It has been a trying month for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the self-proclaimed Muslim civil rights group with shady associates and Islamist agendas. Recent events will not aid its reputation.
The month kicked off with the intrepid Joe Kaufman holding a March 1 rally against the organization's use of a government-owned building in Fort Lauderdale. There, Kaufman captured CAIR-Florida representative Jawhar Badran committing the cardinal sin — expressing his group's carefully guarded views on Hamas.
Speaking into a microphone bearing CAIR's name and logo and standing beside a smiling Altaf Ali, the executive director of CAIR-Florida, [Badran] clearly and emphatically stated on video: "Hamas is not a terrorist organization."
Additionally, when asked if Hamas was a terror group, one of the girls running video for CAIR said "No," and a number of witnesses claim that Ali did the same.
Their timing could not have been worse. On March 6 a Palestinian terrorist massacred eight young students at a west Jerusalem religious seminary. Hamas has been widely fingered in the attack. A statement from the group later said, "We bless the operation. It will not be the last."
CAIR's credibility took another hit on March 26 when the former head of its Michigan branch, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, was charged with spying for Saddam Hussein.
According to the indictment, Al-Hanooti would travel to Iraq and meet with conspirators of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The indictment says that Al-Hanooti was rewarded with 2 million barrels of oil for his work.
Al-Hanooti joins a growing list of CAIR officials jailed for participation in terrorist activities or working with states that sponsor them.
One can read all about this rogues' gallery in the Investigative Project on Terrorism's massive "review of the history, activities, statements, and causes of and by CAIR." Published little by little beginning earlier this week, the report will serve as a one-stop reference for the many skeletons in CAIR's closet.
The good news for the Council on American-Islamic Relations is that March is nearly over. The bad news is that the rolling release of IPT's ten-part tome will extend into next month, ensuring that April starts badly as well.
April 16, 2008 update: CAIR had a lousy March, but chose to finish the month on a combative note. The organization issued a press release on March 31 declaring that representatives from it and other questionable Muslim lobby groups had visited Sami Al-Arian, the former professor who is serving time for his collaboration with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist entity that has murdered Americans. He has been on a hunger strike after refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into Islamic charities. CAIR's very public support for Al-Arian will only add fuel to its critics' fire.