In September, the Middle East Forum's Islamism in Politics project spoiled the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) third annual Muslim Day at the Capitol in Ohio by convincing legislators to boycott the lobbying event. But now this Muslim Brotherhood front group is moving on to Pennsylvania, and it is up to citizens there to convince their elected representatives that CAIR is a toxic, extremist organization which deserves to be blacklisted.
On October 30, CAIR chapters from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will team up with Emgage USA, a national political advocacy group, to convene the fourth annual Muslim Capitol Day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg. After conducting training in the Main Rotunda, participants will split into delegations and spend the afternoon meeting with elected officials.
Both CAIR and Emgage are dangerous Islamist organizations whose leaders believe that political life should be guided by theocratic - rather than democratic - principles. Their presence in the statehouse sends a message to Pennsylvania citizens that extremist ideologies are not only tolerated, but encouraged.
If you live in Pennsylvania, the Middle East Forum urges you to write to your legislators and ask them to stand up to CAIR and Emgage. Just click this link, enter your address to identify your district representatives, and send a pre-filled letter explaining why you are opposed to Islamist interference in Pennsylvania politics.
CAIR was founded in 1994 as part of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., and a federal court determined in 2009 that there is "ample evidence" associating CAIR with Hamas, a U.S-designated terrorist organization. As a consequence, the FBI cut ties with CAIR in 2008, and the United Arab Emirates followed suit in 2014 by designating CAIR as a terrorist organization. No fewer than seven former CAIR officials have been indicted, convicted, or deported for terrorism-related charges.
Emgage USA possesses its own worrisome connections to terrorism. Its co-founder, attorney Khurrum Wahid, was placed on a terrorism watchlist in 2011, and he has represented terror suspects tied to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Debbie Almontaser, the head of Emgage's New York chapter, was fired as the principal of a publicly-funded high school in 2007 after she promoted a t-shirt bearing the phrase "Intifada NYC" – an apparent reference to violence against Jews in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Despite these irrefutable ties to terrorism and extremism, CAIR and Emgage have convinced some lawmakers that they are benign civil rights and political advocacy organizations providing a service to Muslim Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is up to you to educate your representatives and insist that consulting with extremists is unacceptable.
"By participating in Muslim Capitol Day, you would be sending a message to Pennsylvania citizens that religious extremists who promote a theocratic agenda are welcome at the state capitol," your letter will explain. "If you are not against these groups, Pennsylvania voters will believe that you stand with them."
Click here to message your representatives in Pennsylvania and tell them that you reject Islamist political interference.
Benjamin Baird is coordinator of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.