On Monday, a Federal judge partially granted a motion by San Diego's Unified School District (SDUSD) to strike references to the Council on American Islamic Relations' (CAIR) ties to Hamas from a lawsuit that seeks to block the school system from working with CAIR.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) claims that the school district violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and California state law by enacting a CAIR supported anti-Islamophobia/anti-bullying program last spring.
Yet the FCDF's decision to discuss CAIR's Hamas ties was "impertinent, immaterial, and scandalous," school district officials claimed in December. Including references to CAIR's Hamas connection — and the fact that some of its officials have been convicted on terrorism charges — was intended to "inflame the public," according to school officials.
But court evidence from a terror-financing trial shows that CAIR was formed by Muslim Brotherhood officials to serve a Hamas-support network operating in the United States during the 1990s. The FBI cut off non-investigative contact with CAIR in 2008, explaining, "Until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
That policy remains in effect.
This is relevant because CAIR has "prioritized public schools as ground zero to advance its religious mission," the FCDF argued. According to the FCDF's brief, the school district gave "a divisive religious group ... unprecedented decision-making authority" in a public school program.
The judge disagreed.
"Given the lack of pertinences or materiality to this case, their inclusion ... is likely intended to 'besmirch' Defendants and cast them in a derogatory light based on SDUSD's relationship with CAIR," wrote US District Judge Cynthia Bashant.
CAIR's relationship with Hamas, "whether true or not," predates its work with the school district and references to it are "superfluous historical allegations that should be stricken," she ruled.
Still, the judge preserved provisions in FCDF's amended complaint relating to CAIR's hostility to Israel and allegations that it "promotes discriminatory bias against non-Muslim students on the basis of their religion." While they may be "distasteful" and "unsavory," those provisions could also call into question the "objectivity and accuracy" of CAIR-provided instructional materials, she said.