On November 2, 2019, Kurdish activists took to the streets of Los Angeles to protest the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its ties to the Turkish government.
The Southern California Kurdish Committee in Defense of Rojava, the United Rights Council, and the American Hellenic Council of California organized the demonstration outside the annual banquet of CAIR's Los Angeles branch to denounce CAIR-LA's decision to partner with Turkish Airlines (which is partly government owned and functions as an arm of the regime), as well as to draw attention to the close ties between the leadership of CAIR and Turkish regime officials.
A press release published by a coalition of Kurdish and other minority community organizations explained that it is " indeed appalling and paradoxical that CAIR and other Ruling Party (AKP) apologists continue to promote the agenda of the Turkish regime that unabashedly breaks the ceasefire and continues to expand its invasion in plotting ethnic cleansing in North and East Syria."
Addressing CAIR-LA, the Kurdish activists wrote that "you support a regime that has criminalized language and culture of Kurds as it continues to Turkify the Kurdish city of Afrin occupied in 2018. We find it unfathomable that you as CAIR -LA have turned your pulpits into a loyalist political party to provide religious justification for Erdogan and the endless trail of destruction and displacement he has left behind in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq."
Indeed, CAIR-LA's officials have rushed to defend the actions of the Turkish regime in Northern Syria by parroting pro-Turkish propaganda. In October, CAIR-LA Executive Director, Hussam Ayloush, approvingly publicized articles by Erdogan's "communications director" in support of the Turkish regime's behavior, and wrote on his Facebook account: "Dear Western politicians/commentators and sudden experts on Syria, did it occur to you to ask how the 12 million refugees feel about Turkey establishing a safe zone in Syria that's free from Assad and terrorists?" Meanwhile, Fayaz Nawabi, CAIR LA's policy and advocacy manager, has also shared articles defending Turkey's actions in Syria.
That Turkish Airlines sponsored the event is not the first example of clear ties between CAIR-LA and the Turkish regime. Indeed, CAIR-LA previously posted pictures of Los Angeles Turkish Consul General Mr.Can Oğuz at its 2018 banquet. He was joined by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ebru Awad, director of the Society of Turkish Americans (TURCA), which openly serves as a leading advocate for the Erdogan regime in America. And since 2010, CAIR has repeatedly boasted of Ayloush's involvement with the Turkish consulate.
CAIR-LA's support for the Turkish regime is undeniable. So we asked CAIR-LA about the Kurdish protests outside their banquet, and whether it disputes the claim that CAIR works to promote the Turkish regime's agenda.
A CAIR-LA spokesperson merely replied that the organization had "no comment regarding [our] inquiry." We suppose none is needed; its actions tell us all we need to know.