Since the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR was founded in June 1994, while a handful of representatives from the group have been forthright in vocalizing their support for global terrorist organizations, the majority of the group’s hierarchy has worked hard to mask this support. One such CAIR operative, Affad Shaikh, has made and continues to make this duplicitous façade a large part of his life, blurring the lines of terror support by spouting anti-Western rhetoric and propagating terror-related fanatics.
Affad Shaikh is the Civil Rights Manager of CAIR-Los Angeles, the main chapter of CAIR-California. He has held this position since April 2006. Prior to that, he worked out of CAIR’s San Diego office.
During his time with CAIR, Shaikh has had his share of extremist activity. In September 2007, Shaikh mimicked lingo used by al-Qaeda, when he referred to American troops stationed in Iraq as “Crusaders.” And in July 2008, Shaikh was stopped at the U.S./Mexico border by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, who accused him of plotting with others to assassinate then-President George W. Bush.
These things have not done harm to his standing within CAIR. To the contrary, given their nature, they most probably have enhanced his status with the organization. However, as radical as he is, he knows his limits, and these limits are reflected on the weblogs he is involved with.
On the top of Shaikh’s personal blog, This American Muslim, is found a cartoon boy holding two flags – one the Palestinian flag, the other the red Turkish flag – with what appears to be a rifle strap draped over his back. The boy, Handala, first appeared in a publication in 1969 and was created as a symbol of anti-Israel violence and, according to the artist, was a “rejection” of “the American way.”
Of course, placing the cartoon on his site was Shaikh’s way of defending the flotilla of six ships headed for Gaza from Turkey, last month, which Israeli troops boarded prior to being attacked by the ships’ passengers.
Reinforcing this point, on Shaikh’s Facebook page, on U.S. Memorial Day – which happened to land on the same day as the flotilla incident – he stated that, instead of celebrating the day as an American, he would rather be “an honorary Turk.” He then immediately posted a video on his Facebook page featuring the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Huwaida Arraf, whom he referred to as “the organizer” of the flotilla.
Did it matter to Shaikh that the group that bankrolled the flotilla, Insani Yardem Vakfi (IHH), is said to have ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda? Apparently not. However, this is understandable given the fact that Shaikh’s organization, CAIR, was established as part of Hamas, and so if IHH was connected to Hamas and was out to provide assistance to Hamas in Gaza, Shaikh can just be seen as protecting his group’s roots and interests.
And that’s the only way he could have been seen, when he made a comment on his site, earlier this month, regarding the World Cup soccer tournament, where, much like he did on Memorial Day, he spat on his nationality and stated his allegiance to his Palestinian brethren over that of his own country, the United States. He said, “Who are you cheering for? Italy? The United States of Americaaaaaaaa… ah, no, actually I am cheering for Palestine.”
This American Muslim is not the only troublesome blog Shaikh has been involved with. This past March, he admitted to launching the blog Muslamics four or so years ago. In fact, the site still lists him as a contributor.
On every page of Muslamics, there currently resides a link to the official website of Anwar al-Awlaki. This is the same Anwar al-Awlaki that was a confidant to various high profile terrorists, including Times Square bomber Faizal Shahzad, underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, who brutally murdered 13 American servicemen.
The link was up on Shaikh’s blog in January 2009, when al-Awlaki posted on his site his ‘44 Ways to Support Jihad,’ which urged Muslims to engage in weapons training and to fight the West. It was on Shaikh’s blog in November 2009, when al-Alwaki referred on his site to Nidal Hasan as a “hero.” And it was on Shaikh’s blog, when al-Awlaki called on American Muslims to attack their fellow Americans.
This is compounded by the fact that Shaikh, himself, has disclosed that he listens to lectures given by al-Awlaki.
While placing a link on a website or listening to a terror leader’s lectures on tape doesn’t constitute actual terrorist activity, it is a tacit way of supporting that activity without overtly proclaiming that support, especially when there’s an extremist history with the individual(s) involved.
Shaikh and many of his fellow colleagues at CAIR have skirted the edges of support for terrorists and terrorist groups by propagating anti-Western rhetoric and by showcasing that which is derived from those engaged in terrorism. This veiled defense of fanaticism allows CAIR to continue to exist in the United States as a legal entity, while at the same time allowing CAIR to prolong its radical activities.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate (AAH) and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.
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