IPT EXCLUSIVE: DHS Hires CAIR to Train French Officials

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by Steven Emerson
IPT News
December 14, 2016

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) facilitated a training session last week for a French police delegation, in conjunction with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Community Engagement Office in Tampa, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has confirmed with DHS officials and other agencies.

This session stands in contrast with the FBI’s 2009 policy not to engage with CAIR outside of criminal investigations due to questions about the Hamas ties of its top executives. An FBI official wrote that “until 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.” That FBI policy toward CAIR remains in effect, and was publicly reaffirmed in 2013.

CAIR-Florida issued a press release Dec. 8 giving details of the event, and posted numerous photos of the French delegation on its Facebook page. The training session was devoted to showing the French officials “how to effectively challenge violent extremist individuals of all backgrounds and prevent hate crimes, while protecting civil rights and challenging profiling and discrimination,” the release said.

Several French counter-terror officials received this training, including a representative of France’s Ministry of the Interior and many police chiefs.

1915They presented Nezar Hamze, CAIR-Florida’s regional operations director, with a medallion bearing the French national colors and inscribed: “Public Safety Departmental Directorate at Bouches-du-Rhone / Discipline – Valor – Devotion.”

“We appreciated the opportunity to communicate how restricting liberty encourages hate crimes and violence and that preserving liberty and civil rights is key to preserving peace and security,” CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly said in the release.

This indicates that the thrust of this training was devoted to discouraging counter-terror activities within Muslim communities, which CAIR often has falsely represented as infringing upon the civil liberties of Muslims. CAIR officials repeatedly urge Muslim Americans not to cooperate with the FBI.

DHS and the State Department participated in this CAIR training of French officials despite the well-documented record of CAIR’s ties to terrorists. Internal Muslim Brotherhood records obtained by the FBI place CAIR and its founders at the core of a Brotherhood-created Hamas support network in the United States known as the Palestine Committee.

CAIR’s Powerful Ties

CAIR officials enjoyed close relations with the Obama administration despite the FBI’s evidence linking it to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Hamas. DHS/State Department coordination with CAIR is nothing new. The State Department sent CAIR officialsabroad to conduct foreign outreach.

The State Department hosted CAIR officials in October 2015 to discuss Syria and “the need … to challenge [alleged] aggressive Israeli actions targeting the Al Aqsa mosque compound, one of the holiest sites in Islam.”

Top CAIR officials repeatedly received White House invitations and participated in White House conference calls. DHS collaborates with CAIR on numerous non-public projects, and funnels anti-terrorism funds allocated by Congress.

CAIR received a sub-grant of $70, 324 from DHS in 2015, records show.

Hassan Shibly: Terrorist Apologist

Considering Shibly’s statements that Islamist ideology has nothing to do with terrorism and the rash of jihadist attacks that have rocked France since January 2015, his involvement in the training should be cause for alarm.

In an April 21, 2013 interview with OnIslam, Shibly said that, “American political scientists have made it very clear that those who commit acts of terrorism have nothing to do with religion and are often motivated by political, not religious, reasons. Actually, such attacks can never be justified and truly are nothing more than the result of having a twisted and sick mind.”

In a June 2014 blog post, Shibly argued that the purported “FBI entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” was an example of tyranny that strayed away from the “great ideals of liberty, equality and justice.”

In his view, the FBI manufactures terrorists through sting operations such as that against Sami Osmakac, convicted in 2014 on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of a fully automatic firearm.

“I’m concerned that the government’s own tactics turned him into a greater threat than he could have been on his own,” Shibly told the Tampa Tribune in a June 3, 2014 article. “There’s no need to enable a Hollywood-style plot … Would Osmakac have had the ideas and the means to do this crime but for the government informant?”

Shibly also is helping a family sue the FBI, alleging an agent unjustly shot and killed a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev after hours of questioning in his Orlando home in 2013.

Independent investigations, requested by CAIR, completed by the Justice Department and a Florida state attorney found that Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” attacked the agent shortly after acknowledging involvement in a separate triple-murder case in Massachusetts. Todashev continued charging after being shot, prompting the agent to fire more.

Shibly rejected the findings, saying only Todashev could “contradict the government’s narrative,” but he was dead.

Kareem Shora: CAIR’s Ally at DHS

CAIR-Florida posted this image of Hassan Shibly and Kareem Shora at the French delegation program.

CAIR-Florida posted this image of Hassan Shibly and Kareem Shora at the French delegation program.

According to a source, Kareem Shora played a key role in organizing the French delegation’s CAIR training. Shora serves with the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) and a Community Liaison Council with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

He has a long record of denying the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. Last July, for example, Shora claimed that it was an “unfortunate reality” that Muslims were portrayed as “more vulnerable” to “potential recruitment to terrorist activities…including those represented by Daesh.” Instead of devising ways to counter this “unfortunate reality,” Shora said that the DHS was trying to “promote the notion” that Muslims were no more likely than anyone else to be recruited into terror organizations:

“It’s not because they’re Muslims. They represent nothing of Islam. Daesh represents nothing of Islam or a state for that matter, quote unquote. So I think our position, as U.S. government, is to advocate that point every opportunity we get. And from a Homeland Security perspective, in order to build a society that’s resilient to all threats, regardless of the nature of that threat, our job is to make sure that these communities don’t end up being categorized as being vulnerable, because they are in fact the ones most suffering as a result of those attacks.”

Shora helped leading Islamist figures attend DHS meetings, including Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and, Ingrid Mattson of the Islamic Society of North America, records obtained by the IPT through the Freedom of Information Act show.

DHS could have turned to any number of organizations and people to work with the French delegation. Choosing an Islamist group whose ties to a terrorist group rendered it persona non grata with the FBI is either a sign of dangerous incompetence or institutional arrogance.

Obama Eid Celebration Again Empowers Islamists Over Reformers

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

IPT NewsJuly 21, 2016

The White House held a celebration Thursday afternoon to honor Eid al Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. While no guest list has been made public, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned that it includes a number of Islamist activists who have espoused views in direct contrast with American policy.

Among them were several officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a former official who remains close to the organization. In contrast, Muslim Americans who believe CAIR and other Islamist groups are not representative of the community’s diverse viewpoints were not invited.

The White House declined to comment to the IPT or release a complete list of invitees.

The inclusion of so many CAIR officials shows that the United States government has wildly different views about the organization.

FBI policy since 2008 prohibits engagement with CAIR, which touts itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and the country’s “largest Muslim civil liberties organization.”

But the FBI cut off CAIR’s access after its agents uncovered CAIR’s darker history.Internal documents and eyewitness accounts prove that CAIR was born into a network of Muslim Brotherhood-created support groups in the United States. Each branch of that network, known as the “Palestine Committee,” shared a mission of boosting the Islamist movement in general and Hamas in particular.

Until it determines “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,” a senior official explained in writing in 2009. [Emphasis added]

Here’s what federal prosecutors privy to the same evidence wrote in 2007:

CAIR has tried to ignore or minimize these statements. But it has never acknowledged the connections to the Hamas support network or ever tried to claim that it has evolved since then and no longer pursues its original secret agenda. It has had only one executive director in its history, and he was listed in a roster of the network’s members (see No. 25, Nihad Awad).

Despite this wealth of evidence, Thursday’s Eid celebration shows that the message to CAIR is a little different at the Obama White House: Come on in!

At least four CAIR officials were invited. Among them, a man who called the 2008 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza a “genocide” and who likens the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to ISIS, and a man who accuses the FBI of setting up innocent Muslims and of cold-blooded murder.

In addition, Ahmed Bedier, a former CAIR official in Florida who continued to raise money for the organization as recently as 2014, posted links to videos from the event on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

Honoring a holiday celebrated by several million Americans is fine. But the Obama administration’s insistence on inviting – thereby empowering – radical Islamist voices like the CAIR officials included Thursday overlooks the work and conclusions of its own career agents and prosecutors.

Once again, the White House guest list omits any members of the fledgling Muslim Reform Movement. That movement, representing more diverse opinions and arguably a more representative face of American Muslims, published a declaration that should be embraced by people of all stripes. It is worth reading in its entirety, but its preamble says they are fighting for “a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam” and clearly rejects “interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

In addition to explaining what they reject, the reformists articulate what they stand for. “We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live.”

Someone needs to explain why that message can’t get a seat at the table.

“The saddest thing is not only the complete monopoly and dominance of American Islamist groups in the [White House] Eid celebration invitation,” Reform Movement member Zuhdi Jasser told the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “… but imagine how insulting it is that the [White House] also includes representatives of all the ‘petro-Islam’ and [Organization of Islamic Cooperation]’s ‘neo-caliphate’ tyrannies from Embassy Row. So the nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who imprison, torture, and assassinate Muslim reformers like us are honored and invited down the red carpet along with their choir of American Islamist lobbyists (as Asra Nomani calls them: the #HonorBrigade) and yet genuine, honest free-thinking American Muslim reformers are completely ignored and blackballed. This has been the SOP for the Obama administration for now over 7 years. Their ‘Muslim’ related policies are dominated by the Islamist mafia at home and abroad. The Obama administration and their friends on the Left claim to be about diversity yet when it comes to diversity it’s all about racial and ethnic diversity and no ideological diversity within the House of Islam.”

The ideology two CAIR officials brought to the White House is inherently hostile toward U.S. policy.

In addition to comparing the IDF to ISIS, CAIR Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush repeatedly accused Israel of committing genocide and a holocaust against Palestinians in Gaza. These accusations seem to redefine what constitutes a genocide or holocaust, since Gaza’s population is increasing steadily.

Ayloush also reacts similarly to most CAIR officials when asked about Hamas, the beneficiary of support from the American “Palestine Committee” to which CAIR was born. He refuses to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization and quickly grows angrily defensive.

Hasan Shibly, Ayloush’s Florida counterpart, returns to the White House for at least the second time since December, when he was included in a discussion on religious discrimination. Like Bedier, he posted video from the event on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon, also showing Ayloush with him.

In the video, Shibly says the White House event triggered debate, since U.S. military strikes in Syria killed civilians. Ayloush, Shibly said, planned to deliver a letter “about the atrocities in Syria” to Obama. “Right now U.S. drone strikes – they’re the biggest creators of terrorism in the Middle East,” Shibly said.

That, presumably, means Shibly thinks drone strikes create more terrorism than ISIS.

Shibly said he and his colleagues also planned to criticize “consistent abuse by the FBI” and Customs and Border Protection “against the American Muslim community,” saying Muslim activists are harassed and accusing the FBI of “brainwash[ing] mentally disturbed youth to plan terrorist plots so they can justify the continued surveillance of the community.”

The White House embrace comes despite the fact that Shibly is helping a family sue the FBI, for allegedly shooting a Muslim without cause. Agents shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” after hours of questioning in 2013 tied to an unsolved triple murder. Todashev also was a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. After reportedly acknowledging some involvement in the murder case, agents say Todashev attacked.

CAIR asked for independent investigations. But after two reviews found no wrongdoing, Shibly refused to accept the outcome. He also accused FBI agents of shooting a Detroit imam in 2010 after he had been “tied and bound.” Separate independent investigations and an actual video of the shooting showed this was not remotely true, but Shibly repeated the smear anyway.

He also defended a terror suspect who was arrested after loading what he thought was a bomb into his car. Sami Osmakac repeatedly expressed interest in violent jihad and dreamed of carrying out a “second 9/11.”

“I want to do something,” he said. “Something terrifying.” Before his arrest, he made a martyrdom video in which he called his attack “payback for Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”

Still, Shibly cast Osmakac as a man who posed no threat to the public and blamed the FBI for setting him up.

He gets the White House invitation – again, at least his second – but Jasser and his fellow reformists are shut out. The imprimatur that accompanies an audience with the president of the United States can be used for tremendous good. It can raise new voices to prominence, and it can stimulate much-needed debate. The Reform Movement declaration, for example, specifically emphasizes the rights of women to equal treatment.

Instead, President Obama and his staffers continue to tip the scales to favor the most monolithic, pro-Islamist voices and protect the monopoly they enjoy on public debate.

It is beyond shameful.

Also see:

White House Opens Door to CAIR Rep, Ignores Muslim Reformers

obama2-640x480by IPT News  •  Dec 15, 2015 

He accused the FBI of killing two men in cold blood in separate incidents. But Obama administration officials saw Hassan Shibly as a suitable representative of the American Muslim community to include at Monday’s White House meeting on combating religious discrimination, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Shibly is the chief executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida. Since 2008, FBI policy has barred outreach communication with CAIR officials due to documents seized by law enforcement which place CAIR and its founders at the heart of a Hamas-support network at the time of CAIR’s creation. Eyewitness interviews recently obtained by the IPT further detail CAIR’s ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

1302Until it determines “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,” a senior official wrote in 2009.

Why would the White House include CAIR when FBI policy is to avoid the group? A White House spokesperson wouldn’t say, telling the IPT in an email Tuesday afternoon that “CAIR state chapter representatives have been included in broad meetings” with the White House and other cabinet-level agencies.

The meeting’s focus is understandable, but the inclusion of a prominent CAIR official serves only to enhance the status of a group with documented ties to a terrorist-financing network. And the exclusion of voices representing non-Islamist Muslim reformers just makes their challenge of getting a fair hearing for their ideas more difficult.

Shibly’s record should have been especially troublesome for staffers compiling a list of White House guests to meet with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. He is helping a familysue the FBI, alleging an agent shot and killed a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev after hours of questioning in his Orlando home in 2013.

Independent investigations, requested by CAIR, by the Justice Department and a Florida state attorney found that Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” attacked the agent shortly after acknowledging involvement in a separate triple-murder case in Massachusetts. Todashev continued charging after being shot, prompting the agent to fire more.

948Shibly rejected the findings, saying only Todashev could “contradict the government’s narrative” but he was dead. Similarly, Shibly joined other CAIR officials in blaming the FBI for the 2010 death of a Detroit imam who refused to surrender to arresting FBI agents and shot an FBI canine trying to subdue him. Again, independent investigations CAIR requested supported the agents’ actions, and even included video showing the imam trying to conceal his Glock 9mm handgun.

During a 2012 radio interview, Shibly claimed “the imam was tied and bound and was shot. And that is very troubling. Why was a man in chains shot?”
Shibly made this statement two years after video of the shooting was released. There is no evidence supporting Shibly’s description.

1309While there was room for Shibly at the White House, the guest list included no representatives from a new coalition of non-Islamist Muslims which issued a declaration and statement of principles for the Muslim Reform Movement. The values described include “peace, human rights and secular governance,” a call to defeat “Islamism, or politicized Islam,” and a simple declaration: “We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

These are the values that merit the endorsement of a meeting with top White House staffers.

But for the past seven years, the Obama White House has opened its doors to the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups, just like CAIR. These groups have rationalized the actions of Islamic terrorist groups that have killed Americans, warned American Muslims against cooperating with law enforcement, smeared genuine Muslim moderates like Zuhdi Jasser and Asra Nomani as traitors and accused anyone who dared to utter the term “radical Islam” as “Islamophobic.” These are the groups that the White House should have marginalized. The fact that Obama legitimized radical Islamist groups will be his real legacy.

In Boston Shooting, Islamists Damn First, Ignore Facts Later

1172 (1)IPT News
June 3, 2015

Virtually everything Islamist activists in the United States claimed about Tuesday’s fatal shooting of terror suspect Usaama Rahim in Boston appears to have been debunked within 24 hours.

Authorities say they shot Rahim, 26, after he repeatedly lunged at them with a military-style knife as they tried to question him. The skepticism was fueled by online posts by Rahim’s brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim. His claims, which fueled the immediate and reflexive condemnation of the Boston police and FBI, turned out to be wrong. Usaama Rahim was not shot in the back. He was not on the telephone with his father when he was shot. Law enforcement did back up and give Rahim several opportunities to end the confrontation peacefully.

Officials showed the surveillance video proving this to a group of Boston community leaders Wednesday. “We’re very comfortable with what we saw,” said Urban League President Darnell Williams. While those who saw the video say it was too grainy to see the knife, a Boston Globe photograph shows a long knife being removed from the scene.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday afternoon, FBI Special Agent J. Joseph Galietta wrote that Rahim bought an Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie fighting knife and an SP6 Spec Plus Fighting Knife from Amazon in the past week.

In conversations recorded by the FBI, which had Rahim under constant surveillance for months, Rahim and a friend discussed beheading someone outside the state of Massachusetts. That changed in a 5 a.m. telephone call Rahim made to friend David Wright Tuesday morning. He said he no longer was interested in beheading the target previously discussed.

“I’m just going to ah go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim allegedly said in the recorded conversation. “Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me…”

Wright then advised Rahim to destroy his computer and smartphone “Because, at the scene, at the scene, CSI will be looking for that particular thing and so dump it, get rid of that. At the time you are going to do it, before you reach your destination you get rid of it.

That suggestion prompted the complaint against Wright charging him with conspiring to obstruct an investigation. Once arrested, Wright waived his Miranda rights and verified agents’ beliefs that cryptic conversations they heard between Wright and Rahim were about plots to kill people.

When Rahim pulled the knife Tuesday and officers told him to drop it, Rahim replied, “you drop yours,” Galietta wrote.

Thus far, none of the activists who jumped to an erroneous conclusion Tuesday, who unrealistically expected a full accounting of the incident within hours, have acknowledged their error.

Arab American Association of New York Executive Director Linda Sarsour minimized statements by Boston religious and political activists who reviewed the video of the Rahim shooting. “If you haven’t seen the video of killing of #UsaamaRahim, don’t talk to me about it,” she wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know what it shows or doesn’t show. Questions still remain,” she wrote in a separate post.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which routinely criticizes counter-terror investigations as unjust and rooted in prejudice, issued a news release seeking an “independent and thorough” investigation, saying it has a “duty to question every police-involved shooting to determine if the use of deadly force was necessary, particularly given the recent high profile shootings of African-American men.”

If history is a guide, CAIR won’t accept the findings no matter what. It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2009 shooting of Detroit imam Luqman Abdullah.

In 2010, CAIR asked for, then rejected, investigations by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the Dearborn Police Department and Michigan attorney general’s office after an imam was shot and killed after he fired on a K9 dog leading an FBI SWAT team.

Video from that investigation shows Imam Luqman Abdullah, who preached that followers should not go peacefully if police came for them, tried to run away as agents moved in to arrest him. He refused their orders to lie down, lurked behind a corner and kept his hand hidden despite repeated instructions to show them.

CAIR’s Michigan director dismissed the DOJ investigation as “superficial and incomplete” and continues to cite the incident as an example of FBI excessive force and mistreatment of Muslims.

It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2013 shooting in Orlando of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Investigations by the Justice Department and an independent Florida state attorney conclude that Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” tried to attack agents shortly after acknowledging having “some involvement” in a 2011 triple homicide in Massachusetts also under investigation in connection with the Tsarnaevs. Todashev reportedly heaved a coffee table, striking an FBI agent in the head before grabbing a five-foot-long metal pole over his head “with the end of the pole pointed toward [the FBI agent] as if intended to be used to impale rather than strike.” The agent shot him three times, but Todashev again tried to charge, prompting the agent to fire three or four more shots, killing Todashev.

The Justice Department review reached the same conclusions. It noted that Todashev’s half-written confession was found at the scene. “The last sentence that Todashev wrote on the tablet of paper specifically related conduct by him that acknowledged complicity in the crime,” the DOJ report said.

“The only person who can contradict the government’s narrative is now dead and the investigation into his death relied on evidence gathered by agents of the same agency involved in his death,” CAIR-Florida official Hassan Shibly said. Shibly, an attorney, is now involved in filing a wrongful death claim against the FBI.

He did not comment on Tuesday’s shooting in Boston, and Shibly did post an acknowledgement that the video shows Rahim was not shot in the back as claimed.

CAIR Michigan chapter leader Dawud Walid, who posted comments skeptical about law enforcement, made no direct statement about the new disclosures Wednesday after the activists spoke about what the video showed. Earlier, he lumped Rahim in with Abdullah adn Todashev. San Francisco chapter official Zahra Billoo challenged someone who urged restraint in pre-judging the situation and dared to mention the rule of law.

So far, all the emerging information backs up law enforcement claims about Rahim and debunked the Islamist narrative. But the damage here may be immeasurable. The inaccurate information plays right into the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamist recruiters. The reckless, false narrative fuels the notion of the West’s alleged war on Islam, that Muslims must wage attack to protect the lives of their brethren.

That is the ideology that motivated the terrorists responsible for the Fort Hood shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, among others.

CAIR and other Islamists say they are merely asking questions. Next time, perhaps they can at least wait for an autopsy before spreading false, inflammatory gossip.

Also see:

CAIR Criticizes Independent Investigation It Requested … Again