Muslim Activist Boycotted by CAIR for Talking to Zionists

Wajahat Ali, who was disinvited from a December event over his ties to Zionists. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Creative Commons)
Wajahat Ali, who was disinvited from a December event over his ties to Zionists. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Creative Commons)

Leading Muslim American journalist and consultant Wajahat Ali had a New York speaking engagement cancelled following a campaign against him by hard-line Islamists a result of his connections with “Zionists.”

Ali had planned to speak at an event sponsored by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New York in December.

CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. It was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR’s founders were connected to the Egyptian Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood. They style themselves as America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization and specialize in taking legal cases to defend Muslims in anti-Muslim bigotry cases, and speaking out in the media to protect the image of Islam.

Ali helped launch Al Jazeera America, an offshoot of Qatar’s state owned media outlet, co-hosting their daily news show The Stream. In addition he worked as a consultant for the State Department. He currently works as Creative Director of Affinis Labs, a startup incubator, conducts speaking engagements and writes articles for national newspapers.

Although the cancellation ostensibly happened for financial reasons, organizers told Ali they had been pressured to drop him as a speaker due to his connections with Zionists.

In a tell-all post on Facebook, Ali wrote:

“They [CAIR] will do the event again, at another time, but it seems clear I will not be part of the lineup.

They also mentioned they received a few loud protests on social media, angry calls from a few influential leaders, and I believe even some CAIR leaders from other chapters who tried to bully them into disinviting me.

I appreciate their honesty and candor in telling me.

My main unforgivable crime, among many crimes apparently, is that I ‘engaged’ with ‘The Zionists,’ specifically the Shalom Hartman Institute, as part of the MLI program.”

Evidently hurt by the rejection, Ali continued:

“In some loud Muslim activist circles, I’m apparently a Zionist stooge forged from the loins of Mossad and the CIA and part of a large, nefarious conspiracy to divide and weaken American Muslims at the behest of my Jewish overlords. That was the price for selling out to achieve “mainstream” success. They also made me get circumcised – again! I’m also apparently a vehicle to cause dissention on Palestine, even though I have not talked about this issue in front of Muslim audiences or have been asked to talk about it. I’m also, you know, not a Zionist or even against BDS, the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement, but who needs facts when you have righteous indignation, outrage and social media bomb throwers?”

It is interesting that Ali objects so strenuously to being ostracized in this way. Ali was the lead author and researcher of Fear Incorporated, a report by the Center for American Progress which labelled Clarion Project, among others, as hateful bigots out to tarnish Islam by any means necessary, despite our history of supporting Muslim religious freedom.



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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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