The Edmond Sun

Local News

March 6, 2010

What’s the truth about CAIR?

Organization disputes alleged terrorist ties

EDMOND — Depending on who is speaking, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is either a bridge-building civil rights group or a front for terrorists.

In recent weeks and months, anti-CAIR rhetoric has been ratcheting up, especially on the Internet, where information — or misinformation — about the group is abundant.

One thing that is certain is that the relationship between CAIR and the FBI has oscillated in recent years. A call from The Sun to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., seeking comment on the group, resulted in the issuance of a statement.

In it, the FBI says the public’s understanding and trust remain essential to its success in all aspects of its mission. 

“CAIR has been advised of the reasons behind our suspension of formal partnership,” the FBI stated. “These reasons include the fact that CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in United States v. Holy Land Foundation and CAIR’s failure to answer our questions about a connection between their executives and Hamas. Until these questions are answered, the FBI does not consider CAIR an appropriate partner for formal liaison activities.”

An unindicted co-conspirator is a person or entity that is alleged in an indictment to have engaged in conspiracy, but who is not charged in the same indictment.

In May 2009, a federal judge handed down sentences in the Holy Land Foundation case. The government contends that from its inception, the Holy Land Foundation existed to support Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.

Five of the foundation’s leaders were convicted by a federal grand jury on charges of providing material support to Hamas. Before the foundation was designated as a terrorist organization and shut down in December 2001, it was the largest U.S. Muslim charity, according to the FBI. It was based in a Dallas suburb.

The Holy Land Foundation became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas, according to the FBI.

According to a wiretap of a 1993 Palestine Committee meeting in Philadelphia, former Foundation President and CEO Shukri Abu Baker spoke about playing down their Hamas ties in order to keep raising money in the U.S. Another wiretapped phone call included Abdulrahman Odeh, the foundation’s New Jersey representative, referring to a suicide bombing as “a beautiful operation.”

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