Council on American–Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation

A new book reveals the bullying tactics of an Islamist supremacist organization.

cairFrontpage Interview's guest today is Deborah Weiss, an attorney, writer, public speaker, and a 9/11 survivor of the WTC attacks in NYC. She formerly served as a counsel for the Committee on House Oversight in Congress and for the Office of the Corporation Counsel under Mayor Giuliani. She currently works for Vigilance, Inc. and is considered an expert on OIC UN resolutions. She is the primary writer and researcher for a recently released book, Council on American-Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation, published by CFNS.

FP: Deborah Weiss, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

DW: Thank you for inviting me.

FP: Tell us a little bit about CAIR and its background.

DW: CAIR holds itself out as a Muslim Civil Rights organization, but in fact it’s an Islamist supremacist organization whose ultimate goal is the implementation of Sharia law. It has a network of chapters that are separately incorporated, but have similar goals, tactics and often overlapping or interchanging directors and staff. It’s based in America and Canada.

CAIR’s roots spawn out of Hamas and the Islamic Association of Palestine, both of which are State-designated terrorist organizations. It adheres to the same interpretation of Islam as the Muslim Brotherhood and serves as the propaganda wing of the so-called “Islamic Resistance Movement” in the West.

It has some funding from its membership, but also receives large contributions from donors in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE and Kuwait.

FP: What are CAIR’s goals in the United States?

DW: CAIR appears to have three main goals. One is to silence all criticism of anything related to Islam including Islamic terrorism. Second, it seeks to Islamize the workplace, and third, it works actively to hamper American national security.

FP: Can you give us some examples of how CAIR engages in each of these activities?

DW: Sure. CAIR often files frivolous lawsuits against anyone who blows the whistle on CAIR in order to silence their speech. It also tries to smear reputations and shut down speakers, authors, and politicians who seek to inform the public about the dangers of Islamism, whether it’s regarding Islamic terrorism, Islamic persecution of religious minorities or human rights violations committed in the name of Islam. But it also tries to shut down individuals or companies that make jokes, cartoons or films that shed Islam or Muslims in a negative light.

Additionally, CAIR engages in strong-arm tactics to pressure corporations to comply with what amounts to Islamic blasphemy codes. For example, years ago Nike launched a sneaker, called “Nike Air.” Someone complained that the logo for the word “air” looked similar to the word “Allah” in Arabic. CAIR went on a campaign to force Nike to recall the product on a world-wide scale and change the logo design. Unfortunately, it was successful. It also demanded that Nike make a public apology to all Muslims, that it change its design procedures and consult with CAIR in the future, and donate tens of thousands of dollars to Islamic schools and playgrounds. CAIR also threatened a global boycott, not just of Nike Air sneakers but of all Nike products. Nike resisted at first but eventually capitulated, in part, because it has a large audience in the Middle East that buys its products, and it feared a boycott would put the company out of business in that region.

This is just one example of the numerous companies that have been pressured and subsequently caved into CAIR’s demands. Some of the others include Liz Claiborne, Burger King, Heinz, Disney, Bank of America, and more.  The list is rather long and spans a comprehensive range of types of organizations from greeting card companies to banks to publishing houses to food organizations to clothing designers to film producers and broadcast stations.

On the employment front, CAIR often files EEOC claims on behalf of its clients and makes demands to companies to provide special preferences to Muslims which are not afforded to employees of other religions. These include demands for prayer breaks, on-site prayer rooms, exemptions from company uniforms, and separate rules for Muslim employees which exempt them from various company policies. Often the EEOC claims do not proceed to trial. Yet, CAIR frequently issues press releases falsely implying that the EEOC found the company in question to be discriminatory, when the EEOC merely issued a ruling giving CAIR permission to file a lawsuit so that a jury may determine the facts. CAIR misleads the public to believe that a positive ruling from the EEOC concludes there is discrimination, when it often it just means there’s a question of fact which warrants a trial. However, the negative press can hurt a corporation and the cost of litigation is high. Most companies don’t want the PR headache caused by these threats, so they enter a pre-trial settlement to get CAIR off their backs. Needless to say, CAIR usually flaunts the settlement as a win and falsely indicates that it’s an admission of “anti-Islam” bias.

Regarding national security, CAIR is engaged in a number of activities. CAIR tries to silence speech regarding Islamic terrorism, ensuring that counter-terrorism experts, law enforcement and national security professionals won’t get the training needed to identify Islamic terrorist threats in their early stages. Partly because of CAIR, a few years ago the Obama Administration rewrote all the training material for federal national security agencies, purging them of all mention of anything to do with Islamist ideology. This was true even if the word had a qualifier like “radical Islam” or “radical Muslims” because CAIR is on a mission to disassociate any interpretation of Islam with terrorism. It is not telling terrorist organizations that Islam doesn’t support their terrorist activities. Instead, CAIR cries “Islamophobia” or “bigotry” whenever national security professionals, the public, the media, or anyone else makes an accurate observation about this connection, teaches this fact or reports on the terrorists’ self-proclaimed Islamic beliefs.

The agencies that have changed their training programs include DHS, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, the State Department and the Department of Justice. Under Mayor DeBlasio in NYC, CAIR has also been successful in getting the NYPD’s terrific counterterrorism program partially dismantled. It is eliminating content regarding Islamist ideology in training, and reducing its surveillance programs. The NYPD had one of the best counterterrorism programs in the country. It is a totally false accusation by CAIR and other Islamist organizations that the NYPD surveilled the Muslim community simply for “practicing its faith”. The NYPD, like any credible counterterrorism organization, merely followed its leads and focused on the source of the threats. If it happened to focus on certain mosques, CAIR leadership or Muslim business owners, it’s because it had reason to believe these posed a national security threat. It was not because these organizations refused to recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior! That is the type of religious persecution that occurs in Islamist countries, where religious minorities are oppressed and denied the right to practice their faith. In America, so long as one follows the laws, he can pray and worship as his heart desires.

The other thing CAIR does is make numerous FOIA requests and other types of document requests. It also often demands “investigations” of national security investigators, including those who are investigating CAIR leadership. This serves two purposes. One, it informs CAIR of whom in its ranks has to watch their backs. And two, it ties up government resources. Instead of using money and personnel to investigate bad guys, the government is wasting time meeting CAIR’s bogus demands.

FP: Does CAIR leadership have terrorist ties? How does CAIR evade prosecution for its activities?

DW: Yes, Jamie. In additional to having its roots in Hamas, the IAP, and the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terror-financing trial in the history of the United States. There were other unindicted co-conspirators as well. Many people think that CAIR and the other co-conspirators should be prosecuted, and it’s unclear why they haven’t been.

Additionally, many of CAIR’s current and former leadership has terrorist ties. CAIR’s founding members, Nihad Awad, and Omar Ahmad, and Rafeeq Jabur originally worked with the IAP as did Ibrihim Hooper, CAIR’s spokesperson. Abdurahman Alamoudi, a former CAIR Board member is sitting in jail as I speak, serving a 23 years sentence for terrorist-related activities. Randall “Ismail” Royer was indicted for conspiring with a foreign terrorist group and pled guilty. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for assisting Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Ghassan Elashi, a founding member of CAIR-Texas was convicted along with his brothers, for funneling money to Hamas and doing business with State-sponsors of terrorism. The list goes on and on. Virtually all the leadership openly supports Hamas, and is virulently anti-Israel. Though they sometimes claim that “one bad apple” doesn’t represent the whole organization, it’s quite evident that this is more than one bad apple. It’s a pattern that runs throughout the organization.

FP: What are some of the other tactics CAIR employs in order to accomplish its goals?

DW: CAIR has a wide range of intimidation and strong-arm tactics that it utilizes to pressure individuals, corporations and government agencies to capitulate to its demands. As I mentioned, it files frivolous lawsuits. It also demands that employers fire any employee that “defames Islam”; it engages in company-wide boycotts (rather than just boycotting the product in question), false name-calling such as “Islamophobe” or “bigot”, calls on its membership to flood companies with phone calls, emails and letters, amounting to harassment so companies cannot get work done, embarks on public campaigns maligning companies and individuals, lobbies in Congress against any legislation that would protect America from Islamic terrorism, and infiltrates governmental agencies, societal institutions, and school boards in order to advance its Islamist agenda. It provides disinformation, misinformation, and intentionally deceives the public about its true nature, its agenda, and the Islamist threat generally.

Unfortunately, its efforts have been rather successful, yet under-recognized and under-reported. It has succeeded in getting products off the market, getting companies to change their internal production procedures, getting national security training programs gutted, obtaining preferential treatment of Muslims in some circumstances, and in getting the cancellation of numerous speakers denying them a voice so that the public can form its own opinion on the issues. CAIR has also been excellent at training its members in marketing messages, perception management, and controlling the narrative regarding Islam-related issues in the main stream media and in academia. It also encourages its members to become politically active.

FP: What can people do to fight against CAIR and its Islamist anti-freedom, anti-American influence?

DW: I’m so glad you asked, Jamie. I would hate to end this interview on a depressing note. There are a lot of things that the average citizen can do to help defeat CAIR and its agenda. First, educate yourselves on the issues and try to raise the awareness of your friends, neighbors and family members. If you can only forward one article a week to people you know, it’s a start. Second, make sure that your church or synagogue does not engage in bogus “interfaith dialogues” that give CAIR a platform to spew forth its disinformation campaign under cover of legitimacy. Try to educate your pastor or rabbi on what CAIR really is. If they don’t listen, send a letter to your congregation members.

I’ve heard of at least one church which got its members together and threatened to move to a different church. That should make the pastor listen. Third, know what is in your children’s school books. Frighteningly, Islamist groups are influencing textbooks and virtually rewriting history to have a pro-Islam, anti-American and anti-Israel bias. If you can, become active and run for a seat on your local school board or in your local legislature. If you can’t do that, then hold those who do run accountable. Educate elected officials and make sure they know what CAIR is and that they won’t work with them or cave in to them. Ask politicians if they believe there’s such a thing as Islamic terrorism and if they believe in free speech. If they say no or are unclear, that’s your cue that perhaps you don’t want them as your representative. Become involved. There are groups that work on these issues and it’s helpful to find those who are like-minded and join forces.

Above all, make sure you don’t become complacent. America was originally an experiment in freedom. It ought not be taken for granted. If you want to pass on the freedoms you enjoy to future generations, become active. You must be vigilant to keep America free.

FP: Deborah Weiss, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.