March 14, 2007
NYT : CAIR Impugned By "A Small Band of [Jew] Critics" (Updated)
Update : Karl provides aven more evisceration over at Protein Wisdom.
The NYT published a very vague, and generally sympathetic profile of CAIR today:
A small band of critics have made a determined but unsuccessful effort to link [CAIR] to Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department, and have gone so far as calling the group an American front for the two.
In the latest confrontation yesterday, CAIR held a panel discussion on Islam and the West in a Capitol meeting room despite demands by House Republicans that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, not allow the event. The Republicans called its members “terrorist apologists.”...
CAIR and its supporters say its accusers are a small band of people who hate Muslims and deal in half-truths. Ms. Boxer’s decision to revoke the Sacramento commendation provoked an outcry from organizations that vouch for the group’s advocacy, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the California Council of Churches.
“They have been a leading organization that has advocated for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of fear and intolerance, in the face of religious and ethnic profiling,” said Maya Harris, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Northern California...
Several federal officials said CAIR’s Washington office frequently issued controversial statements that made it hard for senior government figures to be associated with the group, particularly since some pro-Israeli lobbyists have created what one official called a “cottage industry” of attacking the group and anyone dealing with it...."A-ha! It's those damned JOOOOS again! I knew it! Sneaky bastards..."
Some Muslims, particularly the secular, find CAIR overly influenced by Saudi religious interpretations, criticizing it for stating in news releases, for example, that all Muslim women are required to veil their hair when the matter is openly debated.Of course, this "small band of [Jew] critics" has nothing to back up their claims. Unnamed "government officials" denounced the critics' charges as "akin to McCarthyism":
But they still support its civil rights work and endorse the idea of anyone working to make American Islam a more integral part of society. One Arab-American advocate compared CAIR to “the tough cousin who curses at anyone who speaks badly about the family.”
Some activists and academics view the controversy surrounding the group as typical of why Washington fails so often in the Middle East, while extremism mushrooms.
Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association.Captain Ed comments:
“Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares,” said Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005....
Let's get specific and move past any blank stares, shall we? For instance, on Kaufman's site, they have screen captures from 9/17/01 of CAIR attempting to direct visitors to their web site to make donations for 9/11 relief to what they first identified as "NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund". The hyperlink took people to the Holy Land Foundation's website. The HLF funneled money to Hamas by the millions until the federal government shut it down in December 2001. Eight days later, they changed the hyperlink to identify the site as HLF and added one for the Global Relief Foundation -- which also got shut down in December 2001, this time for channeling money to al-Qaeda and Hamas.Dafydd has more commentary here.
CAIR exploited 9/11 to help fund the very group that perpetrated the attack. Is that specific enough for MacFarquhar? Why didn't he bother to note this very specific charge in his article, filled as it was with protestations of lack of specificity?
That's not all that makes critics suspicious of CAIR. Several of its officers have involvement in terror, including the founder of CAIR's parent group and the man who ran the Holy Land Foundation, Mousa Abu Mazook. The US deported Mazook in 1997 for his work with Hamas. Ghassan Elashi helped found the Texas chapter and served on its board until 2002 -- when the US deported him for selling forbidden computer technology to Libya and Syria. Rabih Haddad worked as a CAIR fundraiser until his deportation in 2003, as well as launching the Global Relief Fund that fed al-Qaeda and Hamas. Joe Kaufman included these specifics in a Front Page article three years ago -- again, something MacFarquhar apparently missed in his journalistic investigation.