public elementary schools. The second one applies to all public schools.

The top item on CAIR’s latest newsletter is the work of its Oklahoma chapter in fighting against these two Senate bills. It links to an article that inaccurately states that these two bills will “compel public-school students to recite the American Pledge of Allegiance.”

CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director Adam Soltani said the bills threaten the First Amendment and undermines the spirit of the pledge itself.

“We believe that mandating the Pledge of Allegiance contradicts its contents. The liberty discussed in the Pledge of Allegiance includes the right to make that pledge freely rather than by compulsion. We dishonor the Pledge of Allegiance by mandating its recital,” Soltani said.

CAIR is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that has a pattern of allying with Islamist groups and has honored CAIR, despite its documented links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Contrary to CAIR’s characterization, the two bills do not require that students say the Pledge of Allegiance. Moreover, those that opt out may not be punished. Participation is voluntary. All the bills do is require that public elementary schools conduct a recitation of the pledge.

The first bill states, “Each student shall be informed by posting a notice in a conspicuous place that students not wishing to participate in the pledge shall not be required to do so.” The second bill states the exact same thing.

CAIR’s campaign is distorting the facts.

The attitudes of former CAIR officials and current CAIR associates towards the Pledge of Allegiance provide important context.

Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Masjid At-Taqwa has served on CAIR’s national board of directors. If CAIR were genuinely moderate, his ferociously Islamist and anti-American resume would disqualify him as a partner. Instead, he is a top fundraiser for CAIR chapters around the country. What has he preached about the Pledge of Allegiance?

In the 2012 documentary, The Grand Deception, audio from 1982 is played of Wahhaj preaching the following with rage:

“Every day they would go to school and they would put American flags in front of these little babies, Muslim babies! ‘I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands,’ bullshit!”

He’s toned his rhetoric down a bit since then, but the substance is the same. In 2011, he told a large Muslim audience, “The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about sharia when we are not there yet” [emphasis added].

A current CAIR official is Ihsan Bagby, the executive director of the Kentucky chapter and national board member from 1995 to 2013. He is also the General Secretary of the Wahhaj-led Muslim Alliance in North America. What does he say about patriotism?

“Ultimately, we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country … because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country,” a publication quoted him as saying in 1991.

Another frequent speaker at CAIR fundraisers is Imam Zaid Shakir of Zaytuna College. The New York Times reported in 2006 that he said he’d like to see the U.S. become a sharia-governed Muslim country. Last year, he preached that sharia is superior to the U.S. Constitution, even though it does not grant equality.

“If Islam is the basis [of the country’s government], the kafir won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi. They won’t be equal with the Muslim,” Shakir said.

CAIR-OK is also guilty of using radicals for fundraising. Its seventh annual banquet in 2013 featured Imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the very radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque that has extensive links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Imam Abdul-Malik endorsed attacks on Israeli infrastructure in 2001. His mosque’s current lead imam, Shaker Elsayed, was videotaped preaching in favor of armed jihad at a Virginia high school last year.

CAIR-OK states it has no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance, only with making it compulsory for students—but the bills don’t make it compulsory. The history of CAIR and its leadership’s preaching suggests this deceit is purposeful.


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.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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