The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has petitioned unsuccessfully to remove its name from a list of unindicted terrorist co-conspirators, today pointed to a nearly five-year-old statement to affirm it opposes terrorism and extremism.
CAIR, which also unsuccessfully sought to censor the book "Muslim Mafia" and the internal documents it uncovered, today responded to a WND request for its perspective on a new "fatwa," or Islamic religious ruling, in Britain that condemned terrorism by e-mailing a copy of its announcement from July 28, 2005.
In CAIR's statement, Executive Director Nihad Awad said, "United, we can confront the terrorists and frustrate their goal of sparking an apocalyptic war between faiths and civilizations.
"The presence here today of American Muslim leaders indicates the willingness of our community to strengthen national security and to work with policy-makers to gain victory over this international menace to humanity," he said at the time.
CAIR is regarded by U.S. counter-terrorism officials as a front group for the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of most of the major Islamic terrorist groups including al-Qaida and Hamas.
It's 2005 statement declared support for a "fatwa" issued by the Fiqh Council of North American that was backed by dozens of U.S. Muslim leaders and groups.
It stated, "Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not 'martyrs.'"
The statement was e-mailed in response to a WND request for comment on a new report from the U.K. that a leader of a global Muslim movement had released a 600-page document condemning violence and purporting to "take back" Islam from al-Qaida and other groups engaged in violence. The new fatwa has the support of the British government.
The U.K. statement, released by Muslim scholar Muhammad Tahi-ul-Qadri, makes a case against Islamic extremism.
"Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence, and it has no place in Islamic teaching, and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts," Tahi-ul-Qadri told a London news conference. "Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into a good; they cannot convert an evil into good."
The Washington Times reported it was unclear how much impact his statement would carry, since he is a leader in the South Asian Muslim community and a Sufi Muslim, not a Quranic literalist, as are Wahhabi and Salafi divisions of the religion.
It is among those groups that support for al-Qaida is strongest, analysts said.
Timothy Furnish, a historian of Islam, said the other camp typically issues an antithetical ruling to confuse the issue.
The Washington Post reported in 2005 that the U.S. "fatwa" was a one-page decision that CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper described as "another way to drive home the point that the American Muslim community rejects terrorism and extremism."
The U.S. ruling said in 2005 it was "haram," or forbidden, for terrorism to target civilians and for Muslims to cooperate with terrorism. It declared Muslims have a religious duty to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
WND reported yesterday CAIR's Chicago branch is playing host to the first U.S. appearance of Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood whose Bush administration ban for alleged terrorist ties recently was lifted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, is scheduled to speak at CAIR-Chicago's sixth annual banquet April 10. In a promo for the event, first reported by the AtlasShrugs blog, CAIR called his appearance a "milestone for the American Muslim community since he was banned from visiting the United States almost six years ago."
Ramadan's maternal grandfather, Hasan al-Banna, founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928. His father, Said Ramadan, was an Islamist leader who fled Egypt after a crackdown on the Brotherhood and ended up in Geneva in 1958. Tariq Ramadan was born in the Swiss capital in 1962.
In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security revoked Ramadan's work visa under a law that denies entry to aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity."
The DHS did not release its evidence on Ramadan, but Middle East scholar and anti-terrorism specialist Daniel Pipes listed at the time a number of likely reasons for him to be denied entry.
Ramadan had been banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of links with an Algerian Islamist who initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris. He also had contacts with Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for al-Qaida activities, and Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the American embassy in Paris.
Ramadan also has denied that there was "any certain proof" Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11 and praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi, who in turn called Ramadan the "future of Islam."
As WND has reported, CAIR is suing a father-and-son team that conducted an undercover probe that came up with 12,000 pages of internal documents confirming the Islamic organization's role as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the U.S.