While the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been busy attacking syndicated columnist Cal Thomas recently for supposedly "Islamophobic" comments, the media-hungry group did not condemn the foiled terrorist plots in London or the successful one in Glasgow, Scotland.
Though CAIR's Web site has a video clip of the Chicago chapter director lamenting the events in Britain and the group helped coordinate a St. Louis press conference of Muslim doctors who spoke out against the terrorists, CAIR itself did not condemn the actions of the Islamic terrorists in Britain.
Given that CAIR played a role in promoting its Chicago director and the Muslim doctors, some might wish to give the benefit of the doubt. The organization's history, however, shows that this artful dodge is simply part of its modus operandi.
CAIR has mastered the art of appearing to oppose terrorism, while at the same time leading the charge against those who seek to thwart it.
A case in point is its curiously neglecting to condemn Britain's Islamic terrorists, while during the same week blasting as "Islamophobic" Mr. Thomas' remarks on local radio station WTOP expressing concern about fundamentalists from the "Middle East and South Asia" who are integrating into the broader Muslim society.
In a story for WTOPnews.com, WTOP quoted CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper claiming, "We condemn extremism. We've condemned terrorism... We've issued dozens of condemnations on dozens of terrorism attacks."
CAIR has, in fact, condemned what it considers to be extremism and terrorism — when targeted at Muslims. If a Muslim is the victim of a possible hate crime or has been subjected to a religious slur, CAIR is there. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. And the group is well within its rights when it routinely rails against the United States and Israel.
What CAIR does not do, though, is denounce Islamic fundamentalists who promote a paranoid worldview in which America and Israel are the enemies of Islam, achieved by manufacturing mythical massacres that whip their followers into a lather.
During Israel's war last summer with Hezbollah terrorists, CAIR was firmly on the side of the fundamentalist Islamic propagandists. The organization issued at least eight condemnations of America and the Jewish state — but not one against Hezbollah.
Never in its history has CAIR specifically condemned Hamas or Hezbollah by name.
To its credit, the group did denounce the Netanya Passover Massacre in 2002, though it avoided criticizing Hamas, which perpetrated the attack. Bizarrely, CAIR couldn't bring itself to acknowledge that the innocent victims were murdered in Israel — perhaps because CAIR hews to the Hamas party line refusing to recognize the Jewish state — noting instead that the bombing happened in "the Middle East."
In December, CAIR Executive Director and co-founder Nihad Awad refused in an interview with Newsweek to condemn Hamas, claiming that the question was "the game of the pro-Israel lobby." Of course, Mr. Awad knows that whether or not one backs Hamas is not a "game," as he willingly declared at a speech in 1994: "I'm in support of the Hamas movement." (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)
Rather than seize opportunities for unambiguous denunciations of Islamic terrorism, CAIR shrewdly offers up what it labels condemnations, but in fact are not.
Emblematic of CAIR's elaborate deception is the much-hyped fatwa against terrorism and extremism. Both terms are left intentionally undefined. Fundamentalist Muslims who wish harm upon the United States and Israel do not consider themselves "extreme." Nor do Hezbollah and Hamas believe that they are terrorists.
For that matter, neither apparently does CAIR. Chairman Parvez Ahmed this spring authored a lengthy policy paper-posted on CAIR's Web site — in which he implicitly argued that Hamas and Hezbollah were not "terrorist" entities: "Unlike al-Qaeda they do not embrace such violence as a matter of policy. These groups have not targeted people who are outside the land they view as occupied territories."
Since both terrorist groups have repeatedly murdered innocent civilians inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, the only possible justification Mr. Ahmed could have for not taking issue with Hamas' and Hezbollah's propaganda is that he, too, considers all of the Jewish state to be "occupied territory."
Refusing to recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist is in keeping with the group's roots. Founded in 1994, CAIR was spun off from the Islamic Association of Palestine. Whereas IAP was widely seen as a Hamas front, CAIR was designed to be a kinder and gentler "civil rights" organization. It was a smart move. A federal civil-court judge in 2005 found CAIR's founding organization liable for providing material support to Hamas on the basis of "strong evidence that IAP was supporting Hamas."
Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper did not return a call seeking comment, but CAIR undoubtedly would point to the video clip on its Web site in which its Chicago director, a Mr. Rehab, in a local TV interview, said, "Islam wholeheartedly condemns this type of behavior."
While admirable, it is not the same as the group actually condemning Britain's Islamic terrorists. Considering that CAIR put out roughly 20 press releases in the week following the terror incidents, including several "condemnations" of non-terrorists, it is hard to give the group of the benefit of the doubt.
CAIR's history makes it simply impossible.
Joel Mowbray occasionally writes for The Washington Times.
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