Monday, March 31, 2008

CAIR Portrays "War on Terrorism" as Malicious "War on Islam"

Steven Emerson
IPT News
March 31, 2008

(Note: To read today's full installment, click here:

"The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself," CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed declared at Washington's National Press Club in July 2007.

But, in fact, CAIR officials and spokesmen have been peddling that same "new perception" ever since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. They have portrayed virtually every intervening prosecution of an alleged terrorist who is Muslim and every investigation of an alleged terrorist front group as an insidious attack on their religion.

Today's sixth installment in IPT's detailed analysis of the self-proclaimed civil rights group focuses on its protestations that the war on terrorism amounts to a war on Islam. - CAIR and other Muslim groups issued a joint statement after the U.S. government froze the assets of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in December 2001, warning that the action "could create the impression that there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam." A CAIR press release issued the same month warned of "a drumbeat of anti-Muslim rhetoric from those who are taking advantage of the 9-11 tragedy to carry out their agenda of silencing our community and its leadership."

- When authorities arrested CAIR-Texas founding board member Ghassan Elashi and others charged with illegally sending computer equipment to Libya and Syria and engaging in financial transactions with a Specially Designated Terrorist, a CAIR-Dallas press release expressed concern that "these charges result from what appears to be a ‘war on Islam and Muslims' rather than a ‘war on terror.'" The group worried, "We, as American Muslims are facing an uphill battle in defending our own government's foreign policy, as well as the, so-called, war on terrorism, while being targeted by our own law enforcement agencies."

- Responding in June 2002 to a Department of Justice initiative to weed out suspected terrorists, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad asked, "What is next? Forcing American Muslims to wear a star and crescent as a means of identification for law enforcement authorities?"

- In a February 2003 press release, Awad complained of alleged religious and ethnic profiling by the FBI; that same month he remarked in an live dialogue, "Now we see extremists, including the Christian Right and the pro-Israel lobby, carrying out a coordinated campaign against Islam and Muslims. The result of this is clearly apparent from the racist policies and practices being carried out by some branches of the U.S. government influenced by these groups."

- At a January 2006 rally in Tampa in support of accused Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al-Arian, the Orlando Sentinel reported, "Awad said Al-Arian was the victim of a politically charged environment three years ago that resulted in the persecution of Muslims. ‘Is this about what we did or what we are?' said Awad.... ‘Most of these cases are done for political reasons…. I think the government is abusing the system.'"

Al-Arian was to plead guilty three months later to his PIJ involvement, and to admit he was "aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence."

- Also on the Islam-under-attack bandwagon was Omar Ahmad, chairman emeritus of CAIR National. Speaking at a CAIR fundraiser in October 2002, Ahmad said, "These people hated Islam…before September 11. They are using the opportunity of September 11 to detain Islam Muslims or find the problem and attack the foundations of Islam…We are under attack."

- At another fundraiser in December 2003, Ahmad said, "Many of our civil liberties have been taken away since September 11 in the name of fighting terrorism. The process of marginalizing our community…is ongoing. A lot of media outlets, especially the right-wing outlets, are having a field day attacking Islam, attacking Muslims…"

- Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR National, is quoted in a December 2001 Denver Post article as saying, "There has been a demonization of Islam." In a July 2003 Chicago Tribune article, he is reported as charging the Department of Justice with pursuing a "general policy of targeting Muslims because they are Muslims." Again, in a May 2004 New York Times article, Hooper is quoted, "I'd be surprised if there's a mosque in the country that hasn't come under scrutiny these days. It becomes the whole Kevin Bacon game -- no Muslim is more than six degrees away from terrorism."

- When FBI Director Robert Mueller asked citizens in 2004 to be on the lookout for seven Muslim terrorism suspects, Hooper termed Mueller's call "part of the ‘round up the usual suspects' mentality," adding, "When you don't have any other leads, you gather up the Muslims."

- Interviewed for a 2003 story on hearings that Senators Charles Schumer and Jon Kyl had held on Wahhabi influence in America, Hooper commented, "elected representatives like Senator Schumer and Senator Kyl…are jumping on this issue in order to demonize all Muslim groups and all Muslims in America."

- Other CAIR officials around the country -- heads of local groups from Ohio, to Florida, to Arizona, to California, as well as regional and national leaders -- have consistently made pointed charges of anti-Muslim bias. For example, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-Southern California, was quoted by the Associated Press in May 2004 as asserting that the United States had become the "new Saddam" and should "end this hypocrisy, this hypocrisy that we are better than the other dictator."

Again, to see today's full installment, click on this link:

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