CAIR Appoints Jewish Man to Head Philadelphia Chapter

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity linked to Hamas, has brought its interfaith offensive to a new height by having Jewish filmmaker Jacob Bender lead its Philadelphia chapter.

Bender is the first non-Muslim to lead a CAIR chapter. In a letter on CAIR-Philadelphia’s website, Bender says he is committed to “defending CAIR against the unfounded and hate mongering attacks of the Islamophobic network.”

The fanciful “Islamophobic network” apparently includes the U.S. government and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which have identified CAIR as a Muslim Brotherhood entity. CAIR is also a designated unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas.

Bender’s letter praises the friendship of Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator. Syeed leads ISNA’s interfaith office. In 2006, Syeed was recorded saying, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.”

According to his bio, Bender was a speechwriter about interfaith affairs for Jesse Jackson when he was a presidential candidate. Around that time, Jackson was embroiled in a scandal for making anti-Semitic slurs and embracing PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

Bender’s relationship with CAIR is about more than interfaith dialogue. It is fused together by a shared belief that Israel and its allies are oppressors of Muslims.

“As someone who has long supported Palestinian rights and was critical of the [Israeli] policy of occupation, I find no contradiction between my long-stated opinions on the Middle East and those of CAIR,” he said.

Terrorism expert Joe Kaufman writes that the top donor to Bender’s film, “Out of Cordoba,” was the foundation of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Other donors included ISNA, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and the Alavi Foundation, an Iranian regime frontl.

Bender has spoken at the Doha Conference on Religious Dialogue four times (2006-2009), an event put together by the Qatari government, the Muslim Brotherhood’s main supporter and bankroller. The Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yousef al-Qaradawi, is based in Doha. He has also been embraced by the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. and spoke at Al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2009.

As documented in the Clarion Project profile of CAIR-Philadelphia, radical anti-American imam Siraj Wahhaj helped the chapter fundraise in 2013. Wahhaj is an advocate of transforming the U.S. into a sharia-based state, even preaching on college campuses that Islam commands the lashing of fornicators. He advised Muslims in 2011 to avoid talking to non-Muslims about sharia because “we are not there yet.”

CAIR-Philadelphia’s Outreach Co-Chair, Carlin Saafir, is also linked to two other Islamist groups, the United Muslim Masjid and the Sankore Institute of Islamic-African Studies International.

The article about Bender’s appointment that appeared in the Washington Post, taken from Religion News Service, is another example of CAIR's media manipulation.

It mentions that most Jewish organizations avoid CAIR because of its stance on Israel, but it leaves out the important fact that the U.S. government designated it an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-financing trial and that federal prosecutors list it as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

 “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists … the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists,” federal prosecutors said in a 2007 court filing.

Ironically, the article quotes CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. This is the same CAIR official that authored a presentation on how to take advantage of journalists to push the desired narrative.

CAIR and other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood allies deploy their interfaith partners, including Jewish groups, as a battering ram. An official at a rally directly linked to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood expressed his appreciation of the Jewish Voice for Peace.

The American Islamists worked through an interfaith coalition that included Jewish and Christian organizations when it they sought to stop the posting of subways ads that are anti-jihad and pro-Israel. Jewish groups have even sponsored seminars about “Islamophobia” at churches.

The best example is the coordinated reaction to the request by five members of Congress for a review of the U.S. government’s involvement with Brotherhood-linked groups in July 2012. A coalition of 43 groups came to the defense of the Islamic Society of North America, Huma Abedin and others with strong Islamist ties including a joint letter that was endorsed by a range of interfaith groups including Jewish ones like the National Council of Jewish Women, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Society for Humanistic Judaism and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

CAIR’s choosing of a Jewish filmmaker to lead its Philadelphia chapter is just a headline-grabbing step in its overall interfaith offensive.


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.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy contributed to this report.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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