Perhaps it's wise not to try and read too much into the fact that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has scheduled four of its local chapters' fundraising banquets – Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, and Cleveland -- on April Fool's Day.
Is the joke that more than 20 years after this extremist group's founding, a decade since the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial labeled it an "unindicted co-conspirator," CAIR continues to dupe both Democrats and Republicans across the country? Or that it still finds venues for its fundraising events at hotels, convention centers, and country clubs?
In 2004, Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss writer and activist, was banned from entering the United States, after authorities found that between 1998 and 2002, he had given $1300 to Association de Secours Palestinien, a Swiss-based charity designated by the Treasury Department as a front group for Hamas.
But in 2010, under a new administration, the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to lift the ban. Since then, Ramadan has become a regular visitor to our shores, frequently addressing crowds at large Islamist-run conferences across America almost every year.
Ramadan's next visit, on March 31, will feature a lecture at the newly-founded Boston Islamic Seminary, a project of the Islamic Society of Boston. The hosts and the guest are a perfect match. Both have a long history of extremist links. And both have managed to dupe much of the political establishment into treating their work as an example of moderate Islam. It is certainly not that.
The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) plans to host its annual banquet at the Springfield Country Club on March 11, 2017, featuring Linda Sarsour. The Middle East Forum calls on the Springfield County Club to cancel this event and commit to not hosting CAIR events in the future. Here's why:
Linda Sarsour has a history of promoting fake hate crimes, antisemitism, and other extremist groups. She has claimed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 "underwear bomber," was a CIA provocateur. Further, Sarsour is a frequent participant and fundraiser for Al-Awda, a Palestinian group that endorses terrorism, calls for the destruction of Israel, and relays the slogan of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
For many years now Islamist Watch's senior research fellow David Rusin has maintained an archive of links and excerpts to stories relating to Islamism both at home and abroad. He usually adds 5-10 items each day and here are 16 of the most important picks from last month that you won't want to miss:
Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Congressman and aspiring Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman*, has managed to thrive politically for years in spite of a long history of radical associations and problematic statements. However, words can only persuade so deeply. For many Ellison supporters, it may require images for the disturbing truth of Ellison's core convictions to resonate.
And that's just what was provided to Islamist Watch, a series of six photographs uploaded to Facebook, which we now share with you.
1. BFFs in Cairo
In September 2011 Ellison visited Cairo, where he went to several of the key sites for the Egyptian Arab Spring. His guides were two officials from the Islamist organization the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Ahmed Rehab, director of CAIR-Chicago; and the terrorist-supporting former director of CAIR-Tampa, Ahmed Bedier, who christened the congressman "My BFF" – or "Best Friend Forever" for those unversed in the lingo of teenage girls.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) shared a video in support of Al Qaeda jihadist Aafia Siddiqui on one of its Facebook pages.
Siddiqui has been described by FBI Director Robert Mueller as "an al-Qaeda operative and facilitator."
She is currently serving an 86-year sentence on two counts of attempted murder. At the time of her arrest she had on her possession "handwritten notes and a computer drive containing recipes for bombs and weapons of mass destruction, instructions on how to make machines to shoot down U.S. drones, descriptions of New York City landmarks with references to a mass casualty attack, and two pounds of cyanide."
Now, we have put together a compilation of his sermons on adultery, theft and hatred of non-Muslims. He is frank about his views: stone to death adulterers; chop off the hands of thieves; lashes for people who drink; do not be intimate with "those outside your race"; and non-muslims are "foul and corrupting."
The sermons illustrate, once again, the extremism of the Islamist clerics preaching to thousands all across America.
Last week the PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly only lived up to half of its name when it presented a hagiographic depiction of Omar Suleiman, instructor at the Salafist Al Maghrib Institute and founder of the Yaqeen Institute, which is advised by prominent Muslim Brotherhood intellectual Tariq Ramadan. The program featured footage of Suleiman bringing American Muslim youth to visit Syrian refugees and extoling the work of the terrorism-linked charity Helping Hand for Relief and Development.
The show's producers chose to ignore Suleiman's associations with extreme Islamist movements and instead featured a smiling imam visiting Syria with American Muslim youth and donated necessities. Suleiman is friendly and likable, with a child on his shoulders, playing soccer, delivering blankets, handing out sneakers, and introducing refugees to two-room trailer homes courtesy of Helping Hand.
Siraj Wahhaj is the Imam of the Taqwa mosque in New York. He is a prominent Islamist cleric with a long history of involvement in extremist causes.
Last week, we published a compilation of his sermons on homosexuality, in which Wahhaj condemns homosexuals as a "disease of this society" and cites the the death penalty stipulated by the Quran.
This week, we have put together a compilation of Siraj Wahhaj's comments about jihad, which are even more extreme. In the first few clips, Wahhaj is raising money for the Benevolence International Foundation, which the Treasury Department designated in 2002 as a "financier of terrorism." Its leader, Enaam Arnaout, was a close associate of Bin Laden. According to prosecutors, the Benevolence International Foundation raised funds "to support Al Qaeda and other groups engaged in armed violence overseas."
This image, evoking the Obama Hope poster, appeared during the women's march.
Among the most controversial organizers of the "women's march" on Washington earlier this month was Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, and a longtime supporter of Islamist groups, leaders and causes.
While Sarsour's progressive allies at publications like The Huffington Post sought to portray criticism of her as inspired by "Islamophobia," even the New York Times challenged the activist's support of Islamist patriarchy: "Linda Sarsour is a religiously conservative veiled Muslim woman, embracing a fundamentalist worldview requiring women to 'modestly' cover themselves, a view which has little to do with female equality and much more of a connection with the ideology of political Islam than feminism."
Next month Sarsour has a speaking engagement on her calendar that further reinforces this narrative of her valuing deceitful Islamism over authentic multicultural liberal tolerance.
ISLAMIST WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, combats the ideas and institutions of lawful Islamism in the United States and throughout the West. Arguing that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution," we seek to expose the Islamist organizations that currently dominate the debate, while identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims. Islamist Watch specifically does not deal with counterterrorism but works to establish that lawful Islamism is by and of itself a threat.