CAIR Silent on the Death of ISIS Founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
On Sunday, President Donald Trump announced the death of Islamic State (ISIS) founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. While Americans celebrated the demise of this Islamist terrorist – who had brutally murdered many Muslims, Christians, homosexuals, and more – the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which bills itself as America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, remained strangely silent.
A PJ Media review of CAIR’s Twitter account and press releases found many tweets and press statements drawing attention to CAIR’s upcoming gala but not a single mention of Baghdadi’s death. Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, has not tweeted in about a week.
The organization has not responded to PJ Media’s request for comment.
This seems particularly strange, given that even Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) – an outspoken Muslim congresswoman who works closely with CAIR – publicly celebrated Baghdadi’s death. “Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was an evil man and a terrorist, who terrorized the world with violence and a message of hate. The world is a safer place without him,” Omar tweeted. “We have deep gratitude for the brave men and women who carried out this dangerous operation.”
M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim reformer who is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), drew attention to two statements shared by local CAIR leaders. Jasser, who fights Islamism and Sharia supremacy, champions American-style freedoms and the separation of mosque and state. He noticed an anti-American trend in the local CAIR statements and a tendency to whitewash the Islamist roots of the Islamic State.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director at CAIR Greater Los Angeles, used Baghdadi’s death as an opportunity to … blame America and Israel for terrorism.
“The death of Al-Baghdadi will reduce terrorism, but not end it. Here’s how we end it,” Ayloush began. “Baghdadi’s terror career started in a U.S. torture prison after an illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. Baghdadi’s terrorism, for the most part, harmed the people of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and others and their struggle for freedom. His ISIS terrorism served all the repressive governments that opposed freedom and democracy in that region.”
Ayloush warned that “unless the root cause of the problem is addressed, bloody symptoms such as Baghdadi, Bin Laden, and Joulani [a Syrian terrorist leader] will continue to surface and cause mayhem on innocent people. The root cause is the tyranny and abuses brought down by the autocratic regimes of people like Assad, Sisi, MBS, MBZ, Khamenei, and other dictators and by Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies against the people of that region.”
He warned that terrorism can only be eliminated when Western governments “stop supporting, funding, arming, and protecting such despotic regimes and their practices,” a status quo which involves “the brutal suppression of Muslims and Islam’s universal social justice order (driven by centuries of Western Islamophobia).”
That Islamic “universal social justice order” might be a reference to Sharia (Islamic law), and a desire to see governments in the region enshrine Islamic religious law as civil law. While Ayloush and CAIR interpret Sharia differently than the Islamic State, this Sharia supremacism actually inspired Baghdadi and ISIS to carry out their acts of terrorism. The Islamic State was an attempt to unite Islamic lands under Baghdadi as Caliph – who claimed to be the successor to Mohammed – and create a government run by Sharia.
Yet Ayloush was not the only local CAIR leader to address Baghdadi’s death. CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi retweeted a long statement from Huthaifa Shqeirat (son of the Senior Imam of the Phoenix, Ariz.-area mosque), in which Shqeirat also blamed America for Baghdadi’s radicalism.
“Baghdadi was not a Caliph; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. A demon molded by the cruelty of US soldiers in Abu Ghraib and then set loose to terrorize the local population. As he was killing Muslims, those who created him kept pointing the finger of blame at his victims,” Shqeirat tweeted. He dismissed those who call Baghdadi a “product of Islam” as “fools,” saying the would-be Caliph was not a “Muslim scholar.”
“Bin Laden and Baghdadi are merely symptoms, and unless we seriously address the role of the US in cultivating environments that facilitate the growth and development of terrorism, we will relive this entire cycle again and again, with a worse villain each and every time,” Shqeirat concluded.
“Even when they speak up, they blame America,” Jasser told PJ Media. “I think it’s because their narrative is to blame America for Baghdadi, so their default is to say nothing.”
‘They don’t see ISIS for what it is – a natural manifestation of Islamism, Salafi-Jihadism, and Caliphism,” Jasser added. The messages from local CAIR leaders also confirm “their disgust for America and grotesque penchant to conspiratorially blame America for our own sharia supremacism.”
“They are so deeply anti-American that they can’t even celebrate a victory of the death of the greatest stain on Muslims in the world at the hands of American patriots,” the Muslim reformer told PJ Media. “Instead they again spew a narrative that further radicalized Muslims instead of proclaiming victory of good over evil. They basically claim that we are the source of the evil. That is Islamism.”
“That response is classic ‘Ikhwani,’ the Muslim Brotherhood ‘avoidance’ response to dealing with the salafi-jihadists like al-Qaeda and ISIS, from which they are ideologically upstream,” Jasser concluded.
CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-funding case, and wiretap surveillance reportedly captured proof that CAIR’s original mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” which the government claimed was its founder’s code-name for Hamas. CAIR opened its first office with a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation.
CAIR claims that the unindicted co-conspirator label is misleading and that it does not maintain connections to Hamas or any other terror group. This Muslim organization’s advocacy is notably different from the extreme positions of Islamist groups like Hamas – CAIR champions LGBT people while under Hamas homosexuality is punishable by death, for instance.
However, CAIR’s silence on the death of Baghdadi is troubling, as is the trend of local CAIR leaders condemning America rather than addressing the Islamist roots of ISIS.
CAIR’s history of attempting to silence critics is also troubling. Joining with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), CAIR has pressured charities to blacklist conservative nonprofits falsely branded “anti-Muslim hate groups.” Early this month, CAIR and the SPLC pressured Mar-a-Lago into cancelling an event with ACT for America, an organization Jasser and other Muslim reformers gladly partner with in the fight against Islamism. After that success, CAIR launched a second campaign against the Center for Security Policy.
Muslims should follow the lead of Zuhdi Jasser in condemning Sharia supremacy, rather than blaming America for the terrorist leader who died in a raid carried out by U.S. troops. American foreign policy blunders did allow for the rise of ISIS, but Muslims cannot overlook the Islamist inspiration of this terrorist group.
Fox News – Spirited Debate
October 25, 2019
One of the religious liberty cases the Supreme Court Justices won’t be hearing this term is the issue of Maryland High School student Caleigh Wood, who refused to take part in a school assignment to write the Islamic conversion prayer that states “… there is no god but Allah,” because she believed it directly contradicted her Christian faith.
The High Court denied a petition filed on behalf of the 11th grader, angering one conservative commentator who saw it as caving in to the indoctrination in schools and on college campuses.
“This is not just a violation of the First Amendment but an ongoing, albeit subtle, diffusion of Islam in our Western society,” the Rev. Mario Alex Protello wrote.
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of Thomas More Law Center, which filed the petition on Wood’s behalf said, “The schools are promoting Islam over Christianity or any other religion, and you have a double standard, which we think is a violation of the establishment clause.” Thompson also said in the firm’s press release, “Under the pretext of teaching history or social studies, public schools across America are promoting the religion of Islam in ways that would never be tolerated for Christianity or any other religion.”
Thompson said that on top of getting an F in the class, Wood was also made to watch a pro-Islam “PowerPoint presentation that denigrated her religion and basically said that Christians are not as faithful as Muslims. So we strongly believed that this was a violation.”
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the assignment to write the Islamic conversion prayer … did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Charles County Public Schools released a statement after the Supreme Court’s denial saying, “The decision reaffirms a favorable U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling earlier this year that the school did not “impermissibly endorse any religion and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.”
One Muslim scholar strongly disagrees. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said:
“They made this the student recite the Islamic call to call of witness a prayer, which makes her a Muslim. That’s absurd.”
Jasser said the High Court should have taken the case. He said it would have been an opportunity to challenge the ideologies of a brand of Islam that has produced ISIS and other terror groups.
“The theocratic interpretations of Islam are really what we need to defeat, which is the establishment of the Islamic leadership,” Jasser added, “and the Establishment Clause in America is really the … nuclear way to defeat political Islam.”
October 13, 2019
It’s been 18 years, but 9/11 is still affecting the lives of Muslims in the West. This week’s has a spirited discussion about sharia law, political Islam and Western colonialism in the Middle East.
In this episode:
On his trip to Australia earlier this year, American Muslim commentator Dr Zuhdi Jasser says Salafists and Wahhabis have too much influence over what is taught in mosques in the West, but Dr Yassir Morsi disagrees, saying Australian Muslims are much more diverse than they’re given credit for. They are joined by Dr Chloe Patton from RMIT University’s School of Global and Social Studies where she researches Islamophobia.
The idea of ‘creeping sharia’ persists in Australian political discourse — particularly around election time. But implementing religious law in civil statutes happens in Australia more often than you might think, to little concern at all. So what does that look like?
Islamism is a term so broad it covers everything from the theocrats of the Saudi Royal Family, to their sworn enemy Al Qaeda, to completely non-violent, democratic Islamist parties of South-East Asia. Religiously-inspired political parties are common across the world, but nobody can agree if they are a threat to democracy or the purest expression of it.
Dr Zuhdi Jasser is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum of Democracy. He’s the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith, and he was in Australia on a speaking tour earlier this year.
Dr Yassir Morsi is lecturer in politics at La Trobe University and author of Radical Skin, Moderate Masks: De-Radicalising the Muslim and Racism in Post-racial Societies.
Dr Chloe Patton is an academic at RMIT University’s School of Global and Social Studies. She researches Islamophobia and was formerly research fellow at London’s Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump stood by his decision to move U.S. troops out of harm’s way Wednesday as Turkish forces invaded northern Syria.
Trump then heaped scorn on his critics, who he said have not had to meet face to face with U.S. troops who have been wounded on the field of battle. Trump recalled giving out Purple Heart medals at Walter Reed National Medical Center last week.
“I get that we want to remove troops and that it’s not our war,” responded Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former Navy doctor and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “However, even one soldier in that area was preventing Turkey” from trying to wipe out Syrian Kurds, allies who helped U.S. forces defeat ISIS.
Jasser, usually a Trump supporter, faulted Trump for giving Turkey a “green light” to invade Syria as “Islamist hegemony.”
During an interview with Judy Woodruff of “PBS News Hour,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied that Trump gave Turkey a “green light.”
“On the phone call on Sunday night, it became very clear that there were American soldiers that were going to be at risk and the president made a decision to put them in a place where they were out of harm’s way,” Pompeo countered.
For his part, Trump, who announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the United States on Nov. 13, warned that if the Turkish leader allows his troops to commit atrocities against the Kurds, “I will wipe out his economy.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a usual Trump supporter and constant golf companion, has tried to change Trump’s mind on the matter. “Most members of Congress believe it would be wrong to abandon the Kurds who have been strong allies against ISIS,” Graham tweeted this week.
Graham and fellow Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., quickly released a plan to impose “severe” economic sanctions on Erdogan himself, as well as other Turkish political leaders and entities that support Turkish energy interests.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposed the decision in a statement, “The president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Northern Syria is a deeply disturbing development that betrays our Kurdish allies who have been instrumental partners in our mission to eradicate ISIS.”
When a reporter asked Trump if the U.S. will appear to be an untrustworthy ally in the future and if that will hamper future foreign policy initiatives, Trump responded, “Alliances are very easy.”
A moral wrong
Bradley Bowman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Center on Military and Political Power called Trump’s acquiescence to Erdogan “morally wrong.”
The United States provided air cover for the Syrian Democratic Forces while Syrian militia did the bulk of the fighting and dying on the ground against ISIS, Bowman said. Trump’s announcement “undercuts America’s reputation as a trustworthy ally.”
“This is something that people in the Middle East will remember for years, or even decades, to come. This is something that Americans will hear told back to them, 10, 20, 30 years from now,” Bowman warned.
As Syrian militia move to fight Turkey, they will be less able to prevent the escape of some 11,000 ISIS jihadis held in Syrian Democratic Forces detention facilities. “The most likely outcome is massive numbers of ISIS militants escaping and regrouping,” according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish lawmaker.
Kilic Burga Kanat, research director for the Turkish think tank SETA, defended Trump’s actions. “This is Trump’s position from the very beginning, to pull out troops from endless wars,” he told the Review-Journal.
“I’m not sure what they mean betrayal of the Kurds,” Kanat added, as the Turkish military will be focused on Kurdish militia that advocate for an autonomous Kurdish state.
Contact Debra J. Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.
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