The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was founded in 1994 by three officials of the Islamic Association of Palestine, which was later found to be a front for the terror group Hamas during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial. During that same trial, the prosecutors designated CAIR as an "unindicted coconspirator."
CAIR claims to be a civil rights group that advocates on behalf of American Muslims. In reality, it is an unelected Islamist body, with little mandate from American Muslims. Critics accuse CAIR of demonizing moderate Muslims, promoting extremism and lobbying on behalf of convicted terrorists.
Because of CAIR's extremist associations, the FBI and Justice Department have banned outreach with CAIR since 2008. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a pious Muslim country, designated CAIR as a terrorist organization. And the Anti-Defamation League has claimed that CAIR promotes anti-Jewish sentiment.
Does CAIR Represent American Muslims?
No. CAIR is good at appearing to represent American Muslims, but the organization commands little support among the majority of America's Muslims. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, around 88% of American Muslims said that CAIR does not best represent their interests.
In 2007, the Washington Times reported that CAIR's membership was a paltry 1,700 -- a tiny proportion of the estimated +5 million Muslims living in the United States. At the time, a membership cost only $10, but apparently even that was too much -- while in 2004 CAIR reported membership dues of over $100,000, the last several years of tax forms (up to 2014) report zero revenue.
This may be because CAIR no longer has "memberships." Nowhere on its web site can one sign up to be a member, though you can certainly donate -- and donations from overseas are prominently solicited. Whomever CAIR is representing, it certainly does not seem to be the broader American Muslim community.
Why Is CAIR Generally Treated by the Media as a Representative Voice of American Muslims?
American Islam is extremely diverse, and no single group can claim to represent our country's Muslims. However, as Islamist bodies are inherently political movements, they have successfully imposed their leadership on American Muslims because traditional religious groups -- which lack media savvy, political know-how and the ability to unite Muslims from different sects - have been unable to compete. When politicians in D.C. or the editors at the New York Times ask to speak to the "Muslim community," groups such as CAIR step forward.
Is CAIR Truly Moderate, as It Claims?
According to anti-Islamist Muslim activists such as Kamal Nawash of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, CAIR and its partners "condemn terrorism on the surface while endorsing an ideology that helps foster extremism." Seifeldin Ashmawy, a prominent Muslim activist, claimed CAIR serves to "champion extremists whose views do not represent Islam."
And as the next section shows, CAIR has a long history of promoting anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic and racist hate preachers.
Examples of CAIR Hate Preachers
A former member of CAIR's advisory board and one of CAIR's most regular speakers:
LGTBQ: "I don't believe any of you are homosexual. This is a disease of this society ... you know what the punishment is, if a man is found with another man? The Prophet Mohammad said the one who does it and the one to whom it is done to, kill them both."
Infidels: "Woe to the Muslims who pick kafirs [a derogatory Arabic word meaning non-Muslims] for friends. ... Take not into your intimacy those outside of your race. They will not fail to corrupt you. Don't you know our children are surrounded by kafirs. I'm telling you, making the hearts of our children corrupt, dirty, foul."
Abdul Nasir Jangda
Abdul Nasir Jangda
A Deobandi preacher who has been promoted and given platforms by CAIR:
Non-consensual sex: Detailed notes published by Jangda's students indicate that he defends the use of female sex slaves and justifies marital rape: "The thing to understand is that the husband has his set of divinely given rights one of which is the right to have his physical desires satisfied."
Death penalty: He advocates the killing of apostates and adulterers.
Homosexuality: He publicly supports the death penalty for homosexuals.
One of the most frequent speakers at CAIR events:
Honor killings: "Sisters ... you know what happens with a really jealous Dad? He kills you and he kills the guy. You are offending Allah ... whenever you make yourself promiscuous or you open yourself up to a relationship.
Homosexuality: "When Allah describes homosexuality as a repugnant shameless sin and details his punishment of a people that practiced sodomy, how can anyone who believes in Allah not find it
immoral? ... If as Muslims we don't take a clear stance on this, we will be forced to conform and watch this disease destroy our children."
Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America and the religious director at the Islamic Society of Orange County. He works closely with CAIR and often speaks at its events:
Clockwise from top left: Muzammil Siddiqi, Jamal Badawi, and Hassan Shibly.
The head of CAIR's Florida office:
Homosexuality: Shibly claims homosexuality is a quick way "to earn God's wrath."
A former board member of CAIR's Canada branch and a popular speaker at CAIR events in the United States:
Homosexuality: Its spread is a sign of the "End Times."
Marital violence: Men have the right to beat their wives.
A Chicago-based Imam who was fired from his job with the Illinois State Police, after they found video in which he "chants terrorist lyrics and children are seen with guns." Mustapha has spoken at several CAIR fundraising events.
Terrorism: "O mother, Hamas for Jihad. Over mosques' loudspeakers, with freedom. Every day it resists with stones and the dagger. Tomorrow, with God's help, it will be with a machine gun and a rifle."
Clockwise from top left: KIfah Mustapha, Zaid Shakir, and Mohammad Qatanani.
The leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County. He is currently fighting a deportation order after federal officials found he failed to disclose a previous conviction in Israel for his membership of Hamas. Despite his long history of anti-Semitism, CAIR has published ten articles in support of Qatanani.
The West: In 2007, Qatanani prayed for the defeat of "occupation and oppression" in Iraq, Palestine, and Chechnya. He also preached that Jews and Christians "will be swiftly punished" and that Muslims should not speak badly of Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A co-founder and senior faculty member at Zaytuna College as well as a frequent speaker at CAIR fundraising events:
Non-Muslims: Shakir has warned against "seeking the help of" or "befriending" the "kuffar [unbelievers], Jews and Christians." Further, he has claimed that "Zionists" were responsible for the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Violence: Shakir has stated that "Islam presents an absolutist political agenda, or one which doesn't lend itself to compromise," and that because Islamist involvement in politics has largely failed, Muslims should not discount violence, citing examples such as the Taliban's "armed struggle" in Afghanistan. He has stated that the goal of American Muslims should be "the establishment of Islam and shari'ah in America," claiming that methods "ranging from non-cooperation tactics to guerrilla war can bring about favorable policies from a governmental system, or even lead to the eradication of that system."
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