Steve Emerson on BBC Radio Discussing the Attack in Westminster

IPT, by Steven Emerson
Interview on BBC Radio
March 22, 2017

Host: Right then. Let’s get to Steven Emerson, who’s the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, talking to us out of the United States this evening. How are you, Steven?

Steve Emerson: Good evening.

Host: Thank you for your time and tell us, first of all, how you’ve reacted to the events in Westminster.

Emerson: Well, I have no more information than British police and Scotland Yard have released to your public. But there are obviously major patterns of similarity between these quote, ISIS-inspired attacks, here in the United States versus those occurring in Britain, Belgium and in Paris. The only difference today was that this person was just one person with one car able to basically almost insert himself inside the, from Westminster Bridge, inside the Parliament. He didn’t get that far, but can you imagine what would have happened had there been an army of self-styled ISIS soldiers of maybe 30 to 40 storming the Parliament?

I just think about that when I think about what happened last week with one intruder who got 15 minutes into the White House lawn. He wasn’t a terrorist at all but considering the fact that these major icons of Western society – the Westminster Bridge, the Parliament, the U.S. White House, the icons in Paris, the Brussels airport, the underground – it shows that the terrorists know exactly the underbelly and the vulnerability of Western institutions and how to cause mass casualties and, at the same time, cause as much fear and panic as possible with as little investment as possible.

I would imagine that the cost of this type of operation was minimal, even though the cost to the British public was horrendous – five dead, or four dead, a policeman dead. And the British public shouldn’t have to pay for this. No one should have to pay for this. I heard a commentary today on American television saying, ‘Well this is the cost of an open society’ and I was thinking to myself is this really the cost of an open society? Should we have to pay for this? Are there things that can be done to keep an open society, to make sure that there is a mosaic, diversity, and not succumb to the notion that you have to be deemed sort of a racist by saying we’ve got a problem here with radical Islam?

One thing that is very different, last point, the way the United States has reacted in previous years under the Obama administration, from the killing in Ft. Hood that killed I think about 14 people in 2009 to even the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, was that the U.S. government did not label them Islamic terrorism for at least 5 or 6 days. The British government, to its credit, same thing with the French government and the German government, after each of the attacks in the last 2 or 3 years, quickly within three or four hours, were able and willing to label it Islamist terrorism. That’s what should be done.

Host: Steven, thank you for talking to us. Let me just clarify a point there, that the Prime Minister did refer to the attacker as a terrorist but the Prime Minister has not made any reference to Islamic terror in her speech. Mark Rowley did, the acting deputy commissioner of the Met police, and he said that overseas Islamic fundamentalism is forming the basis of their investigation. I just wanted to clarify those comments for you.

The radical ties of the Imam behind the Trump immigration lawsuit

Isrmail Elshikh | YouTube

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 10, 2017:

The plaintiff listed in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration is a member of an organization that has several current and former leaders tied to terrorist activity.

Dr. Ismail Elshikh — the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — is suing Trump in reaction to the second version of his immigration moratorium, which was signed on Monday. The order imposed a 90-day hold on foreign nationals from six terror-tied countries from entering the United States.

According to the Muslim Association of Hawaii website, Imam Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), a fringe Islamic organization that has a board and current leadership stacked with radical Islamic connections.

Kyle Shideler, a terrorism expert and director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, tells CR that it’s concerning that Imam Elshikh is a part of NAIF.

“Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts,” Shideler said.

He added: “That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”

Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, also voiced his concerns about Elshikh’s associations. He tells CR:

“NAIF is an extremely radical Islamist group whose leaders and members have defended some of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Some members have been found to be actually linked to acts of Islamist terrorism. This is a group, some prosecutors have argued, whose incitement for violence could qualify their categorization as a providing material support for terrorism.”

Current NAIF board members include the former leader of an al-Qaeda-connected mosque and a radical preacher. Former leaders include a man convicted of leading an international death squad, and a prominent Islamist preacher who has praised Osama bin Laden.

Current NAIF leadership

Omar Shahin, a current board member of NAIF, is the former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a mosque that was once utilized as the “de-facto al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. As imam of the mosque, Shahin raised funds for the Holy Land Foundation, which was later shut down for funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. He also held fundraisers for the Global Relief Foundation, which was later deemed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be connected to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

El Shikh received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Foundation Islamic Studies Department, which is headed by Shahin. The program was created in collaboration with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was started as a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Dr. Waleed Meneese, another NAIF board member, has explicitly called for fellow Muslims to kill Jews. “When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” Meneese said in a recent sermon. “And they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand. In any case, God Almighty has promised them destruction whenever they cause corruption,” he said of the Jewish people.

Meneese has also called for the killing of apostates from Islam, and for the treating of non-Muslims as second-class citizens.

Former NAIF leadership

Ashrafuzzaman Khan is the former president of NAIF and a current leader at the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In 2013, he was tried in a Bangladesh court as he was accused of drafting a kill list of intellectuals inside the country. He was charged with 11 counts of war crimes as the alleged leader of the Al-Badr death squad. In 2013, he and an accomplice were sentenced in absentia for the abduction and murder of 18 people, including nine university professors, six journalists, and three physicians.

Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim was the chairman of NAIF at the turn of the century. In 2005, he agreed to deportation to Qatar after U.S. authorities were concerned about his potential connections to terrorist organizations. Ghoneim has called Osama bin Laden a “martyred heroic mujahid” and is now closely tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has been banned from entering several countries due to his radicalism.

Another former NAIF board member is Siraj Wahhaj, who was infamously listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Wahhaj testified in defense of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who served a life sentence for being the mastermind behind terrorist plots in the United States.

What else?

The North American Imam Federation is perhaps best known as the group that allegedly planned and staged the “flying imams” incident. After a 2006 NAIF conference, several imams connected to the group were booted from a domestic flight after exhibiting bizarre, threatening behavior, terrifying fellow passengers. NAIF and the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) showcased the incident as a prime example of America’s supposed problem with “Islamophobia.”

President Trump’s immigration moratorium, blocking non-citizens from coming into the U.S. from the six terror havens of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Libya, will go into effect next week, barring a successful legal challenge by Elshikh and Hawaii or other actors.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel

Also see:

The Inside Story of How John Kerry Secretly Lobbied to Get CAIR Removed From UAE’s Terrorist Organization List

cairhamas2by Steven Emerson
IPT News
January 19, 2017

On Nov. 16, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the unusual step of designating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – as terrorist organizations.

They were among 83 groups named for their connections to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

This outraged CAIR officials, who immediately began efforts to get their organization removed from the list. They found a powerful ally in Secretary of State John Kerry, who authorized State Department officials to meet regularly with UAE officials to lobbying on behalf of CAIR and MAS .

CAIR already had a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration, including the State Department, that had openly embraced and legitimized the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups falsely posing as religious or civil rights groups, which both CAIR and MAS had done.

At a daily State Department press briefing two days after UAE released its list, a spokesman said that State does not “consider CAIR or MAS to be terrorist groups” but that it was seeking more information from UAE about their decision. He added that “as part of our routine engagement with a broad spectrum of faith based organizations, a range of U.S. government officials have met with officials of CAIR and MAS. We at the State Department regularly meet with a wide range of faith based groups to hear their views even if some of their views expressed at times are controversial.”

In making that admission, the State Department official had effectively affirmed the Obama Administration policy of embracing radical Islamist group under the euphemism of calling them “faith based groups.”

The UAE had good reason to designate CAIR, as records obtained by the FBI indicate it was created as front group for a Hamas support network. While CAIR bills itself as “the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization,” the reality is quite different.

Before helping launch CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad worked as public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas propaganda arm in the United States. A 2001 Immigration and Naturalization Service memo documented IAP’s support for Hamas and found that the “facts strongly suggest” that IAP was “part of Hamas’ propaganda apparatus.”

IAP was part of the “Palestine Committee,” created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas politically and financially. CAIR was added to the Palestine Committee’s roster just after its 1994 creation.

In 2008, the FBI cut off official contact with CAIR, citing evidence from the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial which documented the connections between CAIR and its founders to Hamas.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, the FBI explained, “until we [the FBI] 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.”

During a 2003 Senate hearing, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said that CAIR is known “to have ties to terrorism.” In 2009 correspondence with the FBI, he wrote that cutting off contact with the Islamist group “should be government-wide policy.”

CAIR and its representatives, meanwhile, often espouse radical ideology and propagate the jihadist narrative that the United States is waging a “war on Islam.” Awad repeated that message as recently as September when he denounced legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

CAIR officials often side with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.

Read more

IPT EXCLUSIVE: DHS Hires CAIR to Train French Officials

cair31

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.

Keith Ellison’s Disinformation Campaign

ipt2by Steven Emerson
IPT News
December 2, 2016

Confronted by his own words and facing a direct threat to his bid to become the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison flagrantly lied Thursday. We are releasing the full audio and transcript to prove this.

Two days earlier, the Investigative Project on Terrorism released audio of Ellison during a 2010 political fundraiser, criticizing what he saw as the inappropriate and disproportionate influence Israel carries over American foreign policy.

“The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million,” said Ellison, D-Minn. “Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes. Can I say that again?”

In a statement Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it found Ellison’s comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” That’s because, “whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives.”

In an open letter to the ADL, Ellison falsely claimed that “the audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context.” He also claimed that he was merely “responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way.” And then he chose to attack the messenger.

None of Ellison’s comments are true.

We have released the full audio of his remarks (click here to hear them and to read a complete transcript) to show no edits were made and to show the full context. Let him also explain this other clearly anti-Semitic comment he made: “But it makes all the sense in the world when you see that that country has mobilized its diaspora in America to do its bidding in America.”

Ellison and Context

As we reported, Ellison’s 2010 comments came during a fundraiser for Esam Omeish’s state assembly campaign. Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a group created by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. In 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from a Virginia immigration panel after the IPT produced video of him praising Palestinians in 2000 for learning that “the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.” A second video, shot two months earlier, shows Omeish congratulating “our brothers and sisters in [Palestine] for their bravery, for their giving up their lives for the sake of Allah.”

Just this week, Omeish posted a paean to the Muslim Brotherhood on Facebook.

Nihad Awad, the only executive director the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has ever had, also attended the Omeish fundraiser. Court records show Awad was a member of a Muslim Brotherhood created Hamas support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee. So was CAIR, the organization he leads.

Awad attended a pivotal 1993 gathering of committee members in Philadelphia, convened to discuss ways to “derail” the U.S. brokered Oslo Accords.

Palestine Committee members opposed it because it included recognition of Israel’s right to exist and because it empowered the secular Fatah movement over the Islamists in Hamas. We know this because the FBI secretly recorded the meeting.

He has never explained why he joined the otherspresent in referring to Hamas in the agreed-upon, yet crude code of reversing the spelling and speaking about “Samah.”

Six months later, Awad appeared in Miami, where he publicly stated that, after some research, “I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.”

When Keith Ellison stands before Omeish and Awad and asks whether it makes sense that America’s Middle East policy “is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people,” or when he says “that country [Israel] has mobilized its diaspora in America to do its bidding in America,” the context seems pretty clear.

Democrats should choose the candidate they think can best lead their party to success in the future. They might decide Ellison fits that description.

They do so armed with greater understanding of Ellison’s true feelings toward an issue pivotal for a lot of voters of all political persuasions.

An Award-Winning Documentary About Islamic Terrorists Becomes Hate Speech

video grabIPT, by Steven Emerson
Investor’s Business Daily
July 15, 2016

At what point over the past 20 years did citing statements and literature by Islamic terrorists become banned “hate speech?”

A documentary that I produced in 1994 for PBS concerning civilizational jihad won numerous awards, yet YouTube in recent days removed a video posted by CounterJihad that covered the very same topic in much more limited scope.

Both my film, “Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America,” and CounterJihad’s “Killing for a Cause: Sharia Law & Civilizational Jihad” expose the Islamification of the West waged by the Muslim Brotherhood and its front organizations in the U.S. The Brotherhood, born in Egypt in 1928, is the fountainhead of nearly every deadly Islamist organization on the planet today.

I quoted Abdullah Azzam, the Muslim leader most responsible for expanding the jihad into an international holy war, speaking in Brooklyn, N.Y.: “The jihad, the fighting, is obligatory on you wherever you can perform it. And just as when you are in America you must fast – unless you are ill or on a voyage – so, too, must you wage jihad. The word jihad means fighting only, fighting with the sword.”

CounterJihad quotes from a Brotherhood governing document: “The (Muslim Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers.”

YouTube in its “hate speech” policy explains that it refers “to content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as: race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation/gender identity.”

Neither project did any such thing.

All that’s changed over the past two decades is the ability of Muslim Brotherhood front groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to successfully exert their will on a very sensitive and politically correct media and cultural elite.

YouTube eventually reposted CounterJihad’s video, but the exercise is telling.

CAIR and its cohorts — including the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Circle of North America — spend millions to portray all Muslims as the real victims of every Islamic terrorist massacre against innocent Westerners.

After every Islamist terror attack, they rush to the microphones to blame U.S. foreign policy for inciting the sadistic killers, often before law enforcement confirms anything. They reinforce recruitment propaganda that says the West has engaged in a “war with Islam” and therefore deflect responsibility from the murderers themselves.

Their latest stunt is a report on the contrived term “Islamophobia,” which suggests that those who fear Islamic terrorism are racist and behave irrationally toward Muslims.

They have become incredibly effective at inflaming tensions between Muslims and Westerners, who by and large harbor no ill will toward each other.

Their “war on Islam” and claims of Islamophobia distract from the underlying agenda of Islamic terrorists.

They intend to establish a global empire known as a Caliphate governed by Sharia law. They are engaged in a full-scale overt and covert war to cripple every Western ideal that stands in their way.

CAIR sabotages prospects of unification by telling Muslim Americans to not cooperate with law enforcement. They assist in raising money for radical mosques and their fiery imams in the U.S. through their actions. They preach solidarity with their Middle Eastern terrorist overseers.

CAIR’s roots are firmly planted in a Hamas-support network in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood. Every statement it issues includes that asterisk at the end, although one would be hard-pressed to find anyone working in the media brave enough to cite it.

San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook and Orlando gunman Omar Mateen found resonance in the videos of the late al-Qaida ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, which indoctrinated them with radical Islamist teachings and instructed them to become martyrs. The jihadists behind the carnage in Brussels and Paris were all directed and influenced by ISIS.

Let’s stop the nonsense.

By portraying all non-Muslims as enemies, CAIR and its allies fail to educate anyone about the true nature of Islamic terrorism.

If CAIR and its fellow travelers were truly concerned about Muslims in the U.S., they should reject assaults on the values of Western culture and condemn those who exploit Islam as the inspiration for horrific murders.

That’s not hate speech. It is a truth that was just as valid 20 years ago as it is today.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

No Sacred Cows? The Washington Post Continues Carrying CAIR’s Water

cair23by Steven Emerson
IPT News
July 5, 2016

Let’s say the Church of Scientology launched a program it said was aimed at creating healthy work environments and bridging family divides, even those involving church critics.

What would the news stories read like? After all, there are ever-expanding accounts of former Scientologists who say they were physically abused, or who werecut off from loved ones deemed hostile to the church.

Virtually any news story about the new program would cover this context in detail. It’s reasonable to expect major news outlets would devote entire stories comparing the new claims to the church’s history. It would be inconceivable to omit that background even if the new program proved to be a smashing success.

This is what makes the Washington Post‘s coverage of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) so confounding. The newspaper, which rarely hesitates to investigate the backgrounds of politicians, companies and more, has never seen fit to delve into CAIR’s checkered history.

Independence Day brought yet another story casting CAIR as a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and Islamist extremism. CAIR’s Florida chapter, the headline says, “is doing what the government has so far failed to do.” It tells the story of “intervention teams” on alert in South Florida to help cases of radicalized Muslims who might be thinking of committing violence. Some of the seven individuals identified so far have been referred to law enforcement, the story says.

There’s no way to know if that assertion is true. It is a claim taken at face value.

There’s also no way – short of doing their own independent searches – for readers to know that CAIR itself has direct, court-acknowledged connections to a terrorist group. They don’t know because the Post didn’t mention it in this, or any other story, since the information came to light in 2007.

From its first days, CAIR was a cog in a Hamas-support network called the Palestine Committee, records show. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood created the committee to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

1675At least three original CAIR officials, Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad and Nabil Sadoun, are on the Palestine Committee’s telephone list. Mousa Abu Marzook, a longtime Hamas political leader, is the first name listed. Ahmad, who sometimes was identified as “Omar Yehya,” also is listed on the Palestine Committee’s executive board.

Eyewitnesses told federal investigators that Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood connections shared by CAIR founders were widely known when the organization was founded.

Bylaws establish that the Muslim Brotherhood executive office created the Palestine Committee “to serve the Palestinian cause on the U.S. front.” A 1991 document repeatedly refers to the Brotherhood’s role directing Palestine Committee activities. Among the instructions that year: “Collecting of donations for the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] from the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] and others.”

Another report from around that time explicitly states that the committee sees its charge as “defending the Islamic cause in Palestine and support for the emerging movement, the Hamas Movement.”

This is the mission into which CAIR was born.

Omar Ahmad, a co-founder and longtime CAIR national chairman, was described as “a leader within the Palestine Committee” in testimony by FBI Special Agent Lara Burns.

Nihad Awad, the only executive director in CAIR’s history, joined Palestine Committee colleagues during a weekend-long emergency meeting in 1993 to discuss ways to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. The deal was hailed as a potential peace breakthrough and created an autonomous Palestinian Authority.

That was unacceptable to the Palestine Committee because it sidelined the Islamists in Hamas, and because it included Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence. Concerned that the American public would see them as terror supporters, the group’s officials instructed members never to mention Hamas by name, instead choosing to reverse the spelling and talk about “Samah.” Awad, in this FBI transcript, did just that.

The group also discussed creating “a new organization for activism” which might be better received publicly because “we are marked.”

CAIR was created the following summer, where it promptly appeared on the Palestine Committee’s next meeting agenda.

The exhibits described above have never been reported in the Post.

When the Post has written about CAIR’s background, it has been at the most superficial of levels: CAIR minimizes its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas Hamas-financing trial in which these documents became public record; a “fact-check” which concludes that the unindicted co-conspirator label “is one of those true facts that ultimately gives a false impression.”

Would the Scientologists receive similar kid-glove treatment? Would a candidate for office?

This is not a case of differing perspectives. The documents were seized from the participants and reflect real-time Palestine Committee activities.

While CAIR was never charged, prosecutors made it clear in court filings that they had evidence showing CAIR was part “of the conspiracy” and acted “in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

“CAIR has been identified by the Government at trial as a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which CAIR never withdrew,” they wrote.

The Post is led by Marty Baron, a man who has demonstrated the tenacity to take on religious organizations as mighty as the Catholic Church when they might be engaged in improper activity. So far, however, that same gritty determination has not been focused on the Islamists who run CAIR, despite their profile and their organization’s checkered history.

That is a shame.

Also see: