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CAIR in Damage Control Mode After Terrorist Designation

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is happily distributing a video of a U.S. State Department spokesman saying that the U.S. government does not consider CAIR and the Muslim American Society to be terrorists, as the United Arab Emirates  has just done.

The State Department’s comment is not a vindication; it’s old news. The State Department reiterated what we already know: The U.S. government hasn’t labeled them as terrorist groups, just as it hasn’t labeled the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group (as the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have done).

However, the U.S. government has acknowledged their Muslim Brotherhood linkages. Here’s what the State Department said:

“The United States does not consider these two U.S. groups to be terrorist organizations, but we are seeking more information from the government of the UAE about why that designation was done by them and their background, what their information is.”

That’s not exactly a passionate defense of CAIR and MAS. It’s a statement of fact. It does not deny that these groups are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, nor is it an endorsement of their supposed moderation.

The State Department’s comments also do not reflect the entirety of how the U.S. government views CAIR and MAS.

From 2006 to 2008, the FBI monitored the email account of Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Executive-Director and co-founder. 

In 2007, the U.S. Justice Department designated CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity that financed Hamas. The Justice Department specifically listed CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee; its section devoted to covertly assisting Hamas.

In another 2007 court case, federal prosecutors said, “MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”

That court filing also said:  “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.”

In 2008, the FBI changed its policy to officially bar field offices from using CAIR as an outreach partner.

In April 2009, the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs said, “Until we can resolve whether there continues to be a relationship between CAIR or its executives with Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

In 2009, Judge Solis upheld the designation of CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator, but also ruled that its designation should not have been made public. Yet, he found that the U.S. government provided “ample evidence” linking CAIR to the Holy Land Foundation and Hamas to justify the designation.

In 2013, the Justice Department said the FBI ended its use of CAIR as an outreach partner “to ensure that the FBI is not supporting individuals who support extremist or terrorist ideologies.”

This single-sentence response by the State Department is not a summary of the U.S. government’s assessment of CAIR and MAS. It is an reiteration of the obvious fact that these groups are allowed to operate and have not been prosecuted.

When you look at the entirety of the U.S. government’s statements about CAIR and MAS, what you find is confirmation of what these groups deny: That they are Islamists with Muslim Brotherhood origins.

 

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org