by Ryan Mauro
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front group parading as a civil rights organization, took up the case of a Muslim-American named Yonas Fikre, left, after he alleged that he was tortured in the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the FBI. He and his brother have now been charged with trying to secretly transfer $75,000 to Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. His CAIR attorney predictably accuses the FBI of just trying to punish him for refusing to become an informant.
Fikre’s story is that he was originally approached by the FBI to become an informant in April 2010 during a family visit to Sudan, a country that is a state sponsor of terrorism. Fikre says he refused and was told that he was now on the no-fly list and couldn’t come back home if he didn’t cooperate.
Then, during a visit to the United Arab Emirates in June 2011, he was detained by the authorities for three months and, he claims, brutally tortured. He said that the UAE authorities asked him the same questions as the FBI did previously and that his interrogator, for some reason, told him that he was acting on orders from the FBI. After he was released, he fled to Sweden and is seeking asylum.
Never one to miss an opportunity to portray the U.S. government as systematically abusing Muslims, CAIR jumped on the case, professing his innocence. CAIR said it was part of a “pattern of proxy detention” designed to strip Muslim-Americans of their rights. Now that Fikre and his brother have been formally charged, CAIR says that the FBI is punishing him for going public.
Now, here’s the side of the story that CAIR isn’t keen on mentioning.
Fikre was the youth basketball coach of Masjed-as-Saber, also known as the Islamic Society of Portland. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “Since the mid-1990s, the Portland mosque has been a center of significant radical fundamentalist activities.”
The ICP’s imam, Shiekh Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s and is a founding director of Global Relief Foundation, a charity sanctioned by the federal government in December 2001 for financing Al-Qaeda. The federal government wiretapped conversations revealing that Kariye gave $2,000 to each of seven Portland Muslims to go to Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces alongside the Taliban. They traveled to China, hoping to reach the battlefield through Pakistan. One of those involved said that Kariye preached that Muslims are obligated to fight U.S. forces overseas.
Fikre’s mosque was also attended by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Somali who sought to set off a bomb during a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in 2010, an event where 10,000 men, women and children would be gathered. A "casual acquaintance" of Mohamud who also attends the mosque, Michael Migliore, was also placed on the no-fly list after visiting the United Kingdom. Two other ICP attendees, Mustafa Elogbi and Jamal Tarhuni, were also placed on the list after going to Libya.
Considering all of this, what’s more likely? That the federal government actually has good reason to be suspicious about Fikre, or that FBI ordered the UAE to torture an innocent Muslim for not bending to its will, during which the interrogator admitted to acting on behalf of the FBI? As CAIR would have you believe, the government made up the charges to prosecute him with afterwards.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent security analyst for Fox News.