The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) poses as the voice of moderate Islam to protect the Muslim community in the United States from any unjustified backlash that could be sparked by terrorist attacks committed by radical jihadist groups that do not represent the mainstream of Islamic life. That is a laudable mission, if it is pursued consistently.
On its website, CAIR proclaims an "anti-terrorism campaign." Among its core principles, "CAIR supports foreign policies that help create free and equitable trade, encourage human rights and promote representative government based on socio-economic justice" and "CAIR condemns all acts of violence against civilians by any individual, group or state." It further says, "We unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al-Qa'ida, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a 'Foreign Terrorist Organization'." It welcomed the elimination of Osama bin Laden and has declared "CAIR is a natural enemy of violent extremists."
Yet, when push comes to shove, it does come to the defense of Islamic terrorist organizations in the Middle East and has had to defend itself against the charge that it is a "front group for Hamas." Its defense might be more credible if it had not joined the extremist ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition in leading a march on the White House last weekend to protest Israel's current anti-terrorism campaign in Gaza.