by David J. Rusin
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reserves some of its harshest words for Muslims who contribute to combating radicalism and terror. This was true a decade ago, when CAIR's rhetoric endangered reform-minded Muslim Khalid Durán, and it is just as true today.
Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, is the latest to carry on the trend. The Investigative Project (IPT) reports that Walid, while appearing at a November 18 rally in New York to protest the NYPD's counterterrorism tactics inside the city's Islamic community, offered this unflattering portrayal of imams and other Muslims who assist law enforcement:
These days we have Pakistani Uncle Toms, Arab Uncle Toms, we have Uncle Toms masquerading as imams, Indonesian and Malaysian Uncle Toms. And we need to call them out. And these people are trying to speak on behalf of the community. … We as a community should rise up and say this Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima does not represent the interests of the [mosques] and Arab organizations.
Walid's remarks followed a far more personal assault launched by CAIR-Minnesota and allied entities in a letter asking police to boycott a November 10 conference in St. Paul providing education on Somali culture. Their objection: two speakers, Abdirizak Bihi and Omar Jamal, who courageously spotlight the problem of Minnesota Muslims being recruited to join al-Shabaab jihadists in Somalia; the men often charge area Muslim leaders with complicity.
The letter describes the session as "anti-Muslim and anti-Somali" — though Bihi and Jamal are Muslims of Somali descent — insists that it is biased to refer to al-Shabaab as an "Islamic extremist terrorism" group, and employs ad hominem attacks that frequently backfire by underlining CAIR's own faults. It claims that Bihi and Jamal are "unrepresentative" of the Somali community, yet CAIR-Minnesota apparently includes no Somalis on its board. It asserts that neither has "experience relevant to the topics to be presented," ignoring that Jamal works for the Somali government at the UN and Bihi's nephew died with al-Shabaab. It accuses groups linked to the men of not filing tax forms, which is precisely how CAIR lost its tax-exempt status in 2011. It also harps on their overblown legal troubles — ironic, given CAIR's history in court. The educational event took place as planned, but threats against Jamal later emerged.
In another recent case of CAIR insulting an anti-Islamist Muslim, the head of its Chicago branch, Ahmed Rehab, called Zuhdi Jasser "a sock puppet for the axis of Islamophobia" when the latter emphasized Islamist ideology during a joint interview about the Pakistani government's disposition in May. Examples from previous years can be found as well, such as when onetime CAIR-Tampa bigwig Ahmed Bedier used a 2007 television appearance with Tawfik Hamid to dismiss the reformer as out of touch because "you're not from this country."
Two lessons: First, Muslims who provide an alternative to its party line frighten CAIR and deserve support for that reason alone. Second, if CAIR is against those who are against radical Islam and its various manifestations, can there be any doubt regarding what CAIR is for?
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