In the California Senate on Tuesday, Sister Michelle Gorman was slated to offer the daily prayer that opens the session. Instead of the Catholic sister, senate Democrats tapped local Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director Basim Elkarra to deliver the prayer, describing Elkarra as a “guest chaplain.” The move should not have come as a surprise because CAIR boss Elkarra is longtime favorite of California Democrats, with considerable clout in the court system.
Elkarra has been contending that Hamid Hayat, convicted in 2006 of providing support to terrorists, “did not get a fair trial,” despite representation by Wazhma Mojaddidi, a former CAIR president in Sacramento. CAIR and the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) judge-shopped Deborah Barnes, a relative newcomer to California’s Eastern District.
In January, judge Barnes issued a 116-page recommendation that Hayat’s case be vacated. Barnes scheduled two nights of testimony from witnesses in Pakistan by video conference, with no consequences for falsification. The hearing did not render a new trial or vacate Hayat’s conviction, but CAIR continues to champion the convicted terrorist, who celebrated the murder of Daniel Pearl and is slated for release in 2026.
For his part, Basim Elkarra has also shown skill as a producer of fake hate crimes. Two days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, a mysterious woman placed strips of bacon on the door of the Islamic Center mosque in Davis, California, near the state capital of Sacramento. The prowler then proceeded to vandalize bicycles and smash six windows before slipping away.
Surveillance video caught her in the act and tips led police to Lauren Kirk-Coehlo, 30, an unemployed UC Berkeley grad who was promptly arrested. Basim Elkarra thanked local authorities for “their swift investigation and arrest in the case,” failing to note that CAIR provided the surveillance video. At one point, the vandal practically poses for the camera, wearing what looks like a MAGA hat.
After the arrest, CAIR called on state and federal law enforcement to investigate “the motive behind the vandalism.” Steve Magagnini of the Sacramento Bee wrote “some Muslims nationwide have reported being harassed after president Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 barring all entry into the U.S. by visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.” So post Trump ergo propter Trump is CAIR’s high concept for hate crimes.
About that time someone sprayed anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls of the Tarbiya Institute in nearby Roseville. Police called it a hate crime and Basim Elkarra of CAIR said the Muslim institute had been “targeted by bigotry.”
In 2016, Iraqi refugee Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, was charged with travelling abroad to fight with terrorist groups in Syria. As he explained, Al-jayab was only visiting his grandmother in Turkey. Local CAIR boss Basim Elkarra told reporters he had surveyed local mosques and “no one recognizes this guy.”
The previous year, Elkarra ran for a seat on a local school board, his first attempt at public office. Key background on Elkarra failed to emerge.
In February 2015, after the death of humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller in captivity of the Islamic State (ISIS), California assemblywoman Mellissa Melendez tweeted: “Gut wrenching news today. American Kayla Mueller murdered by Islamic savages. There MUST be consequences” Basim Elkarra branded the message “hateful” and called on Melendez to apologize.
In 2007, Basim Elkarra refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups. He has also suggested that “Islamophobes” be prosecuted like Holocaust deniers. In April of 2000, as a member of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at UC Berkeley, Elkarra moderated an event featuring Hamas operative Mohammad Salah, labeled a terrorist by President Clinton.
In late 2006, California Senator Barbara Boxer gave Basim Elkarra a certificate of appreciation “in recognition of his efforts to protect civil liberties and to build bridges among diverse communities in California.” The senator quickly revoked the award, explaining that her California office had not vetted CAIR sufficiently.
Elkarra charged that Boxer had “succumbed to pressure from those who would marginalize American Muslims using smears and guilt by association.” He also claimed he received death threats after the award’s withdrawal but the FBI told Boxer’s staff that the threat was “not credible.”
For the 2015 schoolboard race, the Sacramento Bee endorsed Basim Elkarra who “has led diversity and leadership training” and “with his life story, energy and connections, he could inspire students to reach higher, to go into high-tech careers they wouldn’t otherwise.” The powerful California Teachers Association also supported Elkarra, who lost to Sonja Cameron. Even so, Elkarra remained a favorite with state Democrats.
“If Mohammed really wants something bad enough,” Richard Grenier wrote in The Marrakesh One-Two, “you get the impression Allah is going to say it’s okay. I mean, Allah just can’t seem to say no to him.”
In similar style, California Democrats can’t say no to Basim Elkarra, local executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Democrats even tap him to deliver prayers in the Senate. Establishment media ignored the story but as Katy Grimes explained in the California Globe CAIR is the creation of “the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian franchise, Hamas, officially designated as a terrorist organization since 1994.”