The United Arab Emirates has reportedly named a number of Muslim organizations as militant or “terrorist” organizations. Among them are the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). Both of these are Islamist organizations we have criticized heavily and with whom we have been engaged in an ongoing battle of ideas. CAIR in particular merits heavy scrutiny as one of the leading Islamist groups in the country, and which engages in dishonest, malicious smear campaigns against any Muslim who dissents with their ideas or their methodology. CAIR and their ilk are undeniably problematic, standing in direct opposition to the principles of pluralism and individual liberty upon which this nation was founded.
Ideally, the UAE’s move would cause individuals associated with these groups and broader American society at large to see these organizations for what they really are: purveyors of Islamist apologetics and the malignancy of supremacism.
Unfortunately, however, this list will do no such thing. Rather, it places CAIR in exactly the position they most enjoy: that of the victim. When an oligarchical Islamist monarchy such as the UAE targets a populist Islamist group like CAIR, CAIR’s ability to prey on both Muslims and non-Muslims by claiming victim status is strengthened. CAIR is put in a position where it can both claim persecution in the United States and abroad; endearing to its cause those who simply don’t know to read between the lines. CAIR has already responded to the UAE’s move by demanding clarification and to be removed from the list entirely, as well as claiming shock that they are named at all. Could this be a case of organizational amnesia? Surely CAIR knows of its own ties to Islamist movements, its connection to imams who praise Yusef Qaradawi, its historical connection to Hamas and the outright support many of its chapter heads demonstrate for the Muslim Brotherhood?
As tempting as it may be for anti-Islamists to applaud the UAE’s recognition of CAIR and their ilk as malignant and terrorist, we caution against doing so. It is important to remember that fascists – from genocidal Bashar al-Assad in Syria to Mubarak and now al-Sisi in Egypt – have attempted to push underground those groups with whom many of us take issue; but not because these fascists value liberty and freedom. Rather, they do so in order to advance their own tyrannical agendas whilst empowering Islamist groups behind the scenes. Mubarak’s decades-long tryst with the Muslim Brotherhood is now no secret to the world; and finally people are beginning to see that continuing to allow Assad to remain in power has boosted groups like ISIS, not challenged them. Simply put, the UAE is only fueling populist Islamism and its progeny, not defeating it. The UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies advance core Islamist beliefs but just want a single tribe to control the Islamist government rather than a populist movement. Like every other fascist government, the rulers of the UAE stand in direct opposition to individual liberty, women’s rights, freedom of conscience, equal rights for minorities and all other human rights we who stand on the right side of history consider to be inalienable. We should not be fooled into thinking that the UAE has our security or our values in mind when it purports to seek an end to extremism.
While it makes perfect and responsible sense to know who these groups are, we must also remember that by simply declaring them “terror groups,” we are not defeating their ideas. In order to prevent their ideas from leading to violent extremism, we must defeat them in the open arena of free speech or else they will garner even more support by indoctrinating Muslims with the lie that secular governance is about autocracy rather than about religious liberty. This includes dissuading those in positions of power from advancing their ideology out of sympathy for them as “victims,” and being smarter than to think their fascist brethren are ever on our side.
PHOENIX (November 7, 2014) – The American Islamic Forum for Democracy endorses the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), the largest coalition of Middle East Christian NGOs in the United States and internationally, in their request to Archbishop Atallah Hanna to remove Nihad Awad, the director of Islamist group CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) from a coalition said to be aimed at helping Christian minorities in the Middle East.
The inclusion of CAIR, at minimum a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood but widely believed to be a front for MB, is counterproductive to the cause named in this effort. There is no place for CAIR, or any American-Islamist lobby groups in an honest coalition to aid Christian minorities. Islamist will deceptively present themselves as protectors of minorities to the West, while advancing the supremacist ideology of Islamism around the world and the agenda of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
AIFD joins MECHRIC in calling for the immediate removal of CAIR in this necessary endeavor. The full letter may be seen on our website at:
About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. AIFD also supports Muslim youth and adult leadership initiatives, and efforts to protect universal human rights including women’s rights and freedom of conscience. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.
About Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
Dr. Jasser is a Syrian-American activist, Navy veteran, physician, and observant Muslim. He is a noted expert on Islamism, Islamist terror groups and Middle East foreign policy. As the founder of AIFD, Dr. Jasser is dedicated to the support of human rights and democracy. He is the author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam” published by Simon and Schuster.
Nov 4th 2014
Archbishop Atallah Hanna
Archbishop of Sebastia,
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
P.O. Box 14518, Jerusalem 91145
Re: Interfaith Coalition to Protect Christians
Dear Bishop Hanna:
We have learned that you have sponsored the formation of an “interfaith coalition to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.” We are troubled by the fact that among the NGOs and activists invited to join the coalition are a number of Islamist and pro-Jihadi groups whose agenda has been and continues to be hostile to the freedom and survival of Christian and other minorities in the Middle East.
Among the activists you have included is Nihad Awad, the President of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR), which is an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism case and is not the civil rights organization it claims to be. For more than a decade, CAIR members and former members have been indicted, and some are serving jail sentences, for terrorism cases successfully brought against them. The Islamist organization is considered by experts as a front to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has inspired leading members of al Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh) and has been put on terror lists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. Several members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Pete King, and the Chairwoman of the subcommittee on Intelligence, Rep. Sue Myrick, have considered CAIR an extremist Islamist organization. There are bills introduced in the US House of Representatives calling for identifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a Terror organization.
CAIR has attacked Middle East Christian leaders across America, including Copts such as Dr. Shawki Karas, Lebanese Christians, as well as Iraqi and Syrian Christians while also waging smear campaigns against prominent Middle East experts for raising the issue of persecution of minorities in the Middle East. CAIR stood with the oppressive regimes against Christians and other sectors of civil societies and backed the genocidal regime of Sudan headed by the ICC indicted General Omar Bashir. CAIR backs the Muslim Brotherhood, who in Egypt has been responsible for attacks against Christian Copts and in Libya backed the Jihadi forces responsible for violence against civilians. But even more dangerous, CAIR politically backs the Islamists and the Jihadists who in Syria and in Iraq have persecuted Christians. Some of these factions joined the Islamic State known as ISIS, which has perpetrated war crimes and crimes against Humanity in Mosul, the Nineveh Plain, and Sinjar against Christians and Yazidis.
CAIR and its executive director Nihad Awad have been notorious for suppressing educational programs, both in the public and private sectors, aimed at informing the American public about the persecution of Christian minorities in the Greater Middle East. Awad and his acolytes have politically harassed writers and intellectuals, academics who have been raising the issue of persecution of religious minorities and have become the main obstructers of truth about this persecution. In a sense, Awad and CAIR, by being supportive of the Jihadists and the Islamists and by suppressing the voices defending the persecuted Christians, actually bear some moral responsibility for the persecution and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
It would be unthinkable and unbearable for Middle East Christians and Yazidis to see a so-called interfaith Coalition presided by a Church official, partnering with haters of Middle East Christians and bigots against oppressed Middle East minorities
We therefore, as representatives of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC, representing the largest coalition of Americans from Middle East Christian descent, including Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Maronites, Melkites and other groups, as well as Yazidis, ask you to remove Nihad Awad and any Islamist militant from your coalition immediately. Our communities have been offended by the presence of pro-Jihadists in a coalition claiming to help Middle East Christians and other minorities.
John Hajjar, on behalf of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC
CC: Members of Congress (Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees in House and Senate)
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman,
Senator Bob Corker, Ranking
Senator Ted Cruz
Senator John McCain
Senator Lindsey Graham
House committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member
Sub-committees the Middle East and North Africa
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
Rep. Theodore E. Deutch , Ranking Member
Sub-Committee on Terrorism
Rep. Ted Poe , Chairman
Rep. Brad Sherman , Ranking Member
Committee on Home land security
Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman
Sub-committee on counter terrorism and Intelligence
Rep. Peter T. King , Chairman
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Louie Gohmert
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