Republican presidential candidate and former New York Governor George Pataki would strip the tax-exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, he told the Clarion Project.
"That's just one of the organizations I have in mind," Pataki answered regarding his proposal to strip the tax-exempt status of radical organizations and whether he had any thoughts on CAIR.
Pataki, who was the Governor of New York during the 9/11 attacks, has stated that the federal government needs to be able to prosecute those who use free speech protections to promote terrorist organizations and incite violence against Americans.
"We respect the First Amendment but anybody who promotes recruitment to any terrorist organization, anybody who incites their fellow Americans to violence against Americans should be arrested, prosecuted and convicted. And any organization, whether it's an Internet site they are using or a mosque or a church, should lose its tax-exempt status," Pataki said.
Pataki was presumably aware that CAIR was designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front whose leaders were found guilty of financing Hamas. CAIR was listed by federal prosecutors as an "entity" of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee, a secret body that was established to support Hamas and advance the Islamist cause.
In another court case in 2007, federal prosecutors stated in a court filing:
“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 1993, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said, “I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.” In 2004, he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in an Arabic interview with Al-Jazeera. Instead, he called them “liberation movements.” His emails were monitored by the FBI from July 2006 until at least February 2008.
The FBI stopped using CAIR as an outreach partner in 2008, stating, "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.”
The Justice Department also instructed FBI field offices to stop using CAIR as a liaison for the Muslim community in order to “ensure that the FBI is not supporting individuals who support extremist or terrorist ideologies.”
In November 2014, the Muslim government of the United Arab Emirates banned CAIR as a terrorist group, even though it was previously friendly towards the group. Senior UAE officials defended the decision.
A senior UAE official said the objective is "to cut off access to all forms of material and moral support for terrorism, to drain its resources, to prevent the incitement of terrorist crimes, to prevent the praising of terrorism and to work to stop the spreading of such crimes or any encouragement of the committing of them.”
The Clarion Project’s documented profile of CAIR can be read here.
Our factsheet regarding Governor Pataki’s stances on Islamist extremism can be read here. We have published similar factsheets for all declared presidential candidates.
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. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.