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the FBI decision to sever telations wiht CAIRTHE WHOLE STORY BEHIND THE FBI'S DECISION TO SEVER RELATIONS WITH CAIR
According to their website, CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, is a non-profit organization with a stated mission "to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." Started in 1994, and now with over 30 offices in 19 states, CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group. CAIR works to promote a positive image of Islam through civil rights work, government affairs, media relations, publications, research, and education.
CAIR, THE FBI, AND THE HLF CASE
CAIR and the FBI used to enjoy a good relationship, with many members of the FBI attending CAIR fundraisers, CAIR-sponsored cultural sensitivity trainings, and other events. CAIR's director was one of the people FBI Director Robert Mueller met with in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. However, according to the "Investigative Project on Terrorism," the decision to cut ties with CAIR was quietly made last summer.
On Oct. 8th, 2008, the Oaklahoma City FBI Field Office sent a letter to the local CAIR chapter stating that they would not be participating in a quarterly meeting with the Muslim community because "certain issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the FBI" national office in Washington, DC. Letters with similar wording were sent to CAIR chapters in other states.
The "issues" referred to in this letter are the fact that CAIR and its chairman emeritus, Omar Ahmad, were named as un-indicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development case, an Islamic charity accused of providing money and political support for the terrorist organization Hamas. Since 1995, it has been illegal to provide support to Hamas from within the US, since Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization.
In November of 2008, 5 former HLF officials were convicted on all counts of material support for Hamas. During testimony, FBI agent Lara Burns described CAIR as a front organization. One of CAIR's founders was taped at Miami's Barry University in March of 1994 publicly declaring his support for Hamas: "I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO," Awad said.
CONGRESS TAKES ACTION ON CAIR
In 2003, 2 Senators - Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) denounced CAIR as an extremist group tied to terrorist causes after it was reported that an FBI agent attended a CAIR fundraising dinner.
A Jan. 29th 2009 article by Fox News regarding the FBI's severence of ties with CAIR prompted Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) to send a letter to the FBI's assistant director of counterterrorism on Monday, Feb. 2nd asking for a detailed explanation on the FBI's relationship with CAIR. Five other members of Congress sent a letter to all members of Congress warning that everyone should "Beware of CAIR" and not meet with CAIR representatives.
The FBI issued a statement on Friday: "The FBI has had to limit its formal contact with CAIR field offices until certain issues are addressed by CAIR's national headquarters," said FBI spokesman John Miller. "CAIR's leadership is aware of this. Beyond that, we have no further comment."
In respose, CAIR issued a statement calling these actions and articles a 'smear campaign' that is gorssly misinformed, claiming that the FBI is still working with individual CAIR chapters around the country, and that they look forward to better relations with President Obama.
In addition to what is linked above, many other news outlets have reported on this issue:
Tuesday, Feb. 3, World Tribune
Saturday, Jan. 31, All Headline News
Saturday, Jan. 31, World Net Daily