CAIR's Agenda Gets Hearing in Congress

One big winner in the midterm elections was the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), the next House Speaker, has announced her intention to “correct the Patriot Act,” and says: “Since September 11, many Muslim Americans have been subjected to searches at airports and other locations based upon their religion and national origin. We must make it illegal.” If she succeeds, any Muslim who is searched at an airport at any time will be able to claim that he is being illegally profiled; such a law would also have a chilling effect upon any effort to investigate jihad terror activity in the Muslim community.

Helping pass such a law will be Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers has also masterminded House Resolution 288, which “calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.” Such a bill, of course, would do a great deal to stifle honest discussion of the elements of Islam that give rise today to violence and fanaticism.

And now Pelosi and Conyers will be joined in the House by the first-ever Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison (D.-Minn.). According to journalist Joel Mowbray, CAIR co-founder and executive director Nihad Awad “headlined a fundraiser last month that the campaign estimates netted $15,000 to $20,000, and in July, and it appears that CAIR’s co-founder bundled contributions totaling just over $10,000.”

Ellison will be the keynote speaker at CAIR’s annual banquet in Arlington, Va., next week, despite the organization’s troubling history and associations. CAIR is an offshoot of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a group that was in turn founded by Mousa Abu Marzook of the terrorist group Hamas. CAIR’s former Board Chairman Omar Ahmad told a Muslim audience in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant…. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America.” Although Ahmad now denies saying this, the reporter who witnessed his speech stands by the accuracy of her story. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper has himself said: “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.”

Several CAIR officials have been convicted of various terrorism-related offenses. No current CAIR official has ever explained how these men were able to work with the organization in the first place if it is really the moderate civil-rights organization it claims to be.

Of course, CAIR officials have met with Presidents Clinton and Bush, and have long had the ear of the mainstream media. But instead of being subjected to increasing public scrutiny as it should be, CAIR will be able to use the new Congress to expand its reach and influence even farther than it has up to now.

At Ellison’s victory party, some of his supporters shouted “Allahu akbar!” while the candidate looked on with obvious embarrassment. But he had no need to be concerned. In a gushing piece on his victory, the New York Times never mentioned CAIR once—and dismissed concerns about his record, and likely request to be sworn in on the Koran, as coming from “Muslim-bashers in the blogosphere.” It noted that some “Muslim American activists” have compared Ellison’s candidacy to “John F. Kennedy’s breaking the taboo against a Roman Catholic’s being president.”

The big difference, of course, is that in Kennedy’s case he addressed those concerns—which were in any case baseless, since the Pope had in fact no plans to rule the United States through a Catholic President. But concerns about Ellison’s views on terror groups and Islamic supremacism are hardly baseless: they stem from amply documented statements and activities of the CAIR officials with whom he will soon be enjoying a banquet, as well as the declared intentions of Islamic groups around the world. Nevertheless, these concerns are dismissed as “bigotry” and left unanswered. And if Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers get their way, it may become illegal even to ask them.