- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2016

How times have changed.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) objected Friday to a scheduled legislative briefing on Capitol Hill next week by ACT for America, saying the national security advocacy group had an “Islamophobic agenda.”

“Supporting ACT’s anti-Muslim policy agenda also threatens the very safety and security of the American Muslim community and those perceived to be Muslim,” CAIR, the country’s largest Islamic civil rights group, wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

Not too long ago, however, Congress members and law enforcement officials were alarmed by CAIR’s presence on Capitol Hill.

When a House Democrat arranged for CAIR to use a conference room in the Capitol for an event in March 2007, lawmakers questioned whether it was an appropriate venue for a group that had been linked to Islamic terrorist groups, including a former CAIR leader deported to Lebanon after being arrested in a raid on an Islamic charity accused of supporting al Qaeda.

“We know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York said at the time.

Mr. Schumer, who is poised to become the Senate Democratic leader next year, did not immediately respond to questions about his current regard for CAIR.

CAIR has never been charged with terrorism crimes and the organization is known to cooperate with the FBI and the Justice Department. But the group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against the Holy Land Foundation, an Muslim charity set up in the U.S. to secretly finance the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said that there was a difference between its opposition to ACT for America and previous objections to CAIR.

“The difference is that CAIR is a widely-respected civil rights organization, while ACT for America is an anti-Muslim hate group that would curtail the civil rights of American Muslims, including the right to hold public office,” he told The Washington Times.

ACT for America describes itself as the country’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan grass-roots national security organization that is dedicated to safeguarding America and its culture.

Making a case that the group is anti-Muslim, CAIR pointed to Brigitte Gabriel saying that Islam is the “real enemy” in the fight against terrorism.

They also noted that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a featured speaker at the briefing who is a national security advisor to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, had said that Islam is a “cancer.”

“As a member of the United States Congress, ACT seeks to use your office to provide itself with a legitimizing platform for Islamophobia in our nation’s capital and further promote its hateful agenda to discriminate against the American Muslim community,” CAIR wrote in the letter. to Congress members.

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