A former attorney at CAIR's California branch is suing the self-described civil rights group for wrongful termination, citing discrimination and accusing officials of anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and bigotry against non-Muslims.
Susanne Arani has worked for CAIR on-and-off since 2015, until she was fired in April 2019. Her complaint contains some fascinating accusations about the office politics at one of America's leading Islamist organizations. While we cannot verify her allegations, a number of her claims share a similarity with evidence that Islamist Watch and our moderate Muslim allies have been collecting against CAIR for many years.
In one instance, Arani claims, an unnamed "interim director" stated: "CAIR/We should not hire non-Muslims, but they are ok for optics so I understand it has to happen sometimes, but we should never allow a non-Muslim on our board."
In another instance, Arani claims the "Interim Director" complained about attendance of a vigil for the Jewish victims of the October 2018 terrorist attack against a Pittsburgh synagogue, reportedly declaring: "We don't need to be fake for those people."
Arani's complaint is delineated into several categories. She alleges discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, age and political belief.
Anti-American sentiment was apparently rife. According to Arani, Zahra Billoo – director of CAIR California's San Francisco Bay Area banch (CAIR-SFBA) – objected to a picture of Arani that featured the American flag. Arani even claims the flag was subsequently photoshopped out, for use in a CAIR-SFBA publication.
(As Islamist Watch has often reported, Billoo is a prominent Islamist figure. She has expressed support for convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian, even once saying that she "finds inspiration" from him. She regularly refers to Israel as an "apartheid" state and writes supportively about the designated terror group Hamas.)
Arani also claims that Dustin Craun, executive director of CAIR California itself, stated he would "put bullets or darts" through the American flag, and published Facebook posts referring to America as "disgusting."
Arani notes that on April 9, 2019, a day after she placed an American flag back in CAIR San Diego's "general office" – after finding it had been hidden -- she was fired.
Other accusations levelled against Craun include allegations of incompetence, theft of office property, and general misogyny and bias towards non-Muslims. In one instance, when Arani objected to a civil rights organization demanding "mandatory prayer" in Arabic, Craun reportedly told Arani she could "just go to the closet."
In fact, bias against non-Muslims is a common theme in the complaint. Arani claims, for example, that she faced discrimination because she is not Muslim, while a "self-described Salafi Muslim who wears hijab" was given preferential treatment and financial support.
Arani also cites discrimination because of her gender, citing pay disparities and preference for male candidates in senior CAIR positions.
In response to Arani request that CAIR's dress rule be revised, she alleges that one CAIR official "yelled" at her, stating that "allowing women to wear skirts and dresses would not be modest, would lead to women showing more of their bodies." He then reportedly launched into a "tirade about how women would dress and what you could see on women's bodies in his old place of work."
Arani claims to have complained about these issues to CAIR officials, including Hassam Ayloush, CEO of CAIR California. (Ayloush is a leading figure within CAIR, who, as Islamist Watch has previously reported, has called for Israel to be "terminated" and expressed support for convicted terror financiers.) According to Arani, Ayloush refused to respond to her concerns.
You can read Arani's full complaint here.
That a CAIR California official reportedly claimed employment of non-Muslims is good for the organization's "optics" is extremely revealing. And the alleged anti-Semitism, misogyny and anti-American rhetoric do appear to fit an existing pattern of unpleasant, extremist behavior by CAIR officials, which contrasts sharply with the organization's self-proclaimed 'progressive' ideals. We'll be following this civil suit closely.