CAIR ‘Civil Rights’ Activist a Classic Anti-Semite

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz

CAIR STAFFERS HAVE PROVEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT THEY WILL ACCEPT AND EXCUSE HATRED AGAINST JEWS WHENEVER THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT.

Islamist Watch, by Samantha Rose and Nicci Thompson, September 17, 2018:

PJ Media

Last week, the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which bills itself as “a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding,” published a press release condemning Sarasota House candidate Tommy Gregory for attending an event apparently organized by seasoned Holocaust denier Peter Gemma. “Tommy Gregory owes an apology to the Florida Jewish community and to all Floridians. We condemn his attendance at a party organized by people associated with Holocaust deniers and white nationalists. Instead of uttering frivolous excuses, Gregory should apologize for his bad judgment in attending this repugnant event,” trumpeted CAIR-Florida communications director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz.

To those who are unfamiliar with CAIR and its particular brand of duplicity, Ruiz’s impassioned defense of Florida’s Jewish population might seem like a sincere, heart-warming manifestation of interfaith solidarity. But a closer examination of Ruiz’s history (not to mention CAIR’s frequent tendency to ignore Islamist expressions of bigotry) shows that CAIR and Ruiz’s concern for Jewish welfare is just as fake as the rest of the group’s carefully curated progressive image.

A Puerto Rican convert to Islam, Wilfredo Ruiz has long parroted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of a type similar to those espoused by the very people Ruiz publicly condemned: Peter Gemma and his associates. Indeed, in 2010, Ruiz published an article on the Islamist website WebIslam parroting classic anti-Semitic falsehoods. One was the popular Nazi canard that the Talmud, an ancient Jewish text, instructs Jews to bury Jesus next to the grave of Muhammad, where Jews then “throw dead dogs and monkeys.” Ruiz also claimed that the Talmud refers to Christians as “idolaters, murderers, fornicators, filth and beasts” and that it includes repeated calls to intolerance and mistreatment, exhorting the Jew to deceive the Christian and “not assist him during illness, pregnancy or death.”

Ruiz’s bizarre claims are easily proven false; there is no mention of Muhammad in the Talmud (as it was written before he was born), and only a few passing references to Jesus or Christians. Presumably unwilling to read the Talmud himself, Ruiz instead mined the work of Justinas Pranaitis, a 19th century defrocked Russian Catholic priest, to support his claims. Pranaitis is remembered for advancing the blood libel against Jews by testifying about supposed Talmudic hatred in a court case against a Jew accused of using Christian children’s blood for Passover cooking.

Pranaitis remains infamous for The Talmud Unmasked, a classic anti-Semitic text that claims to reveal Jewish hatred and Talmudic justification for murder of Christians. Inspired by notorious German anti-Semitic writer August Rohling, the book contains exactly the falsehoods Ruiz presents as fact. Indeed, Ruiz even went so far as to recommend a website with a digitized version of the text—a site whose webmaster notes: “This unchanged, online version of Fr. Pranaitis scholarly book, The Talmud Unmasked, is dedicated to the Holy Infant Martyr St. Simon of Trent, who was mercilessly slayed by the Jews in Trent, Italy on the 21st March, 1475 A.D.”

If it seems odd that these examples of classic anti-Jewish hatred didn’t give Ruiz—a self-styled “civil rights activist”—any pause, allow us to put Ruiz’s bigotry in context.

Ruiz assumed the post of CAIR Florida’s communication director in 2011, after serving as legal counsel and director of the Puerto Rico office of the Miami-based group American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA). Like CAIR, AMANA bills itself as an organization focused on civil rights and serving the community, yet has repeatedly spread anti-Semitic content.

AMANA was founded and is still led by Palestinian-Arab activist and virulent Hamas supporter Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. In 2010, the Anti-Defamation League publicly condemned Zakkout and AMANA for using its website to promote an anti-Semitic video by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Almost 10 years later, a David Duke video in which he accuses Jews of orchestrating the Holocaust in order to justify the creation of Israel remains posted on AMANA’s website.

Since Ruiz joined CAIR-Florida, he has continued to serve as AMANA’s legal advisor, and the groups have worked together to organize pro-Hamas rallies. At one such rally in Miami in 2014, protesters screamed, “We are Hamas” outside the Israeli consulate; Zakkout later posted photos of the rally accompanied by the caption, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

Meanwhile, despite Ruiz’s carefully sanitized public image—for instance, his Huffington Post bio cites his participation in the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education at Hebrew College, and his Twitter account includes impassioned pleas on behalf of religious freedom—he has continued to leave indications of his bigotry on social media. In one case, Ruiz “liked” a Facebook comment denying the Holocaust and asserting, “Hitler wasn’t so bad after all.”

In another case, Ruiz appeared in a 2017 video produced by HispanTV, the Iranian regime’s state-run Spanish-language channel, and then used CAIR’s Spanish-language Facebook page to post it. In the video, a journalist claims that the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers and Israeli government officials fly to Washington, D.C., together, equipped with “bags of money” to buy American politicians. Then, the journalist continues, those officials reimburse themselves with American taxpayer dollars.

Given how often CAIR goes out of its way to condemn what it characterizes as anti-Muslim bias—and how fervently Ruiz tries to appear as an advocate for Jews—one might think that CAIR would deal just as harshly with anti-Semitism among its own ranks as it does with white nationalists, or “Islamophobia” in the ranks of others. Instead, CAIR has proven time and time again that it will accept and excuse hatred against Jews whenever CAIR can get away with it. If CAIR is truly interested in advocating for American communities—Jewish or otherwise— perhaps it should look inward and remove Wilfredo Amr Ruiz from his post.

Samantha Rose Mandeles is the Coordinator for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. Follow her on Twitter at @SRMandeles. Nicci Thomson holds an M.A. in International Security from Massey University and is a writer for Islamist Watch.

‘Muslim UN’ Highlights San Diego Lawsuit Against Islamophobia Curriculum

IPT News, by John Rossomando, September 18, 2018:

A recent report on Islamophobia published by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) appears to affirm its common cause with a Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) effort to change public school curricula and staff training in the name of stopping Islamophobia. The OIC also is known at the “Muslim U.N.” Its 11th Annual Report on Islamophobia report released in July discussed the still pending lawsuit challenging the San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) cooperation with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Almost all of the OIC’s Islamophobia reports cite CAIR data.

The OIC’s annual report mentions the lawsuit against the SDUSD, saying it was brought “by several parents who believed the district was unfairly favoring Muslim students.” It claims the school district has seen a dramatic increase in bullying and discrimination.

It also referenced a CAIR Islamophobia report that claimed over half of California’s Muslim students had been bullied. This paper influenced the SDUSD’s April 2017 decision to enter into a formal partnership with CAIR. Yet the SDUSD’s internal statistics showed only two reported incidents of anti-Muslim bullying in 2015-16 among the entire 130,000 student school district.

The OIC’s interest is unsurprising. The 57-nation organization that touts itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world” has urged Western educational curriculum be rewritten for the past decade. It also hoped to use “trade and cultural relations” between Muslim and Western countries to influence curriculum changes.

CAIR entered into a formal partnership in 2010 with the OIC’s Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to “redress the image of Islam and Muslims in textbooks.”

OIC officials regard Islamophobia as the “worst form of terrorism.” Like CAIR, they consider terms like “Islamic extremists” and connections between Islam and terrorism to be bigoted. However, an OIC wing devoted to Islamic law ruled in 2003 that Palestinian suicide bombings against Israelis were not terrorism. OIC representatives decided in 2002 that Hamas and similar groups weren’t terrorists.

CAIR representatives attended ISESCO’s 2015 conference and met with its director general, who briefed them on ISESCO’s activities in the field of education, among other issues.

ISESCO’s General Conference called for partnering with civil-society organizations in 2015 to alter the portrayal of Islam and Muslims in Western curricula.

That’s part of what CAIR is trying to do in San Diego. It suggested the school district implement an anti-Islamophobia curriculum in the name of fighting bullying that included textbooks including:

· Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, which includes a chapter called “Thinking About Allah“;

· Does my Head Look Big in This?, which tells the story of a Muslim teenager who decides to wear a headscarf;

· Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, about Ramadan.

CAIR provided the SDUSD board with training materials entitled Teaching against Islamophobia. Among other things, it taught that 9/11 reflected the “the rage toward the U.S. pulsing through the veins of many Muslims.”

The federal lawsuit filed by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) on behalf of local parents argued that, by creating a program specifically for Muslim students, the school district is discriminating against all other students. The school board formally withdrew three months later, after the lawsuit claimed that CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad acknowledged CAIR is a religious organization fulfilling a religious mission. That admission made formal partnership with CAIR a potential violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause dividing church and state.

School district emails, however, show that work to implement a CAIR-sponsored anti-Islamophobia curriculum continued. An FCDF motion for an injunction blocking the school district from working with CAIR remains pending.

CAIR Shops Its School Program Nationwide

CAIR’s effort to influence public schools now extends beyond California. It also includes schools in Washington state, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Illinois. In a July letter, FCDF warned Seattle schools that collaborating with CAIR to “address Islamophobia” could violate the Constitution.

“After facing a huge setback for its pilot program in San Diego, CAIR is doubling down on its ‘anti-Islamophobia’ school agenda nationwide,” FCDF Executive Director Dan Piedra said. “Any school district that opens its doors to CAIR is empowering a radical sectarian syndicate that seeks elevate Muslim students as a protected class.”

CAIR Washington representatives delivered a workshop at a Seattle high school in May, where they spoke about accommodating fasting Muslim students and their families during Ramadan and confronting bullying.

Teachers in multiple Minneapolis-St. Paul area school districts participated in a CAIR seminar last month called “Positive Interactions Training for Teachers.”

One participant said that CAIR misidentified Christian Syrians living in Mankato, Minn. as Muslims.

A separate PowerPoint used in a similar program last January included slides that called for making restrooms available for Muslims to do ritual washing before prayer; making potlucks halal by providing pork- and alcohol-free options for adult staff; and providing rooms within schools where Muslims can pray.

Muslims can pack halal lunches and wait until afterschool to pray, Piedra said, adding that the courts have not established an absolute right to religious accommodation. Schools can deny religious accommodations if they decide they “materially disrupt normal operations.”

CAIR’s Minnesota chapter also partnered last year with the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) to offer advice about “immigrant and refugee families.” MPS also lists CAIR Minnesota on a separate page as a resource on immigrants. Minneapolis is home to a large Muslim Somali-American community.

Minnesota’s state Department of Education recommends CAIR under the category of “More Resources to Help Families and Others Address Bullying.” Its website provides links to CAIR-written guides such as “An Educator’s Guide to Understanding Islamic Religious Practices” and “Know Your Rights.”

“CAIR-MN’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding,” the Minnesota Department of Education said.

In Pennsylvania, CAIR performed sensitivity training in November 2016 in the School District of Philadelphia in the wake of President Trump’s election. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recommends CAIR Chicago’s Volunteer Activist (VA) Program and Internship & Externship Program for high school students.

“Understanding that CPS requires service-learning to meet graduation standards, our office host opportunities available throughout the year for high school students to earn service-learning hours, or simply enrich their experience and insight to advocacy and civil rights efforts,” the Chicago Public Schools wrote on a page on its website.

Parents should be concerned about letting CAIR “dictate what should or shouldn’t be taught about Islam,” Piedra said.

CAIR’s Long Relationship With the OIC

CAIR’s cooperation with the OIC goes back decades. Awad spoke at a 1996 invitation-only OIC-sponsored conference in Toronto. He called on Muslims to engage in an all-out public relations campaign to educate the media, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs reported. “CAIR and the OIC are already in lockstep on virtually all issues,” IPT Executive Director Steven Emerson noted in 2007.

A 2007 CAIR press release stated that Awad met with then OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to discuss “cooperation on future projects.”

“I’m pleased to meet with Ihsanoglu to discuss the situation of Muslims in the United States and to work on future projects,” the press release said Awad told the Arab News.

Awad attended OIC sponsored conferences in 2008 and 2009.

He gave a presentation on Islamophobia in Western societies at a 2010 OIC conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil and represented CAIR at an OIC conference in 2013.

“Education and engagement are key to challenging the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia,” Awad said at the 2010 conference.

He praised Ihsanoglu in 2013 when Ihsanoglu visited CAIR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. This was after Ihsanoglu led the unsuccessful charge to get the United Nations to criminalize blasphemy against Islam.

“We appreciate Secretary General Ihsanoglu’s vision, leadership and hard work to increase the effectiveness and profile of OIC’s efforts internationally, and we appreciate his support of our work at CAIR,” Awad said.

CAIR serves as the “OIC’s foot soldiers,” said Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). “There doesn’t have to be any proven evidence of coordination between the two groups,” Jasser said. “They are exactly on the same ideological page.”

Islamophobia hoaxes and their cynical defenders.

The American Spectator, by Benjamin Baird, September 14, 2018:

“You can’t believe everything you read, especially if it’s scrawled across a restaurant receipt.”

That was the conclusion of at least one major media outlet after a Texas steakhouse waiter posted an image of a fake handwritten note on Facebook to convince Americans that racism “still exists.” But if you can’t trust everything you read on social media, how should readers respond when the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group nurtures the same unsubstantiated fiction?

With chapters in more than a dozen states, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) works to “promote a positive image of Islam” while defending Muslims “who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes.” Therefore, when 20-year-old Khalil Cavil claimed to receive a “No tip for terrorist” message from a customer in lieu of gratuity, CAIR’s activists and paid attorneys didn’t hesitate to publicize the encounter, promoting Cavil’s specious verdict that “this racism, and this hatred still exists.”

Although the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR as a terrorist entity in 2014, and the FBI has banned outreach with the group because of its suspected ties to terrorism, newspaper editors and broadcast journalists continue to seek out CAIR officials for public comment in the aftermath of both real and perceived anti-Muslim incidents.

Oldest Trick in the Book

CAIR had every reason to approach Cavil’s allegations with skepticism and restraint, especially given the historical susceptibility these complaints are to forgery.

Consider the case of a Tennessee Red Lobster employee who posted a receipt online in 2013 showing that she was tipped “none” followed by a written racial slur; or the gay server working at a New Jersey restaurant who accused a couple of refusing to tip him and writing, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle” on a receipt. Cavill’s spoof was remarkably similar to a 2017 case where a Virginia waitress presented a receipt which stated, “don’t tip Black people.” In each instance, follow-on investigations proved that the so-called victims were, in fact, defrauding the public.

While dozens of media outlets across the country were faithfully publishing virtual carbon copies of CAIR’s story of racial and religious intolerance in Texas, the Saltgrass Steak House was busy conducting an internal investigation of their own. Terry Turney, chief operating officer of Saltgrass, eventually concluded that “our employee fabricated the entire story.” Turney remarked that while “Racism of any form is intolerable… Falsely accusing someone of racism is equaling [sic] disturbing.”

Turney is right to so forcefully denounce these deceptive acts. When the media grants column inches to these fantasists, they only succeed in distracting from and diminishing efforts to combat genuine instances of bigotry.

Letting Go

Once CAIR becomes invested in a hate crime hoax, its representatives have trouble disengaging from the false narrative they so fervently defended.

After Cavil’s delusional story began unraveling around him and his lies were exposed as a sham, CAIR refused to take down their supporting story. The article still appears under its original, condemnatory title, although a tiny disclaimer reads: “Waiter admits making up story about customer who called him a terrorist and didn’t tip.”

Refusing to adequately correct the record regarding falsified hate crimes has become an ugly tradition at CAIR. In December 2017, long after the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office ruled out religious animus and determined that a Muslim teen was beaten by three of her classmates in a fight “over a boy,” CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Ruiz said that he was “worried how in-depth the investigation was made.”

In the same manner, CAIR’s New York chapter refused to correct or unpublish an article supporting the discredited story of an 18-year-old Muslim woman who, in December 2016, alleged that three Donald Trump supporters tried to remove her hijab and called her a terrorist. The falsified report remains on CAIR’s webpages and social media accounts, even after the offender pleaded guilty and was sentenced for falsely reporting an incident and disorderly conduct.

Stressed Out

Ibrahim Hooper, the CAIR communications director responsible for posting Cavil’s canard, has counterintuitively suggested that the Muslim community “is under great psychological stress and tension right now, and that that in itself can cause mental health issues that lead to these types of incidents.”

CAIR-DFW reinforced this narrative when, just days after reporting a hoax in their own backyard, they shared an article on Facebook detailing a University of California-San Francisco study which defined Islamophobia as a public health crisis causing “psychological distress,” a poor diet, and other detrimental symptoms. Unfortunately for the Dallas branch, they inadvertently linked to an article that was highly critical of the study and disputed its conclusions.

As a member of the “Islamophobia lobby,” CAIR’s net function is to aggressively search for and punctuate any discernible act of discrimination against Muslims. Despite their controversial past, CAIR’s representatives can preserve a modicum of legitimacy by orchestrating a comprehensively overblown Islamophobia crisis and convincing lawmakers that CAIR is uniquely empowered to expose and respond to this anti-Muslim bigotry.

Though CAIR’s Islamists may have a complicated relationship with the truth, journalists should be held to a higher standard. By injudiciously promoting CAIR’s worldview and accepting their Islamophobia narrative at face value, the establishment press does real and lasting damage to national unity and social cohesion in America.

Benjamin Baird is a writer with Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

***

CJR: I received a comment from someone who said CAIR had not been on their radar prior to reading this article. I will therefore link to a good brief on what they are all about at Discover the Networks.

CAIR in the Classroom

Reprinted from Algemeiner.com.

In 1993, Ibrahim Hooper, director of strategic communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said that, “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.” Twenty-five years later, CAIR could be making headway on that goal, through its relationships with US public school districts in at least three states.

CAIR — an Islamist group and United Arab Emirates-designated terrorist organizationthat bills itself as a defender of civil rights — has achieved special concessions for Muslim students and launched the inappropriate insertion of religion into publicly-funded education. Meanwhile, pushback from parents and outside organizations is building.

Seattle Public Schools’ partnership with CAIR’s Washington chapter is the latest incident to cause controversy, but the relationship dates back to at least 2011, when CAIR-WA sent the district a letter proposing accommodations for Muslim students and classroom lessons on Islam. Then as now, CAIR-WA claimed to be fighting “anti-Muslim bullying.” To that end, in 2012 and 2013 the organization contacted the school district to complain about “Islamophobia” among teachers.

That approach eventually paid off. In a Ramadan crowd-funding campaign in May of this year, the CAIR-WA chapter outlined its plan “to provide educational training for teachers and staff on things like Ramadan, Eid, and how educators can support Muslim students in the classroom.” Accordingly, that same month, CAIR-WA ran a “professional development session” in a Seattle high school that “addressed providing identity-safe spaces in schools for Muslim families” and “how to support students during Ramadan.”

In July, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), a legal advocacy group, sent a letter to the Seattle school district warning that partnering with CAIR and “discriminating in favor of students based on their religion” was a violation of the First Amendment that, if continued, would lead to legal action. (This was no empty threat: CAIR’s National Executive Director, Nihad Awadadmittedin 2016 that distributing the group’s publications to schools is “both a religious and educational exercise.”) FCDF then filed a public records request asking for emails between school officials and CAIR staff.

In a similar situation, the FCDF sued the San Diego Unified School District in 2017 on behalf of several local parents, alleging that its relationship with CAIR set up a “subtle, discriminatory scheme that establishes Muslim students as the privileged religious group.” That partnership began with an all-too-familiar “anti-Islamophobia bullying initiative” developed by CAIR’s San Diego chapter, focusing on Muslim holidays, “safe spaces” for Muslim students, and staff training about Muslim culture.

On the advice of its lawyers, the San Diego school board voted in 2017 to sever its ties with CAIR, but the FCDF filed an injunction in February alleging that the relationship was ongoing and calling for the release of all related correspondence. (Meanwhile, another California school district, Cajon Valley Union, is currently under pressure from CAIR to adopt its anti-bullying programs.)

Although no formal agreement yet exists, CAIR is following this same pattern with school districts in Minnesota, particularly Minneapolis, due to its large Somali refugee population. The organization’s local chapter, CAIR-MN, filed a complaint in 2010 with the US Department of Education alleging harassment of Muslim students, although it had begun conducting independent “mediation sessions and diversity trainings for district staff” the previous year.

In 2013, a member of the Columbia Heights School Board resigned at CAIR-MN’s urging, due to a Facebook comment (that he claimed was not his own) rejecting the idea of installing foot-washing stations and bidets in high school bathrooms to accommodate Muslim students.

CAIR-MN continued its efforts in 2016, complaining that various school officials were not responding quickly enough to alleged hate crimes against Muslim students, while calling for increased protection for such students statewide.

Earlier this month, CAIR-MN offered an in-house training session for educators, “Positive Interactions Training for Teachers,” that included a talk on “Understanding Islamophobia and Bullying.” Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Education website recommends — alone among religious organizations — CAIR-MN and its publication, “An Educator’s Guide to Understanding Islamic Religious Practices,” under “community resources” to “address bullying.”

Spotting a now familiar pattern, the FCDF sent a data records request to the Minneapolis public school district on August 17, calling for emails that show whether collaboration exists between the district and CAIR-MN. Minnesota would do well to learn from the mistakes of Washington and California, and avoid another ill-advised partnership with CAIR.

Given CAIR’s Islamist heritage, mission, and actions, no public school district should fall for its duplicitous claims of fighting bullying and “Islamophobia.” Its classroom activities endanger America’s future by opening students to indoctrination into a virulently anti-American, anti-Western, and antisemitic ideology.

Why Are Elected Politicians Legitimizing Terrorist Front Group?

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
June 29, 2018

In jumping to appear before cameras and rallies to condemn this week’s Supreme Court ruling on President Trump’s travel ban, several elected Democrats empowered and legitimized an Islamist group whose leaders continue to engage in radical, incendiary speech.

At a rally Tuesday that was well covered by national news outlets, at least seven Democrats from the House and Senate spoke and shared the dais with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad. CAIR also was among the rally’s 50 sponsors.

As we have repeatedly reported since 2009, the FBI has a formal policy prohibiting “outreach” – or communication outside of investigations – with CAIR due to its documented roots in a Hamas-support network created by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” then-Assistant Director Richard Powers wrote. That policy remains in effect.

But that didn’t stop Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, D-Mass.Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. from participating in the CAIR co-sponsored rally.

Blumenthal exchanged a lengthy greeting with Awad (in the video, look behind the speaker at the two men spotlighted).

An FBI surveillance tape caught Awad attending a 1993 meeting of Hamas members and supporters in Philadelphia plotting how to “derail” U.S. peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. The group’s opposition was rooted in the Oslo Accords’ provisions which included recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and its elevation of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization, which would marginalize the Islamist Hamas terrorist group.

Awad also is included in a phone list of the Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” members, along Hamas political leader Moussa Abu Marzook.

“I am in support of the Hamas movement,” Awad said during a panel discussion at Barry University in 1994. He repeated his support for Palestinian terrorist groups during a 2004 Al-Jazeera interview.

“I truly do not condemn these organizations,” Awad said. “I will condemn them only when I see that media outlets are requiring the heads of Jewish foundations in America to condemn Israel for its treatment of innocent people; for killing people whether in Lebanon, Qana, or Palestine; for bulldozing their homes; and for their flagrant human rights violations.

“We do not and will not condemn any liberation movement inside Palestine or Lebanon.”

Awad’s lieutenants sometimes go even further. Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay chapter, defended Hamas rocket attacks against Israel.

“Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist. #FreePalestine v @KathlynGadd,” Billoo tweeted in November 2014.

She also compares Americans who join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to those who join ISIS.

“Both ISIS and the IDF are violent, immoral gangs. They’re literally baby killers,” Billoo wrote in May.

CAIR Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush expressed the same sentiment weeks earlier.

“Do you know how many hundreds of Jewish American kids are recruited to join the Israeli occupation army?” Ayloush said. “No one has ever established a CVE program to see why normal American kids leave their homes to become part of an army committing war crimes… They go to the American Muslim community, although the number of Muslims who join ISIS and Al-Qaeda is … tiny.”

Billoo has a strong phobia of Jews with whom she disagrees. She expressed the horror of running into “Zionists war mongers from @AIPAC” in elevators on Capitol Hill duringher participation in the US Conference of Muslim Organizations (USCMO)’s lobbying effort in May.

Despite its dubious history and record, Blumenthal has maintained a long relationship with CAIR’s Connecticut chapter and its former Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi. Dhaouadi believes that Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians is not terrorism.

“Resisting the occupation is NOT terrorism it is a legitimate right of defending one self from your land from real terrorists i.e. IDF,” Dhaouadi wrote.

And a year ago, he shared a video from Abdel Majeed al-Zindani, considered a spiritual leader both to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and Osama bin Laden, on his Facebook page.

The old joke says “the most dangerous place in Washington” is between a politician and microphone. And it’s a given that Democrats would want to be seen condemning a court ruling upholding Trump administration policy. But awareness also is key. Either the seven from Tuesday’s rally didn’t bother to read the list of sponsors or they saw CAIR was among them and thought that was just fine.

Either scenario is unacceptable.

CAIR Official Loses Interfaith Award Due to History of Hate

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, June 20, 2018:

Recently, the interfaith organization People Acting in Community Together (PACT) rescinded an award honoring Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Northern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that was designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. FBI wiretaps in 1993 reveal that CAIR was established to deceptively push the Islamist agenda in America.  You can read more about CAIR’s background here.

In a series of tweets, Billoo blamed the loss of the award on her “vocal support of Palestinian human rights” and claimed there was pressure to rescind the award from Jewish members of the organization who opposed her criticism of Israel.

Within her thread, she adds that her opposition is with Zionism, which she describes as “racist.”

In the past, Billoo has praised the terrorist group Hezbollah, tweeting “AH [All Hail] for Hezbollah having the courage to do what the Arab governments won’t” and has likened the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas to a victim of rape implying her support of Hamas rockets being fired into the civilian population of Israel.

A tweet of hers from 2009, where she casually mentions that she is listening to the sermon of the noted anti-Semitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan while at the gym has recently gotten a lot of attention.  Farrakhan regularly calls Jews “Satanic” and claims that they “control everything and mostly everybody.”

Billoo stepped in hot water in 2014 when the Clarion Project broke the story about how she and other CAIR officials were suggesting that fallen U.S. soldiers shouldn’t be honored on Memorial Day. Billoo did, however, find one “soldier” she felt comfortable honoring: On May 25, she promoted an article from the anti-Semitic and anti-American Nation of Islam that asked for help for a “black liberation soldier” named Imam Jamil al-Amin:

Billoo says that PACT proposed giving someone else from CAIR the award, or even giving it to CAIR as an organization, However, Billoo refused.

“As outsiders to our community and organization, it was unacceptable for them to attempt to dictate who our leaders are and to make an award to the organization contingent on the (executive director) not accepting it,” she said.

Strangely enough, the executive director of PACT recently published a statement apologizing for rescinding the award and “bring harm” to Billoo and the PACT’s Muslim partners.

IPT Exclusive: PR Firm Tied to CAIR Linked to Sliming of Maajid Nawaz

by John Rossomando
IPT News
June 20, 2018

It’s always been curious why Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, wound up in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) controversial journalist’s guide listing “anti-Muslim extremists.” Nawaz is a former extremist who founded the U.K-based Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that counters Islamic radicalism.

The answer may have been hiding in plain sight.

The report, which was removed from the SPLC’s website in April, noted that it was compiled with input from ReThink Media, the Center for New Community and MediaMatters. Now that collaboration has cost the SPLC nearly $3.4 million in a legal settlement and that included multiple apologies to Nawaz.

“Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect. We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a video statement.

SPLC attacked Nawaz in the guide for saying there was little difference dividing non-violent jihadists from the violent ones ideologically, except that “they disagree only on tactics.” Islamists share a common desire to build a global caliphate, but the non-violent ones tend to seek that change through the ballot.

In accepting the SPLC’s apology, Nawaz asked it to oppose all forms of extremism and join Quilliam in fighting Islamic extremism.

“This should be an instructive moment for all of us. Too much, and for too long, the left – many on the left – have been trying to shut down any debate or critique or criticism around Islam, especially by Muslims within Muslim communities,” Nawaz said.

ReThink’s contributions to the discredited guide are unknown. Neither ReThink nor the SPLC responded to requests for comment for this story.

When the guide was written, ReThink Media employed a former leader with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who has a history of radicalism. And since then, ReThink hired Corey Saylor, CAIR’s former national legislative affairs director.

CAIR and Nawaz hold diametrically opposing viewpoints on a number of key issues. While CAIR has tried to minimize the threat of Islamic radicalization, and its officials routinely accuse law enforcement of setting up innocent Muslims, Nawaz presents his own life story as an example of its lure.

In addition, Nawaz advocates for reform within Islam. CAIR has largely ignored the Muslim Reform Movement, a fledgling group of North American Muslims who aspire to spur “an Islamic renewal [which] must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate.”

And Nawaz does not hate Israel, publicly condemning Hamas and Hizballah, something CAIR officials seem to avoid at all costs, often angrily.

Nawaz also offers the public a different image of a Western Muslim, in contrast to CAIR’s mostly conservative Sunni leadership.

If that didn’t contribute to Nawaz’s smearing, CAIR likely was not upset to see him included in the SPLC report. CAIR’s Florida chapter still has a copy of the report posted on its website even though the SPLC has taken it down, apologized for its content and agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam nearly $3.4 million

ReThink’s CAIR Connection

Zainab Chaudary is a former civil rights coordinator for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter who was part of ReThink Media’s Security and Rights Collaborative in 2016 when Nawaz was added to the SPLC’s list. Chaudary’s LinkedIn profile says she consults with the SPLC and MediaMatters in her role as a ReThink senior media associate.

ReThink Media, a self-described “part PR firm, part advocacy organization,” acts as a “communications hub” to help organizations on the left hone their messages. It also is linked to a funding consortium created by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and undo many of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Combating “Islamophobia” was a key objective for OSF’s board between 2015 and 2018, records show.

Chaudary served as an editor-in-chief of a Rutgers University Muslim student newsletter called Nasihah. Following the 9/11 attacks, Nasihah ran a column defending the Taliban’s decision not to hand over Osama bin Laden.

“I don’t blame the Taliban at all for keeping Osama because, as they say, no proof has been presented against him,” wrote Arif Hussain. “If America is so sure that he is involved, what’s stopping them from coming out with the proof?? Or is it that there is no proof against him?? It seems that Osama has become a scapegoat for every terrorist action anywhere in the world. They just want to get rid of him, regardless of whether he is responsible or not.”

The U.S. military released a video in December 2001 – at least a month before this was published – showing bin Laden discussing his advanced knowledge of the attacks and his expectations for damage.

A letter to the editor in the same issue said that even though a “proper Islamic state” capable of declaring “jihad against the evildoers” didn’t exist, Muslims should protect themselves against “evil oppressors” and prepare for the “ultimate battle that Islam must fight.”

Also during Chaudary’s time as editor-in-chief, Nasihah described Kashmiri jihadists as “mujahideen” and ran a communiqué by Hamas’ Palestinian Information Center.

More recently, Chaudary complained that the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program unfairly targeted Muslims.

“How do you quantify what causes someone to become radicalized? And how do you separate that out from normal teenage behavior? So these kids are finding themselves under scrutiny where they can’t speak out. They can’t be politically active or engaged or activists even because they’re under suspicion of being radicalized,” Chaudary saidin a September 2016 Huffington Post interview.

She also called for the end of CVE programs in 2016, saying there wasn’t a single common profile for terrorists, and “we can’t deal through the lens of law enforcement.”

In addition to working with SPLC, Chaudary served on a 2015 panel that advised CAIR and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender for its report Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States. That report targeted the Investigative Project on Terrorism among others.

ReThink Media deepened its CAIR connection in December, when it added Saylor as managing director of the firm’s Security and Rights Collaborative. Saylor appeared last month at a “Challenging Islamophobia” conference sponsored by CAIR’s Minnesota chapter. There, he complained that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are more likely to issue a press release about “an incident” when a perpetrator is perceived to be Muslim.

It’s not clear on what Saylor based this claim. But the Justice Department issued two press releases about white supremacist activities that same week. One announced a guilty plea by a white supremacist who threatened two U.S. senators. A second release announced the arrest of 57 white supremacist gang members for conspiring to commit kidnapping and drug trafficking. A month earlier, the DOJ touted the convictionof three white Kansas men who plotted to blow up an apartment complex with predominantly Somali Muslim tenants. Officials credited “a confidential source … for thwarting the attack and saving the lives of innocent victims.”

Like Chaudary, Saylor vigorously opposes CVE programs. In the United Kingdom, Nawaz advised former Prime Minister David Cameron on combating violent extremism. Quilliam Executive Director Haras Rafiq testified in February before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Non-Proliferation, and Trade Subcommittee about the role of women in CVE.

Saylor also has criticized FBI surveillance. FBI recruitment of informants in the Muslim community “impedes First Amendment-protected conversation,” he told the Indypendent, a progressive New York outlet, last year. “So people are afraid to have an innocent conversation about politics, because they might say something wrong.”

CVE outreach programs make American Muslims worry that government friendliness toward them is a ploy, he said in 2013. “That’s because too often in the past you’ve had this hand reached out in friendship while the other is behind their back with handcuffs in it.”

Saylor won’t condemn Islamist terrorist organizations by name, other than ISIS or al-Qaida.

Pressed to condemn Hamas and Hizballah by name in a 2008 Fox News interview, Saylor would only say “CAIR condemns terrorist acts, whoever commits them, wherever they commit them, whenever they commit them.” He also minimized the significance of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee. It merely was “a group that existed in the early 1990s that seemed to have strengthening pro-Palestinian work at its core,” he said. Internal committee records seized by the FBI told a dramatically different story. The Palestine Committee, of which CAIR was a member, was created to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

In addition to its work on the discredited SPLC report, ReThink Media compiled lists of go-to sources on Muslim issues for journalists looking for reaction quotes. Many of those recommended have radical views. A list assembled after President Trump announced his travel ban, for example, lists Chaudary as the ReThink Media contact person. It also created an online initiative called 8.5Million.org that lists many of the same people featured on the travel-ban source list as points of contact for reporters.

“You’re a reporter on deadline. You need a quote or a source quickly, and he or she needs to be responsive, media-savvy, and an expert. You don’t have time to cultivate new relationships or start from square one. Who do you call?” 8.5 Million.org asks.

Well, you might call CAIR San Francisco Bay Area Executive Director Zahra Billoo, whose picture appears on 8.5 Million.org’s landing page. She publicly thankedReThink Media’s staff for visiting her at CAIR’s office, noting she baked cupcakes for them. Billoo admiresSPLC-designated hate group leader Louis Farrakhan, compares the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with ISIS, and openly apologizes for Hamas.

“Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist. #FreePalestine v @KathlynGadd,” Billoo tweeted in November 2014.

Another recommended source on ReThink Media’s 8.5 Million.com list is CAIR Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly. He falsely accused the FBI of shooting a Detroit imam after he had been “tied and bound.”

His animus against the FBI also extends to sting operations aimed at nabbing potential jihadists before they can strike. He defended Sami Osmakac, who was convicted after a 2014 sting operation showed him trying to carry out a “second 9/11” in Tampa. “I’m concerned that the government’s tactics turned him into a greater threat than he could have been on his own,” Shibly said.

Farhana Khera from the legal group Muslim Advocates also appears on the 8.7 million.com site and on the travel ban contact list. She played a central role in convincing the Open Society Foundations to approve creating a program aimed at rolling back Bush-era U.S. national security programs, documents leaked by Russian intelligence-linked hackers calling themselves DC Leaks showed. OSF and its funding partners contributed more than $40 million to the grant program over the past decade.

Khera successfully convinced the Obama administration to expunge law-enforcement training materials she deemed as offensive to Muslims. She and Muslim Advocates also succeeded in getting the New York Police Department to end its mosque surveillance program in 2014 in conjunction with other OSF funded groups.

A 2007 memo Khera co-authored led to the creation the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC). It became a collaborative effort funded by OSF, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Proteus Fund.

ReThink Media is inextricably tied to the NSHRC. Its founder and director Lynn Fahselt has served as senior adviser of the NSHRC’s “Security & Rights Communications Collaborative” since 2008. Fahselt lobbied OSF’s board to create “an online communications ‘hub'” on behalf of ReThink Media in May 2008. ReThink Media suggested that this “hub” coordinate messaging and provide media training for groups under the NSHRC’s umbrella.

In a world increasingly hostile to Muslims, “nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups need to be equipped with coordinated messages that will resonate with a broad public, a 2011 OSF document says.

It notes that ReThink Media specifically helped huddle and coordinate messaging with these advocacy groups before and after U.S. Rep. Peter King’s 2011 congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization.

Considering Nawaz’s belief in the reality of Muslim radicalization, his defense of Israel and discussion of the need for reform within Islam, avowed opponents like Chaudary or Saylor could have an ax to grind with him.

Working with ReThink Media and Chaudary may have cost SPLC dearly. It should ask itself whether treating CAIR or ReThink Media as credible partners or advisers was worth it.