Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and a former member of the California Democratic Party's executive board, has been defeated in his first run for public office. An anonymous flier stirred some controversy during the race, but key background on Elkarra failed to emerge.
In late 2006, California Senator Barbara Boxer gave Basim Elkarra a certificate of appreciation "in recognition of his efforts to protect civil liberties and to build bridges among diverse communities in California." The senator quickly revoked the award, explaining that her California office had not vetted CAIR sufficiently. In "Senators for Terror," Joe Kauffman charted CAIR's connections to Islamic extremism, and cited evidence that, "Elkarra himself is a radical, apart from his connection to CAIR." Elkarra had defended Lodi, California, imam Shabbir Ahmed, who urged Pakistanis to wage jihad against Americans. Another local imam, Mohammed Adil Khan, was building a madrassa to recruit children for violent acts against the United States. Elkarra described Khan, who was later deported, as "a pioneer in interfaith work."