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Op-Ed: Does CAIR Really Care?

In late July I contacted Mr. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman and director of communications at the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). When he returned my call, he presented his point of view about the Arab-Israeli conflict and militant Islam. When I reminded him about CAIR's record of openly supporting Hamas, Hizbullah and other organizations deemed by the government to be terrorists, he repl
Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 6:45 PM


In late July I contacted Mr. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman and director of communications at the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). When he returned my call, he presented his point of view about the Arab-Israeli conflict and militant Islam. When I reminded him about CAIR's record of openly supporting Hamas, Hizbullah and other organizations deemed by the government to be terrorists, he replied by telling me that "CAIR does not support these groups publicly."

But Hooper must have realized that he had said too much; he lost his composure and I suddenly found myself listening to a dial tone.

To make sure that I had not misunderstood him, I called him back. His response? "Call me tomorrow morning." Then he hung up the phone again.

Instead of calling Mr. Hooper the next day, however, I sent him an e-mail and told him that his comment kept haunting me and that I believe I was owed an explanation. In my quest to comprehend CAIR's position regarding the Middle East peace process, I posed the following six questions, hoping for a clear response:

1. Does CAIR accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state in its historic, biblical homeland, whose 'final' borders should be negotiated between the state of Israel and representatives of Palestinian Arabs who have renounced violence?

2. Does CAIR condemn Hizbullah as a terrorist organization?

3. Does CAIR deem Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, al-Aqsa Brigades, Fatah and other such groups as terrorist organizations, without making a distinction between their political and military wings?

4. Does CAIR unconditionally condemn suicide/homicide bombing?

5. Does CAIR condemn all violence against civilians?

6. Does CAIR agree that a final resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can be achieved only through political negotiations, with no threat of a return to violence?

After a few days, there was still no response from Mr. Hooper; so I called him again to clarify what he meant about not ?publicly? supporting terrorist groups and to get his reaction to my six questions.

However, all he said was that he will have peace when I quit calling him.

This led me to research CAIR further.

CAIR was founded in 1994 by two former officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine, a group that former FBI counterterrorism chief Oliver Revell acknowledged was formed as a front for the Palestinian Arab terrorist group, Hamas. One of CAIR's official founders and its executive director, Nihad Awad, openly expressed support for Hamas, Hizbullah and numerous other Arab/Islamic terrorist organizations.

Mr. Hooper has defended Saudi financial support of Palestinian suicide bombers. In spite of this, much of America's present political establishment embraces CAIR as a legitimate, mainstream Muslim-American organization. FBI Director Robert Mueller and other top FBI officials have met with CAIR, even though CAIR seems to be more opposed to the FBI's efforts to fight terrorism than to the terrorists themselves, as reported by Michael Waller in Insight magazine.

Taking a closer look at the facts, CAIR can be characterized only as an extremist group.

On June 26, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) chaired hearings on "Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States" before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. According to the testimony of Stephen Schwartz, Director of the Islam and Democracy Program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, CAIR is financed by and maintains open and close relations with the Saudi government, whose goal, we now know, is to spread the autocratic Wahhabi brand of Islam, which aims to rule the world. CAIR has claimed that some 70 percent of American Muslims want the Wahhabi teaching in their mosques.

CAIR also claims to be a (Muslim) civil liberties organization. As CAIR's spokesman, should Mr. Hooper not, then, offer an explanation as to why militant Islamists appear to be indifferent to the civil liberties of non-Muslims? If Mr. Hooper is the communication director of CAIR, why is he so unwilling to communicate what he meant when he said that, ?publicly?, CAIR does not support terrorist groups?

If CAIR truly stands for equality, freedom, tolerance and democracy for everyone, it should be calling for the dismantling of terrorist groups. But never have I heard any CAIR spokesperson denounce terrorism except in a twisted, elusive manner that seeks to blame those who speak out against the terrorists' militant brand of Islam.

As an American, Mr. Hooper should make the elimination of hate and incitement his objective. It is apparent, from our interaction, that Mr. Hooper may not really believe in the American system. This was indicated by his infamous statement in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which he declared, "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future."

Hopefully, Mr. Hooper will take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to respond to my very simple questions and explain his comment that CAIR doesn't support terrorist groups ?publicly?. Surely my questions are not that difficult to answer ? unless, of course, CAIR actually supports terrorist organizations and/or is supported by them, and simply doesn't want the public to know it.