Omar Ahmad’s picture and bio have been removed from CAIR’s national website, but his likeness has turned up on another CAIR site, a local chapter’s one in California. Given CAIR’s publicly known history linking the group to Hamas and given the fallout from the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trials, one would think that CAIR would wish to shed its troubling past. With regards to Ahmad and some others, though, it seems the group has embraced it, proving that CAIR is willing to either sink or swim with its radicals.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR was founded in June 1994 by three individuals, Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber. At the time, all three were involved with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), what was then the American propaganda wing of the terrorist organization Hamas.
According to Awad, Ahmad (a.k.a. Omar Yahya) was the driving force behind CAIR. In a February 2000 article, entitled ‘Muslim-Americans in Mainstream Media,’ Awad wrote, “Omar suggested to me that we leave the IAP and concentrate on combating anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide. He proposed that I move to Washington, D.C., where any effective national effort would have to be based, while he tried to raise the seed money for the project.”
However, there was something of a much grander scale going on, as CAIR was created as being part of a terrorist conspiracy to raise funds for Hamas from the United States. The conspiracy went by the name American Palestine Committee, and it was led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook.
The committee consisted of CAIR, the IAP, a Hamas command center called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), and a Hamas financing wing called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). The “seed money” that Awad was talking about came from HLF in the form of a check for $5000.
Ahmad ended his term as IAP National President (1991-1994) and became CAIR’s Chairman of the Board. Awad, who was IAP’s Public Relations Director, became CAIR’s Executive Director. Jaber, who was the President of the IAP’s local chapter in Chicago (American Muslim Society) and later IAP National President, stayed on with CAIR as a director, according to him, till 1996. And Ibrahim Hooper, a colleague of Awad’s from the Minnesota-based Bosnian Relief Committee, agreed to come in as CAIR’s Communications Director.
To this day, Awad and Hooper still hold their respective positions. Ahmad, however, stepped down as CAIR Chairman nearly eleven years later and was replaced by Parvez Ahmed in May 2005. Ahmed had previously been involved with local CAIR chapters in Florida and Pennsylvania and is the Registered Agent of CAIR’s Independent Writers Syndicate (IWS), a now defunct newspaper and website commentary distribution service.
Soon after Ahmad’s departure from CAIR, the group changed his status on its national website from “Chairman” to “Chairman Emeritus,” a title usually given out of respect for someone who has retired from a sitting position. The title, along with his photo and bio – the same photo and bio that were there previously – remained untouched. That is, until recently.
Today, Omar Ahmad’s information is gone from the CAIR National site. Given that Ahmad was named by the U.S. Justice Department as a co-conspirator in the 2007⁄2008 HLF federal Hamas financing trials, this would appear to be a smart move for the group, even if CAIR itself was named an HLF trial co-conspirator. From CAIR’s perspective, why add to the problem?
Evidently though, this wasn’t the thinking behind the removal, because while CAIR National nixed Ahmad’s info, his photo was placed on another of CAIR’s websites – the one for its San Francisco Bay Area chapter (CAIR-SFBA) – as one of the group’s Executive Committee Members.
And really, CAIR couldn’t be too concerned about someone like Ahmad, when viewing the radical who is heading up its SFBA chapter, Zahra Billoo.
Billoo is the Executive Director and the Programs and Outreach Director of CAIR-SFBA. In December 2008, Billoo contemplated setting up a website asking for volunteers to sign up to attack Israel, and in January 2009, she said that “to raise ‘fighters’” against Israel is an “amazing reason to get married.” Well, now she’s getting married, as last month she posted on her blog that she just went in to get tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) for the wedding.
Yet Omar Ahmad is not the only HLF trial co-conspirator who CAIR is openly working with. CAIR-Chicago (CAIR-Illinois) has been showcasing a number of others.
Regarding Hamas in America, Chicago has been one of the ‘hot spots.’ The main hub of this activity is a radical mosque located in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, the Mosque Foundation (MF). From here, funds were raised for both HLF and IAP.
A number of individuals related to the Mosque Foundation were named co-conspirators for the HLF trials. One of them, Muhammad Salah, was a member of the MF Executive Committee. According to the U.S. government, Salah was recruiting and training Hamas members and was raising money for Hamas. In July 2007, Salah was convicted of obstruction of justice.
CAIR-Chicago used its website to urge people to attend court in support of Salah, whilst calling the case against him “political persecution.” Both CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab and CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham took to the airwaves in defense of Salah. About Salah’s sentence, Abraham stated, “It’s a sad day for the Muslim community.”
CAIR-Chicago has sponsored different events at the Mosque Foundation, and as such has become very close with the center’s two main leaders, Jamal Said and Kifah Mustapha, each of which was named a co-conspirator for the HLF trials.
Jamal Said is the primary imam of the Mosque Foundation. Since taking the job in 1985, he has memorialized suicide bombers and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for terrorists, such as IAP co-founder Sami al-Arian, and terrorist charities, such as the Holy Land Foundation. It was due to his leadership, that Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s spiritual mentor, paid the mosque a visit in the mid-1980s to recruit potential mujahideen to fight in Afghanistan.
None of this information has stopped CAIR from holding numerous functions with Said. At one such function in February 2006, CAIR-Chicago’s Second Annual Event, Said took on the role of CAIR fundraiser, telling the audience, according to CAIR, “about the work CAIR-Chicago has done for the Muslim Community and what it can do in the future.” In August 2008, CAIR-Chicago lauded Said in a press release stating, “Imam Jamal Said is a cornerstone of the Chicago Muslim community.”
Kifah Mustapha is an imam and the Associate Director of the Mosque Foundation. He is also the Registered Agent for the now defunct Illinois office of HLF, and during a March 2004 deposition of him, he admitted that he did much volunteer work for the IAP. But just like Said, this hasn’t stopped CAIR from working with him.
In May 2006, Mustapha shared the stage with Ahmed Rehab at a CAIR-Chicago forum to discuss citizenship delays. And in February 2007, Mustapha acted as the group’s cheerleader and “rallied” the crowd for CAIR, at CAIR-Chicago’s 3rd Annual Event.
CAIR-Chicago included both Said and Mustapha as lecturers for its April 2008 Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium (MYLS). The event was co-sponsored by the Mosque Foundation.
CAIR has called its designation by the U.S. government as an HLF co-conspirator “unjust,” but by associating with other co-conspirators and by ignoring all of the evidence against people like Ahmad, Salah, Said and Mustapha, the group has done nothing to shake its label.
Of course, shaking the co-conspirator label would be an extremely difficult proposition for CAIR, as its entire existence is one that is rooted in terror. It would be nearly impossible to change the reality of the group without getting rid of the group entirely.