The support at American universities for Hamas's slaughter of Israelis has understandably and rightly received much attention. But there are other institutions in the United States that have been at least as supportive, if not more so. Within hours of Hamas's attack and taking of hostages, Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), tweeted in Arabic, "All Arab peoples must go out on Sunday, October 8, and every day, in demonstrations in support of the Palestinians and in rejection of normalization with the occupier and the apartheid regime." The Hamas charter rejects peace "initiatives" and "so-called peaceful solutions," saying that "there is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad."
In 1991, in an "explanatory memorandum," the Muslim Brotherhood set forth the organization's long-term plan in North America to establish a Brotherhood-led "Islamic movement" that "presents Islam as a civilization alternative," supportive of the "Islamic state wherever it is."
Just a few years earlier, Hamas formed as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and openly called for the obliteration of Israel. The U.S. organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood have long denied their kinship with Hamas. Now, in the wake of the bloodiest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust, the Brotherhood's American affiliates are rallying with unequivocal support of Palestine and refusing to condemn Hamas.
"I am in support of the Hamas movement," said Nihad Awad in 1994, the same year he co-founded CAIR.
On October 10, three days after tweeting that Palestinians should reject "normalization with the occupier and the apartheid regime," Awad called a reporter an "apartheid propagandist" for daring to assert that Hamas was responsible for the terrorist attack and condemning those who refuse to call Hamas atrocities for what they are, terrorism. The United States has designated Hamas a terror organization.
Concerns about CAIR extend far beyond the actions and rhetoric of its director. The U.S. government listed CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial that led to the closure of the HLF for funneling millions to Hamas and to lengthy prison sentences for key officials, including HLF chairman and treasurer Ghassan Elashi, who served as a founding board member of CAIR-TX. "The Holy Land Foundation 5 are a group of wrongfully convicted humanitarians at the core of one of the biggest cases of US political persecution of the century," wrote CAIR-FL in 2020.
It now appears that Hamas may be calling for the release of two of these individuals. "There are Hamas members sentenced for life in the U.S. We want them too," said senior Hamas leader Ali Baraka on October 8, suggesting that the U.S. conduct a prisoner swap with Hamas. (Officials estimate that Hamas currently holds nearly 200 hostages, including 14 Americans.)
Palestinians "were detained in America because they were accused of running charity organizations that support the people besieged in the Gaza," said Baraka. Only two HLF officials received sentences long enough to fit Baraka's statement, "making it almost certain that Hamas wants to trade the former CAIR board member for a U.S. hostage," writes Daniel Greenfield, a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, adding that "a Hamas proposal to trade a CAIR leader for a hostage would reopen the question of CAIR's terror ties."
Last Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood–linked American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and a coterie of cronies, including the Brotherhood-founded Muslim American Society, rallied in Lafayette Square, the front yard of the White House. "This White House doesn't hear our voices, the voices of freedom, the voices of solidarity with the Palestinian people," said AMP's executive director, Osama Abuirshaid, as heard in exclusive video footage of the event obtained by Focus on Western Islamism. Abuirshaid continued, implying at one point that those who stand with Israel are "animals" who "don't deserve to be called humans."
As recently as 2021, Abuirshaid met with Hamas leaders and participated with them at a conference in Jordan. The conference reportedly called for "efforts to confront Israeli ambitions in Palestine, and its surroundings, while supporting armed and popular resistance and political and legal efforts." In 2015, the Investigative Project on Terrorism found that "at least five AMP officials and speakers" previously worked for an organization "created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas' agenda politically and financially in the United States."
The Muslim American Society, which co-sponsored the D.C. rally with AMP, issued its own statement, saying that "the path forward for lasting peace is to address the root causes of continued injustice, colonial violence and Israeli apartheid." MAS then linked to AMP's statement on the "root causes."
As Awad did with his aforementioned tweet, AMP released its statement within hours of Hamas's attack. In it, AMP makes no mention of the Hamas attack that killed an estimated 1,400. Instead, the organization says that it is "gravely concerned about the unfolding crisis in Gaza, precipitated by increased Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people."
AMP, CAIR, and MAS all have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. They co-founded the United States Council on Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group of Islamist organizations in America. USCMO also issued a non-apology statement within hours of the Hamas attack, failing to condemn Hamas or even to mention the Israeli lives lost.
"The recent unprovoked and continuous attacks by Israel on Palestinian towns, cities, and refugee camps have resulted in tragic loss of Palestinian lives," the USCMO statement reads. "It is our firm belief that justice is the cornerstone of lasting peace," it disturbingly continues. "No security measures can bring true peace in the absence of justice."
USCMO's secretary general, Oussama Jammal, serves as a board member for the Bridgeview Mosque. The U.S. government listed the mosque's present imam, Jamal Said, as another unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF terror-finance trial. Separately, the mosque raised $50,000 for the legal defense of Sami Al-Arian, a move defended by Oussama Jammal. The U.S. government later deported Al-Arian for his leadership in the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since the Hamas attack on October 7, the Bridgeview Mosque has partnered with AMP on multiple rallies in Chicago.
CAIR-CA, MAS, and the Bridgeview Mosque are currently fundraising for Palestinians by raising funds for Islamic Relief, a prominent Islamist financial institution founded by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has funded the Unlimited Friends Association, a Hamas-run charity in Gaza. MAS is fundraising for Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) too. HHRD operates as the charitable arm of America's Jamaat-e-Islami. HHRD regularly partners with Al-Khidmat, another branch of Jamaat-e-Islami. Al-Khidmat has openly funded Hamas.
"The Ikhwan," or Brothers, "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions," reads the aforementioned 1991 memorandum from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Most of the organizations mentioned in this article have received both federal and state funds and remain influential at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Americans already shocked at the outpouring of hate against Israel on campuses can look the other way and fund their own destruction and that of Israel or speak the truth now and end all support for the friends of Hamas.
Susannah Johnston is Focus on Western Islamism's investigative reporter.