Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
Wilfredo Amr Ruiz is a representative for the Florida office of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As such, he is involved with a group that has foundational and financial ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. So why would a news network like CNN wish to provide him and his group with a platform to speak? Regardless of the reason, it should not have taken place and it should never again take place any time in the future.
CAIR was established in June 1994 as an integral part of the US chapter of the Palestine Committee, a now-defunct Hamas support network headed by then-global leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. CAIR is the only member of US Palestine Committee (under its original name) to still be in existence. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was branded by the US government a co-conspirator in two federal trials dealing with the funding of millions of dollars to Hamas. And CAIR representatives have been convicted in and/or deported from the US for terror-related crimes.
Wilfredo Ruiz is the Communications Director of CAIR-Florida. CAIR-Florida has distinguished itself little from its Hamas-related parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers repeatedly shouted, “We are Hamas,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “Hamas kicked your ass.” In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who himself has spent time on the US terrorist watchlist, tweeted that “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.” In May 2019, Shibly used the CAIR Tampa headquarters to hold a meeting with convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Hatem Fariz.
CAIR is not the only extremist group Ruiz is involved with. He is also a relief worker for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization related to South Asian terrorist groups. Indeed, a current imam for ICNA, Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, was sentenced to death (in absentia), in November 2013, for his role in the murders of 18 people as the leader of a death squad in what is now Bangladesh. And Ruiz has been involved with Islamic Relief (IR), an organization that has been banned by a number of nations. IR has been labeled by Israel a Hamas front, and the UAE government has designated it (as well as CAIR) a terrorist organization.
Furthermore, according to his bio, Ruiz is the legal advisor for the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), a group that has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for its promotion of what the ADL described as “venomous” anti-Semitism. Ruiz founded AMANA’s Connecticut and Puerto Rico chapters. Recently, the President of AMANA, Sofian Zakkout, was removed from the Miami-Dade County boards of directors of both Crime Stoppers and Citizens’ Crime Watch, after this author exposed Zakkout’s support for Hamas and al-Qaeda, praise of white supremacist leader David Duke, and promotion of material claiming that “the Holocaust was faked.” Ruiz has affectionately referred to Zakkout as “my dear brother.”
On March 17, 2018, Ruiz gave a presentation at Masjid As Sunnah An Nabawiyyah, a radical mosque located in North Miami, Florida, discussing “what to do if the FBI comes for you.” Ruiz was introduced to the congregation by the mosque’s imam, Fadi Kablawi. This was just eight days following a speech Kablawi gave at the mosque, telling this same congregation that Western civilization is “wicked” and informing them that the FBI is after him, because the agency considers him to be a member of ISIS. Kablawi implied that congregants in his audience were spying on him for the Feds. He called them “snitches” and “cowards.”
On May 2, 2020, Ruiz posted a photo of himself being interviewed for CNN. Ruiz was exploiting the photo to raise funds, via a LaunchGood campaign, for CAIR-Florida’s Communications Department, which he heads. Holding the microphone for Ruiz, in the photo, was Rafy Rivera, CNN’s Spanish language correspondent for Puerto Rico. Ruiz himself grew up in Puerto Rico. The shared heritage between Ruiz and Rivera and the subject of the news segment is irrelevant, though, since any interview involving a CAIR spokesman is always viewed by CAIR as a propaganda victory.
This was not the only time Ruiz was interviewed for CNN. In fact, he has been on several times, including as a political analyst. Ruiz’s CAIR colleague, Hassan Shibly, has also been interviewed for CNN, and both have been featured on other large media outlets.
The media portrayal of CAIR as a respectable Muslim ‘civil rights group’ must end. CNN and Rafy Rivera are complicit in enabling Ruiz, Shibly and CAIR to portray themselves as ‘do-gooders’ and are acting as ‘useful idiots’ by legitimizing and whitewashing CAIR’s terror ties to a seemingly gullible viewership. By promoting CAIR and giving the organization the opportunity to raise money for its nefarious purposes off the CNN name, CNN has joined the ranks of Hamas and David Duke supporters and Holocaust deniers who incite against Jews and Israel.
Every dollar that was raised, as a result of Ruiz’s CNN photo op, should be considered ‘blood money’ that CNN had a hand in raising. Although CNN could not foresee how their photo would be used, a simple Google search would have revealed CAIR’s well-documented Hamas ties and hate-filled agenda. This leads one to conclude that CNN has no problem with CAIR or its leadership and is a willing ally in spreading terror and bigotry.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.