In the ‘90s, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) successfully marketed itself as the largest advocacy group for Muslim-Americans, shrewdly linking its mission to that of the civil rights movement. “We are similar to a Muslim NAACP,” winked spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
But the group’s aims seemed less about civil rights and more about intimidating people into silence. Wherever there is a critic of radical Islam to be smeared or a frivolous lawsuit to be pursued (remember the Nike logo lunacy?), CAIR is there. The group even managed to simultaneously lecture American law enforcement on how to tiptoe around the Muslim community while lecturing the Muslim community on how to stonewall law enforcement. And probably most significantly, it positioned itself as the media’s go-to spokesmen for all issues Islamic, making their message the only one disseminated.
The survey released last week by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center explored “U.S. Muslims’ political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after September 11.” It asked, among other questions, “Which national Muslim American organization, if any, do you feel most represents your interests?” According to its surprising results, over half the men and over 40% of the women polled said they feel that no national Muslim group represents them. Only 12% of men and 11% of women surveyed said that the ubiquitous, high-profile CAIR speaks for them. Single digit percentages of the respondents, ranging from 0% to a mere 7%, said they felt that other prominent national Muslim interest groups, like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – all groups with their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood – represent them.
This survey is another nail in what is shaping up to be CAIR’s coffin. The Washington Times had already reported as far back as June 2007 that CAIR’s membership had plunged 90% since the terrorist attacks of September 11. 2001. “This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR represents the American Muslim population,” said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, at the time. “They only represent their membership and donors.” The new Gallup poll seems further confirmation of that.
Being named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a highly-publicized terrorism-funding court case didn’t help their carefully crafted image either. The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) was the country’s largest Islamic charity, shut down by authorities in 2001 for funding the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. That case ended with convictions for the HLF and five of its top officials. The judge later rejected CAIR’s request to be removed from the unindicted co-conspirator list, saying there was “ample evidence” connecting it to Hamas.
More legal tribulations followed. This June, the group was stripped of its non-profit status after failing to file required tax forms for three straight years. Donations to CAIR are no longer tax-deductible.
The new Gallup survey does not elaborate on why all but a fraction of American Muslims reject CAIR and its fellow groups. But as one Muslim law student put it in an Examiner opinion piece: “Believe it or not, there are many of us American Muslims who do not think that the answer to fixing our image problem is to constantly issue press releases and file law suits.” And Jasser claims that the survey numbers prove that
the prevailing supposition by CAIR and so many of their misguided champions in the media that they somehow are representative of American Muslim sentiments is patently false. They certainly represent a segment albeit small of the American Muslim population and as I’ve repeatedly stated, the ideology, history and behaviors of their leadership demonstrates that if they represent any group well it is the Islamists among Muslims in America.
“We are isolated by Islamic organizations,” said Minnesota Muslim leader Abdirizak Bihi.
Perhaps not for much longer. The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that Bihi and other Muslims are starting to speak out against CAIR. In March, Bihi testified before Congress that CAIR refused to meet with him and other community members concerned about the growing threat of terrorist recruitment. CAIR, he said, refused to meet with the families of missing youths recruited by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, Bihi’s nephew among them. He testified that CAIR tried to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into the missing young men and to discredit him and other families.
In the face of such clear rejection from the constituents it claims to serve, CAIR has had to travel abroad to find a receptive audience for their grievance-mongering message. Executive Director and co-founder Nihad Awad appeared on a July 23 broadcast of Hamas-linked Al-Quds TV with the head of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood group, telling Arabic-speaking viewers that right-wing Islamophobes are inciting violence and hatred against Muslims in America. He pointed to the Norway terrorist Anders Breivik as evidence that such rhetoric inevitably fuels violence against Muslims. CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper bore a similar message on Iran’s state-run PressTV on June 6th, that anti-Muslim sentiment is raging in America.
CAIR’s dual agenda is abundantly clear: (A) to depict the United States as a snake pit of “Islamophobes,” wherein Muslims must fend for their very lives at every moment; and (B) to promote the hateful aspirations of our nation’s deadliest enemies, radical Islamic terrorists.
And when even Muslim-Americans themselves reject that agenda, it also reveals that CAIR is becoming increasingly desperate, marginalized and powerless.