In his recent press release, Jacob Bender, the executive director of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), condemned state representative Stephanie Borowicz's so-called "weaponized prayer" upon being sworn in on March 25, labeling it "divisive and intolerant anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish rhetoric" and "rife with right-wing Christian triumphalism and obvious Islamophobic and anti-Semitic tropes."
While Representative Borowicz's invocation, presented prior to the swearing in of Pennsylvania's first Muslim woman — Movita Johnson-Harrell — was heavy on Christian sentiment and inappropriate for a mixed audience, it was hardly Islamophobic or anti-Semitic. The invocation made no reference to Islam or Muslims, and not doing so does not make it Islamophobic.
But it did make reference to Israel. She praised President Trump for "standing beside Israel unequivocally ... that we are blessed because we stand by Israel ... we ask for the peace of Jerusalem."
That Jacob Bender can deliberately deem an invocation supporting Israel anti-Semitic and Islamophobic is astounding.
But what is even more astounding is CAIR-Philadelphia's silence and indifference to the three Islamic anti-Semitic sermons over a four-month period at the Al Aqsa Mosque in North Philadelphia by guest Imam Abdelmohsen Abouhatab (Nov. 16, 2018: "Oh Servant of Allah, There is a Jew behind me, come and Kill him; Jan 11, 2019: "The propaganda and the media are controlled by the Jews"; Feb. 15, 2019: "The Jews are the vilest people..."). In one video, he tells assembled worshipers:
Remember how Menachem Begin, that Polish crook, would stand next to a pregnant woman, and would make bets whether it is a boy or a girl while the woman was still alive! Then he would slit her belly open, to see whether it is a boy or a girl. Just like that. This happened.
After one of these sermons, a mosque official said, "We thank Abdelmohsen Abouhatab for his wonderful sermon," a piece of information not reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer or Channel 10News.
Why is CAIR Philadelphia silent? Are its spokespeople willfully blind? Could it be that they see nothing wrong with it?
After all, in 2007, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case that found the Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning over $12 million to Hamas. Also, in a 2009 ruling, U.S. District Court judge Jorge A. Solis determined that the U.S. government supplied ample evidence of CAIR's ties to Hamas. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented by U.S. officials. Its cofounder, Omar Ahmad, and chief spokesman Ibrahim Hooper have publicly supported imposing anti-women Islamic law in the United States. And CAIR has been declared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates.
If CAIR Philadelphia wants to be seen as having any credibility to discuss what is anti-Semitic or Islamophobic, it needs to start calling Islamic anti-Semitism what it is and stop calling pro-Israel speech what it is not.