Written by Ryan Mauro
When a Unitarian church in Florida decided to teach its congregation about Islam around the time of this year’s anniversary of 9/11, it brought in an extremist official from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who has promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories. The group may no longer be embraced by the FBI, but CAIR’s list of published endorsements shows there are plenty of Christian and Jewish leaders happy to work with it.
CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the country’s largest terrorism financing trial and is listed by federal prosecutors as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s secret Palestine Committee. A federal judge ruled in 2009 that there is “ample” evidence tying CAIR to Hamas. The organization was recently accused of using money laundering to hide its foreign financiers.
Perhaps the most damning official statement about CAIR comes from a 2007 court filing. Federal prosecutors said: “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists…the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”
In response to Pastor Terry Jones’ plan to burn of Qurans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lakeland, Florida booked a guest speaker teach them about Islam. That speaker was Hassan Shibly, the executive-director of CAIR’s Florida chapter.
Lately, Shibly has been making the FBI sound like anti-Muslim murderers for the shooting death of an associate of one of the Boston bombers.
In 2004, Shibly was detained at the Canadian border after he and some colleagues attended the Reviving Islamic Spirit Conference in Toronto. The U.S. government said they were questioned because of “credible intelligence that conferences similar to the one from which these individuals were leaving were being used by terrorist organizations to fundraise and to hide the travel of terrorists themselves.” Shibly subsequently sued the Department of Homeland Security and it has been dismissed.
In 2010, I wrote an article about how Shibly had been repeatedly used as a guest speaker by Clarence High School in New York. In his communication with me, Shibly refused to condemn Hamas as a whole or call them a “terrorist” group. He had previously said that “Hezbollah is absolutely not a terrorist organization” and “any war against them is illegitimate.”
He “liked” radical clerics on Facebook and promoted conspiracy theories suggesting that the 9/11 attacks carried out by Israel and that the U.S. and U.K. were instigating sectarian violence in Iraq. Shibly also wrote a post titled, “Former American Terrorist Denounces American Terrorism” where a U.S. soldier says the U.S. military in Iraq are the real terrorists and are racist.
Unitarians have been particularly receptive to CAIR and its allies. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles teamed up with CAIR to sue the National Security Agency.
The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations is an official interfaith partner of the Islamic Society of North America, CAIR’s fellow unindicted co-conspirator and U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. It is also a member of the ISNA-allied Shoulder-to-Shoulder interfaith coalition.
Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, pastor of the First United Church of Tampa and President of the North American region of the World Council of Churches, gave CAIR an award in 2011.
The Faith Action Network, created by the Lutheran Public Policy Office and Washington Association of Churches, awarded CAIR’s Washington state chapter with its “Connecting Communities” award in 2011.
The Central United Methodist Church’s 7th Annual Peace and Justice Banquet honored the executive-director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, Dawud Walid with the “Pastor’s Award” in 2011.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism documents, “In response to FBI raids, arrests and prosecutions, Walid has repeatedly responded with virulent comments alleging FBI misconduct.” He once said the FBI is “manufacturing their own terrorism suspects to give the appearance that they’re actually doing something tangible in the so-called ‘War on Terrorism.’”
Pastor Warren Clark of Tampa said in 2007, “As a Christian pastor, I support the work of CAIR…We need groups like CAIR in these fear-mongering times.”
Hannah Schwarzschild of the Philadelphia chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace said CAIR-PA is “engaged in some of the most urgent civil rights work…” in 2007. An organizer of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked rally boasted of the “friendship” of Jewish Voice for Peace after Egyptian President Morsi was overthrown.
Rev. John C. Wagner of the United Methodist Church and Professor Emeritus of the United Theological Seminary praised CAIR-OH in 2006 “for their credible, gracious and courageous witness to the Muslim experience in Ohio.”
CAIR recently honored Dr. Sayyid Syeed of ISNA with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Syeed is the orchestrator of ISNA’s very successful interfaith engagement. As we documented last week, Syeed’s resume shows he has hopped from one U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front to the next.
CAIR’s interfaith hero was recorded in 2006 saying, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.” The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities have said what their motivation is, if only their non-Muslim allies would pay attention.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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