June 16, 2009
If you watch or read a report on Islam or Muslims in the United States, you will probably come across the acronym CAIR, which stands for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR is the unofficial voice of Islam in America, mostly because government officials and the media treat it as such.
This leads to the question: Should they? My friend Congressman Frank Wolf says “no,” and he has very good reasons—as he told Congress last Friday.
Wolf’s interest in CAIR was piqued when he learned that the FBI had severed “its once-close ties with” CAIR “amid mounting evidence that it has links to a support network for Hamas.” Since Hamas “is on the current list of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations,” such an allegation, if proven, wouldn’t only warrant the severing of ties, it would also call CAIR’s credibility into question.
That’s because, as Tawik Hamad, a former “Islamist extremist,” wrote in the Wall Street Journal, CAIR persistently accuses it opponents of “Islamophobia.” But if they have ties to Islamic groups, then these accusations can rightly be called a smoke screen.
Frank Wolf is an extremely fair-minded person with a passion for human rights, so he wanted to find out if the link to Hamas was real. In a word, the answer is “yes.”
The most damaging evidence comes from a recent trial involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The Foundation and five of its leaders were charged with “providing material support to Hamas.” All were found guilty and received sentences of 15 to 65 years.
The Justice Department argued that the Foundation was a part of an effort “to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas.”
One of the Foundation’s unindicted co-conspirators was CAIR. During the trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of a relationship between CAIR, some if its founders, and a group with ties to Hamas.
It was this evidence that caused the FBI to reassess its ties to CAIR, which included “training sessions for FBI agents” and using the organization “as a liaison with the American Muslim community.”
The question now is: How, if at all, will these revelations affect the government’s and media’s relationship with CAIR? Will it cause them to reassess the organization, or will they allow themselves to be intimidated?
That’s not hyperbole. For merely inquiring into the FBI’s reasons for severing its ties with CAIR, Wolf was subjected to attacks and accused of abusing his office. Someone less devoted to learning the truth than Wolf is might not want to risk being accused of “Islamophobia.”
That’s nonsense. Americans have no reason to be concerned about the vast majority of Muslim neighbors. Nor are we anti-Muslim. No amount of politically correct or diplomatic talk, however, can change the reality of the terrorist threat from the Islamist extremists with whom CAIR is involved.
Frank Wolf’s willingness to take risks for the sake of the truth is one of the many reasons I am proud to call him my friend.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.