CAIR’s Philadelphia chapter is holding a press conference tomorrow (Wednesday, March 17) at which it plans “to announce the launch of a nationwide campaign to challenge anti-Islam bias in a series of children’s books that the Washington-based Muslim civil rights group says promote ‘hostility toward Islam and suspicion of Muslims’.”
The reference is to a ten-volume series for middle-schools and high schools titled the “World of Islam” produced by the Foreign Policy Research Institute and published by Mason Crest Publishers. (For the record, in 1986-93, I served as director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute; I had no role in the “World of Islam” series.)
In advance of the press conference, it may be helpful to review an incriminating e-mail exchange among the CAIR staff about the series. It took place on December 9, 2009, when Moein M. Khawaja, “civil rights director” for CAIR’s Philadelphia office, sent a memo to the CAIR staff. Khawaja reported that he had gone through some of the Mason Crest volumes and flagged materials he disapproved of (such as, “The burqa is a visible symbol of European Muslims resistance to assimilation in society”).
Relying on an informant at Mason Crest, Khawaja then wrote:
I’ve been given the entire order list for this series (orders that came in up until yesterday). This list shows which school districts and libraries have purchased the individual books or entire series – It is a nationwide campaign. This is valuable information because we can contact each of them and explain that they really got propaganda. I’m not sure what legal issues there are here – but there has to be some sort of thing about masked propaganda in schools and libraries?
Karen Dabdoub of CAIR’s Cincinnati chapter replied later that day that she shared Khawaja’s concerns:
Many of these authors have names that at the very least sound Jewish and none that sound like Muslim names. While I know we can’t judge a book by its cover it still gives me reason to doubt the balance of the information in these books. I also noticed another book [published by Mason Crest – DP] on Islamic Fundamentalism and the glowing review they quote is from the Association of Jewish Libraries.
Still on December 9, Babak Darvish of CAIR’s Columbus office replied:
Good call Sr. Karen, the names do sound like that…one of them sounds almost Serbian/Romanian. It sounds like everybody that has a beef with Islam is producing books to brainwash the youth with for the next generation. This is really hateful and would be like Neo-Nazis writing books to teach about Judaism in Public schools.
Presumably the “almost Serbian/Romanian” name is that of the late Michael Radu, my onetime co-author and author of the recently published book, Europe’s Ghost: Tolerance, Jihadism, and the Crisis of the West (Encounter).
(1) This episode raises unsettling questions: What is CAIR doing with an “informant” inside Mason Crest Publishers? How many other publishing houses has it penetrated? And which other cultural institutions have staff more loyal to CAIR than to their employers?
(2) Remarks about authors’ names “that at the very least sound Jewish” and one that “sound almost Serbian/Romanian” give a sense of how CAIR staff think and write when they think they are not being watched, with biased and even racist attitudes toward Jews and Balkan peoples very much at odds with their usual public face. (That public face too sometimes lapses, as I documented at “Look Now Who’s Profiling – CAIR’s Staff Is.”)
(3) Even more alarming is the conclusion from the authors’ names that the Mason Crest series “is really hateful” and a comparison of it to “Neo-Nazis writing books to teach about Judaism in Public schools.” Implicit to this reasoning is the false and demeaning assumption that Jews and Balkan peoples may not write about Islam.
(4) I challenge Mason Crest Publishers to investigate which employee smuggled its proprietary information to CAIR and then inform the public of his or her identity.
(5) And I challenge CAIR to disown and disavow its staff’s anti-Semitic and racist statements.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.