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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  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
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    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
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    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

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