Thursday, November 1, 2007

CAIR is not clean

Naiem Sherbiny, Saad Ibrahim and Charles Butterworth of the Ibn Khaldun Center claim that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is not “in any way guilty of disloyal actions toward the United States” (” ‘Hatred’ against Muslims,” Letters, Saturday).

CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the recent federal trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development for supporting terrorism. The trial ended in a hung jury. The government says it will retry the case.

In 2004, CAIR sued the Web site for libel. The site had claimed that the council was founded by Islamic terrorists, started by Hamas members, funded by Hamas supporters, functioned as a terrorist-supporting front group and sought to overthrow the U.S. government.

In 2005, CAIR amended its original motion, reducing the libel claims from five to two. It dropped those based on the Web site’s claims that CAIR was founded by Islamic terrorists, started by Hamas members and funded by Hamas supporters.

Hamas is the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Arab group responsible for scores of terrorist attacks that have murdered hundreds of Israelis, mostly noncombatants. The U.S. government has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.

CAIR and reached a confidential, mutually agreed settlement on the two remaining libel claims, that the council is a terrorist-supporting front organization and that it seeks to overthrow the U.S. government. CAIR may have settled to avoid further disclosure.

The letter writers stated that CAIR is not legally “in any way guilty of disloyal actions toward the United States.” However, CAIR isn’t the American-Islamic equivalent of the NAACP or the Anti-Defamation League.


Washington director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America


Israeli sanctions are inhumane

I would like to thank you for Joshua Mitnick’s excellent article “Israel puts squeeze on Gaza Strip” about the increasingly dire situation in Gaza (Page 1, Monday). Israel’s cutbacks on fuel to Gaza are not true “security” measures. As the European Union said, they are illegal collective punishment against 1.5 million people who are effectively penned into what amounts to a concentration camp.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the supply of both diesel fuel and gasoline have been cut more than 40 percent on “instructions from the defense establishment.” Next week, another reduction is scheduled to go into effect, and the limited entrances into Gaza will be slashed further, making it even more difficult for anything to reach one of the most densely populated places in the world. Israel’s plan to disrupt electricity supplies has only been postponed because of litigation by a human-rights group. Israel’s action are immoral and inhumane as well potentially creating major public health problems, disease and pollution as water and sewer systems fail for lack of power. When will Israel learn that true security comes only from making friends of your enemies, not multiplying their grievances and inciting those who care for their welfare?



Staring down malaria

In last week’s U.N. Report (“Fighting malaria,” Foreign, Oct. 22) Betsy Pisik draws attention to an underreported global heath issue affecting hundreds of millions of lives around the world — malaria — and the role of bed nets as a cost-effective means of preventing the transmission of the deadly disease.

In Africa alone, it is estimated that 300 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets are needed to cover those most in need. The World Health Organization recently announced the benefits of free mass distribution of nets as “a powerful way to quickly and dramatically increase coverage” and cited a decrease in deaths by more than 40 percent among children in Kenya alone from 2004 to 2006 as a result of widespread net distribution and use.

The writer, however, provided misinformation in her statement that the U.N. Foundation and Nothing But Nets do not “[use] contributions wisely.” In fact, 100 percent of individual donations to Nothing But Nets goes directly toward the purchase and distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and the education of the recipient on their proper use. In addition, 96 cents of every other dollar donated to the UN Foundation directly funds programs. Overhead costs for campaigns such as Nothing But Nets are covered by the UN Foundation and grants from outside organizations. This financial stewardship has earned the UN Foundation a top reputation among charities, including a four-star designation from Charity Navigator.

We greatly appreciate your coverage of the issue and hope this provides a more accurate picture of a much-needed and truly lifesaving campaign. Please visit to learn more and join tens of thousands of Americans who are working together to save lives.


Executive director

Communications and Public Affairs

U.N. Foundation


Charges against Mexico are false

Dealing with myths and misperceptions is a critically important challenge that Mexico and the United States face as both nations seek to tackle one of the most complex bilateral relationships in the world. One of the most pervasive and pernicious of these myths finds echo in Monday’s Inside the Beltway column under the headline”Conquering America.”

To state that funneling Mexicans into the U.S. work force is “among Mexico’s highest foreign-policy objectives,” as suggested in that column, is patently false and feeds on fear, unsubstantiated rumors and bad faith. As I have underscored repeatedly since assuming office last February as Ambassador of Mexico to the United States (even on the front page of The Washington Times in the July 20 edition) Mexico cannot grow unless it can hold on to the bold and entrepreneurial women and men who cross the Mexican-U.S. border every year in search of better-paying jobs. Ultimately, for Mexico’s foreign policy, the endgame is to ensure that every Mexican who crosses the border into the United States does so legally.


Mexican ambassador to the

United States


Domestic spending is modest

The Tuesday editorial “End the fiscal follies” referred incorrectly to a “$22 billion increase in spending Democrats are seeking for a host of largely domestic measures” for 2008. In fact, the president proposes to cut domestic funding by more than $16 billion (after accounting for inflation). Congress rejected the cut and then proposed a very small increase for domestic programs — just $5 billion, or 1.4 percent. In short, the $22 billion gap (actually, $21 billion) is real, but characterizing it as a congressional increase is wrong.

With that $5 billion increase, domestic spending under the congressional budget plan would grow more slowly than the economy and more slowly than revenues. That means domestic spending would not contribute to future budget problems or create any pressure for tax increases.


Senior fellow

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


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