Adam Serwer admits that today's hearing on radicalization in the American Muslim community wasn't the witch hunt that liberals said it would be. He gives liberals credit for that. Okay, whatever (an unprovable hypothesis about what would have happened "if outside groups hadn't been so critical of King and Republicans to begin with" is hardly worth contesting). But this is too much:
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who had been called by Democrats, deftly punctured the myth that Muslims refuse to cooperate with law enforcement. The Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group that has been longtime target of conservatives because they were listed as unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism financing case, was mentioned more times than any actual terrorist group at the hearing. When Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) accused Baca of "dealing with a terrorist organization," because CAIR's LA chapter had supported Baca's outreach efforts, Baca pushed back hard, saying "If the FBI has any charges against CAIR, let the FBI bring them. You have facts, and you have a crime. Deal with it."
The willful ignorance on display here is jaw-dropping.
CAIR's sympathy for terrorists, and its ties to them, are extensive, well-documented, and yes, they have resulted in charges (and convictions). In 2004, when CAIR tried to bully David Frum and the National Post, among others in Canada and the US, into ignoring this, Frum threw the stubborn facts back at them:
CAIR was founded in 1994 by alumni of an older group, the Islamic Association for Palestine. The IAP, founded by senior Hamas figure Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state under Islamic law in Israel's place. (In 1996, CAIR would condemn the U.S. government's decision to deport Marzook as an "anti-Islamic" act.)
CAIR's first executive director, Nihad Awad, publicly declared himself a supporter of Hamas at a 1994 forum at Barry University in Florida.
One of CAIR's original advisory board members, Siraj Wahhaj, served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is the blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiracy to bomb New York landmarks. CAIR described Rahman's conviction as a hate crime.
CAIR's founding chairman, Omar Ahmed, also an IAP alumnus, is said to have declared at a public event in California in July, 1998: "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." Ahmed has since disputed the accuracy of the quote--five years after it was reported by a California newspaper.
After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, CAIR's Web site featured a link titled, "Donate to the NY/DC Disaster Relief Fund." The link connected to the Web site of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity closed down by the United States three months later as a Hamas front...
Since 9/11, three CAIR associates in the U.S. have been indicted on terrorism-related charges.
In September, 2003, CAIR community relations director Bassem K. Khafagi, pleaded guilty on immigration and bank-fraud charges, in Detroit. Khafagi interestingly co-owned a print shop with another man who has since been charged with illegally sending goods into Iraq.
Randall Todd Royer, a communications specialist at CAIR's Washington headquarters, pleaded guilty in January, 2004, to belonging to the Kashmiri Lashkar-i-Taibi terrorist group and illegally acquiring firearms and explosives in order to train for terrorist missions against India. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
A founding member of CAIR's Texas chapter, Ghassen Elashi, was convicted of conspiracy and money-laundering charges in connection with the shipment of high-technology items to Syria and Libya in July, 2004.
To pretend that the case against CAIR begins and ends with its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case -- the terrorism financing case Serwer refers to -- is absurd. If we shouldn't whitewash Peter King's history of supporting terrorism -- which I wrote about yesterday, as did Serwer -- we certainly shouldn't whitewash CAIR's.
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