CAIR’s ‘Summer of Censorship’ Campaign Comes to Florida for Election 2010
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is investing time, money and political capital in an attempt to deflate dissenting political voices in Florida. In the space of just four days CAIR put out two national press releases condemning the “U.S. Constitution Freedom Rally” (PDF) to be hosted by the Emerald Coast Tea Party Patriots in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida on August 21. Why all the fuss (and PR money spent) over a Tea Party event in a small community? Apparently because of CAIR’s staunch foreign-inspired political opposition to ACT! for America – the country’s largest grassroots national security citizens’ organization – which they call an “anti-Islam hate group,” and its founder and the keynote speaker at the August tea party event, Brigitte Gabriel, whom they term “an extremist anti-Islam speaker.” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said, “Now is the time for Tea Party leaders to clearly demonstrate that their movement will not allow itself to be associated with bigotry of any kind, including Islamophobia.” Hooper appears to want to censor any critics of Islamic Shariah law, such as ACT! Director Gabriel.
Even stronger attempts to silence Shariah critics came from CAIR-Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush just last week, in the context of a dispute over how California school textbooks should portray Islam. He said, “Involving ACT! for America in educational material on Islam is akin to allowing the KKK to educate American students on the history of African Americans or Judaism.” Ayloush went on to tell the Orange County Weekly, “ACT! for America represents a small, but vocal, minority of extremists promoting anti-Muslim bigotry and religious disharmony around the country.”
Let’s put Mr. Ayloush’s inflammatory language aside and consult the inconvenient facts. ACT! for America has a highly successful and growing base of support, with 415 chapters and 115,000 members across the country. In 2002, Brigitte Gabriel founded the American Congress for Truth (ACT) as a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is conducting research and providing educational and informational materials to the public, funded by tax-deductible contributions. Years later, she found it crucial that a separate organization, ACT! for America, be founded as a 501(c)(4) “in order to accomplish the goal of having a grassroots citizen organization that would engage in activities such as lobbying and issues advocacy.” Furthermore, both the American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America have consistently filed their Form 990 tax returns with the IRS in accord with the law.
Conversely, recalling Hussam Ayloush’s language it seems that CAIR could be more aptly described as “a small, but vocal, minority of extremists promoting… bigotry and religious disharmony around the country” than either ACT! for America or the Tea Party movement. The Washington Times reported that the number of CAIR members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. CAIR’s finances and membership information since then remain a mystery as they have failed to file a Form 990 tax return with the IRS since 2006. With such a small pool of domestic membership, CAIR has turned to foreign sources for funding. They have received at least $6.6 million in cash and loans from foreign principals and met and coordinated with those foreign principals on more than 30 occasions; yet they have not registered as foreign agents with the DOJ in contravention of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). And as a 501(c)(3) tax deductable organization CAIR is not supposed to devote a substantial amount of their time and resources to lobbying. Yet they seem to spend a lot of time on Capitol Hill, and a lot of money criticizing elected officials and candidates. And as an unregistered foreign agent, all of their acts “whose intent is to influence any agency or official of the Government of the United States or any section of the public within the United States” are illegal according to FARA § 611(o).
In fact, since May they have devoted significant resources to an attempt to silence politicians and candidates whom they deem “Islamophobic.” The CAIR Observatory documents this pattern of political influence in the report “CAIR’s Summer of Censorship.”
This brings us to CAIR’s second salvo aimed at the same local Florida tea party event. Just four days after the attack on Ms. Gabriel, CAIR put out a press release warning GOP rising star and U.S. Senate Candidate Marco Rubio not to attend.
“We ask Mr. Rubio not to lend legitimacy to this hate rally and to demonstrate through his actions that the Republican Party will not seek to benefit from the rising level of Islamophobia in our society,” said CAIR-Tampa Communications Director Ramzy Kiliç. “Since the rally organizers obviously believe a hate-monger is an appropriate keynote speaker, we ask all the elected officials and candidates listed on the event flyer to cancel their appearances.”
CAIR’s over-the-top rhetoric can be enough to intimidate candidates and elected officials and make them think twice about public appearances and associations; and Marco Rubio is merely the latest target of this campaign.
We believe that CAIR’s actions constitute an orchestrated campaign to silence critics of Jihad, Shariah and Islamic Terrorism in the 2010 election season. Our “Summer of Censorship” report documents specific CAIR attacks on these public figures and organizations since May:
• And more…
As with most CAIR initiatives, the directions seem to be coming from abroad; specifically the Saudi Arabia-based NGO behemoth the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Senior CAIR and OIC officials have met and coordinated on several documented occasions since 2006. In 2007 CAIR received $325,000 in cash from the OIC to stage a joint conference on “Islamophobia” at Georgetown University. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad crossed paths with senior OIC officials as recently as June 2010 when he spoke at an OIC conference on dawa (Islamic missionizing) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The OIC position is that any statements about Islam as a political ideology – i.e., Shariah – are “Islamophobic.” In May 2010 the OIC’s “Islamophobia Observatory” released its third annual report on “Islamophobia” (PDF). The introduction (p.11) stated, “It needs to be appreciated that Islamophobia connotes a social anxiety about Islam… that views Islam as a political ideology rather than as a religion.” Therefore any public (or private) figure who speaks about Islam or Shariah as a political ideology is, according to the OIC, an “Islamophobe.”
CAIR’s “Summer of Censorship” provides the OIC the tools they need to enforce their policy in America.