Warren, Klobuchar and Omar support advocacy group with possible terror ties
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More than 120 members of Congress wrote private letters of support to an Islamic-American advocacy group that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has slammed as having an “anti-Israel agenda,” and possible links to Hamas.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019, holding a gala conference in Washington in November headlined by Rep. Ilhan Omar. This week, the Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the event’s program, uncovering more than 120 letters of support penned by presidential candidates, senators and representatives.
Among them were Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Pramila Jayapal and Mark Poucan, prominent Democrats Ilhan Omar, Adam Schiff and Rashida Tlaib, and senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, who The New York Times have recently given a joint endorsement to as the Democratic presidential candidate.
“I applaud the council for continuing CAIR’s tradition of bringing together community leaders, as we celebrate the victories that make our nation a better place to live,” Tlaib wrote in her letter, which along with the others was published in full. “And, I am so proud to see that work continue to help dismantle misconceptions about the Muslim faith.”
CAIR defines its mission as “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” However, in an article on CAIR published by the ADL on their website, they said this mission was undermined by CAIR’s “anti-Israel agenda.”
According to the ADL, CAIR’s executive director Nihad Awad has accused American supporters of Israel of promoting a “culture of hostility towards Islam,” while the organization’s chapters nationwide partner with a range of groups which seek to demonize and isolate Israel.
Despite this, Elizabeth Warren was moved to write: “CAIR has been on the front lines of so many important fights… – fighting the unconstitutional and immoral Muslim bad, protecting immigrant communities and fighting to keep families together, working to end Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry, and defending the civil rights of all people, including our American Muslim neighbors and friends.
“I’m glad to count on CAIR as a strong partner in these fights.”
The ADL dated CAIR’s anti-Israel agenda all the way back to it’s founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which the ADL defined as “a Hamas affiliated antisemitic propaganda organization.”
While CAIR has denounced certain terrorist acts in the US and abroad, for many years it shied away from condemning Hezbollah and other pro-Palestinian terrorist organizations by name, the ADL said.
And although CAIR has more recently criticized Hezbollah, the ADL said they only started doing so when the terrorist organization diversified its own activities from attacking Israel to also engaging in operations against Sunni Muslim fighters in Syria and Iraq.
Nonetheless, Adam Schiff praised CAIR in his letter, writing: “CAIR has worked to improve the lives of Muslim Americans through its mission of building coalitions, promoting mutual understanding and dialogue between communities, protecting civil liberties and improving understanding of Islam in our great diverse nation.”
The ADL further pointed to CAIR’s links to Hamas which was brought to light through the Holy Land Foundation trial, in which the organization was found to have been set up by the Muslim Brotherhood in support of Hamas. Five of the foundation’s officers were found guilty, one of whom was an the founder of CAIR’s Dallas chapter.
The investigation into the Holy Land Foundation caused the Federal Bureau of Investigation to distance itself from CAIR. In a letter dated April 2009, the FBI explained why: “Until we resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” the letter read.
In September 2013 the US Department of Justice reaffirmed the FBI’s policy on CAIR. Despite this, the organization has received particular support from Omar, who headlined CAIR’s gala conference in November along with activist Linda Sarsour. She, too, penned a supportive letter, writing: “Minnesota has a diverse Muslim population which has been vital [to] our state’s growth over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, we have witnessed an unprecedented nationwide spike in anti-Muslim bigotry and bias-incidence since 2016, with an additional increase following US President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban.
“Thankfully, CAIR and its Minnesota chapter over the past several years have fought back against this rising tide of anti-Muslim hate and empowered the Muslim community and others to fully participate in American civic life.”
FBI statistics showed that between 2006 and 2018, more Somali Americans from Minneapolis joined or attempted to join terrorist organizations overseas than any other jurisdiction in the country. During that time, 45 Somalis joined or attempted to join ISIS or al-Shabab, Fox News reported.