[Congressional Record: June 12, 2009 (House)]
[Page H6669-H6676]
                        


 
              COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS--CAIR

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 6, 2009, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. WOLF. Madam Speaker, as ranking member on the Commerce, Justice, 
Science Appropriation Subcommittee, which last week considered the 
fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill, I have a keen interest in and 
oversight responsibility for a host of counterterrorism and related 
initiatives.
  The bill which is expected to come before the full House next week 
includes $7.7 billion to support the work of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, the FBI, whose top priorities include protecting and 
defending the United States against terrorism and foreign intelligence 
threats.

                              {time}  1315

  The FBI was intimately involved in a 15-year investigation, which 
culminated last fall in the Holy Land Foundation and five of its former 
organizers being found guilty of illegally funneling more than $12 
million to the terrorist group Hamas.
  A Department of Justice press release issued May 27, 2009, reported, 
``U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced the Holy Land Foundation 
for Relief and Development and five of its leaders following their 
convictions by a Federal jury in November 2008 on charges of providing 
material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist 
organization.'' The sentences range from 15 years to 65 years in 
prison.
  According to the Department of Justice, ``From its inception, the 
Holy Land Foundation existed to support Hamas. The government's case 
included testimony that, in the early 1990s, Hamas' parent 
organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of 
organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and 
raise money for Hamas. The defendants sent Holy Land Foundation-raised 
funds to Hamas-controlled zakat committees and charitable societies 
West Bank and Gaza.''
  Among the unindicted conspirators in the case is an organization 
which, over the last several years, has been granted access to the 
highest levels of the U.S. Government--an organization which is 
routinely elevated in the press as a voice of mainstream Muslim 
Americans. This organization is the Council on American-Islamic 
Relations, or CAIR.
  Tawfik Hamid, according to his bio, is an ``Islamist thinker and 
reformer and onetime Islamist extremist from Egypt. He was a member of 
a terrorist Islamic organization, Jemaah Islamiyah, with Dr. Ayman al-
Zawahiri, who became later the second in command of al Qaeda.
  On May 25 of 2007, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Hamid wrote the 
following, ``In America, perhaps the most conspicuous organization to 
persistently accuse opponents of Islamophobia is the Council of [sic] 
American Islamic Relations.'' The observations of Mr. Tawfik, himself a 
Muslim, are particularly relevant in light of recent news reports.
  On January 30, 2009, Fox News reported that the FBI was ``severing 
its once close ties with the Nation's largest Muslim advocacy group, 
the Council on American-Islamic Relations, amid mounting evidence that 
it has links to a support network for Hamas.''
  Given that Hamas is on the current list of U.S.-designated foreign 
terrorist organizations, this was obviously a serious claim and one 
which, if true, would rightly inform a shift in FBI policy. However, 
the Fox News piece left me with some unanswered questions, questions 
which, given the seriousness of the report, necessitated further 
inquiry. Such questions of the executive branch are a common 
congressional practice and, in fact, are the responsibility of the 
legislative branch of government and are the intended purpose of our 
system of checks and balances.
  For 6 years, from 2001-2006, I served as chairman of the 
appropriations subcommittee which has oversight of the FBI. This year, 
I resumed a leadership role as the lead Republican on the subcommittee.
  According to the Congressional Research Service, ``Congressional 
oversight refers to the review, monitoring and supervision of Federal 
agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation. It is an 
integral part of the American system of checks and balances.''

[[Page H6670]]

  A young Woodrow Wilson, before becoming President, put it this way. 
He said, ``Quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of 
administration.''
  Needless to say, I take very seriously the responsibility of 
congressional oversight, especially in matters with potential national 
security implications. In this spirit of oversight, I wrote to the FBI 
on February 2, seeking additional information and clarification 
regarding the Bureau's decision about its relationship with CAIR.
  For the Record, I submit a copy of the letter.
                                    Congress of the United States,


                                     House of Representatives,

                                 Washington, DC, February 2, 2009.
     Mr. Michael J. Heimbach,
     Assistant Director, Counter Terrorism Division, Federal 
         Bureau of Investigation, Washington DC.
       Dear Mr. Heimbach: I write regarding the bureau's position 
     on meeting with the Council on American Islamic Relations 
     (CAIR). Over the weekend I saw a FOX News report (enclosed) 
     that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has cut off 
     ties with CAIR ``amid mounting evidence that it has links to 
     a support network for Hamas.'' Given that Hamas is on the 
     current list of U.S. designated foreign terrorist 
     organizations, this is obviously a serious claim, one which 
     would rightly inform a shift in FBI policy.
       In response to this report, I request answers to the 
     following questions:
       Has the FBI severed ties with CAIR? If so, how is the FBI 
     planning to formally notify Members of Congress and other 
     government officials of this decision?
       If FBI policy has changed with regard to CAIR, is there any 
     indication that this decision is being revisited by the new 
     administration? If so, what new evidence would justify a 
     change in course?
       Is CAIR's national office still in contact with the FBI?
       The report quotes Assistant Director John Miller from the 
     FBI Office of Public Affairs as saying: ``The FBI has had to 
     limit its formal contact with CAIR field offices until 
     certain issues are addressed by CAIR's national 
     headquarters.'' What specifically are the ``certain issues'' 
     which you have raised with CAIR? Is there still informal 
     contact with any field offices? If so, what is the 
     distinction between formal and informal and why is there a 
     distinction between field offices?
       To your knowledge, does CAIR receive financial 
     contributions from foreign sources? If so, which ones and how 
     much?
       I look forward to your timely response, and to working with 
     you in the days ahead in my new role as ranking member of the 
     House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee.
       Best wishes.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Frank R. Wolf,
                                               Member of Congress.

  The Fox News piece, which prompted my initial interest, quoted the 
assistant director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Bureau as 
saying, ``The FBI has had to limit its formal contact with CAIR field 
offices until certain issues are addressed by CAIR's national 
headquarters.''
  I found this statement to be vague. While perhaps sufficient from a 
public affairs vantage, I believed it to be an insufficient explanation 
for Members of Congress, none of whom, to my knowledge, had been 
informed of this policy shift, and it was just that--a policy shift.
  The FOX piece noted later that the FBI has ``long been close to CAIR. 
The agency has previously invited CAIR to give training sessions for 
agents and used it as a liaison with the American Muslim community.''
  I was one of several Members of Congress, both Democrat and 
Republican, who wrote the Bureau in the days following this report. 
Some, such as Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Democratic 
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, voiced their support for the 
Bureau's decision, which was a step further than my initial letter; but 
they, too, desired to ``understand the situation more fully'' as 
Senators Kyl and Schumer wrote.
  When I received a response from the FBI on March 9, only 1 of the 10 
questions I posed was answered, which prompted me to send a second 
letter restating the original questions and pressing the FBI for a 
timely and detailed response.
  I submit a copy of that letter for the Record.
                                    Congress of the United States,


                                     House of Representatives,

                                    Washington, DC, March 9, 2009.
     Mr. Michael J. Heimbach,
     Assistant Director, Counter Terrorism Division, Federal 
         Bureau of Investigation, Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 
         Washington DC.
       Dear Mr. Heimbach: I was deeply disappointed with the FBI's 
     response--hand-delivered to my office last Friday--to my 
     letter of February 2 inquiring about the Bureau's position on 
     meeting with the Council on American Islamic Relations 
     (CAIR). It took the Bureau more than a month to respond, and 
     the letter I received provides only a partial answer to one 
     of the 10 questions I posed.
       In 1998 I authored the legislation that created the 
     National Commission on Terrorism. Regrettably its 
     recommendations were not implemented until after the attacks 
     on 9/11. I take seriously the responsibility of congressional 
     oversight, especially in matters with potential national 
     security implications. For six years I served as chairman of 
     the appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the 
     FBI and count myself among the Bureau's strongest supporters. 
     Having resumed a leadership role this year as ranking member 
     on the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, 
     it is important to me that the FBI provide timely and 
     detailed responses. And so again, I request answers to the 
     following straight-forward questions:
       Has the FBI severed ties with CAIR? If so, how is the FBI 
     planning to formally notify Members of Congress and other 
     government officials of this decision?
       If FBI policy has changed with regard to CAIR, is there any 
     indication that this decision is being revisited by the new 
     administration? If so, what new evidence would justify a 
     change in course?
       Is CAIR's national office still in contact with the FBI?
       The FOX News report I referenced in my original letter 
     quotes Assistant Director John Miller from the FBI Office of 
     Public Affairs as saying: ``The FBI has had to limit its 
     formal contact with CAIR field offices until certain issues 
     are addressed by CAIR's national headquarters.'' What 
     specifically are the ``certain issues'' which you have raised 
     with CAIR? Is there still informal contact with any field 
     offices? If so, what is the distinction between formal and 
     informal and why is there a distinction between field 
     offices?
       To your knowledge, does CAIR receive financial 
     contributions from foreign sources? If so, which ones and how 
     much?
       I would like these questions fully answered by this Friday, 
     March 13, and by someone who works on counter-terrorism, 
     rather than a public affairs officer. Other members of 
     Congress, both House and Senate, have expressed interest in 
     and additional information about the Bureau's position as it 
     relates to CAIR. I would think the Bureau would be 
     embarrassed to send the insufficient response I received.
       Best wishes.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Frank R. Wolf,
                                               Member of Congress.
  Days after my second letter, CAIR launched a public attack against 
me, claiming in a March 12 press release that I ``abused'' my 
``office'' by ``seeking to pressure the FBI to produce negative 
information'' about the organization.
  Those assertions are patently untrue and would not even warrant a 
response were they not symptomatic of what I believe to be a larger 
pattern of intimidation undertaken by CAIR--intimidation which is of 
great consequence given the national security matters at stake.
  As my letters to the FBI indicate, I was seeking to better understand 
the Bureau's position and access information about what led to this 
decision. It is a conclusion which--and I agree with my Senate 
colleagues--is absolutely appropriate based on reports I have read for 
years but which, again, marks a change in course for the Bureau and, as 
such, deserved further explanation.
  It is noteworthy that, on April 28, following my initial 
unsatisfactory reply from the Bureau, Senator Kyl received a more 
substantive response from the FBI to his letter. In the letter to 
Senator Kyl, the Bureau was more detailed in explaining and in 
validating the original news report regarding its relationship with 
CAIR.
  The letter reads, ``As you know, CAIR was named as an unindicted 
coconspirator of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in 
the United States v. Holy Land Foundation, et al.
  ``During that trial, evidence was introduced that demonstrated a 
relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders, including its 
current president emeritus and its executive director, and the 
Palestinian committee. Evidence was also introduced that demonstrated a 
relationship between the Palestinian committee and Hamas, which was 
designated a terrorist organization in 1995. In light of that evidence, 
the FBI suspended all formal contacts between CAIR and the FBI.
  ``The FBI's decision to suspend formal contacts was not intended to 
reflect a wholesale judgment of the organization and its entire 
membership. Nevertheless, until we can resolve

[[Page H6671]]

whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its 
executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate 
liaison partner.''
  I submit a copy of the Bureau's response to Senator Kyl for the 
Record.
                                       U.S. Department of Justice,


                              Federal Bureau of Investigation,

                                   Washington, DC, April 28, 2009.
     Hon. Jon Kyl,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Kyl: This responds to your letter to Director 
     Mueller dated February 24, 2009, regarding your interest in 
     reports that the FBI has severed its liaison relationship 
     with the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR). I apologize for 
     the delay in responding to your inquiry. For your information 
     an identical letter has been sent to Senator Schumer and to 
     Senator Coburn, M.D.
       As you know, CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator 
     of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in 
     United States v. Holy Land Foundation et al. (Cr. No. 3:04-
     240-P (N.D.TX.). During that trial, evidence was introduced 
     that demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR 
     founders (including its current President Emeritus and its 
     Executive Director) and the Palestine Committee. Evidence was 
     also introduced that demonstrated a relationship between the 
     Palestine Committee and HAMAS, which was designated as a 
     terrorist organization in 1995. In light of that evidence, 
     the FBI suspended all formal contacts between CAIR and the 
     FBI.
       The FBI's decision to suspend formal contacts was not 
     intended to reflect a wholesale judgment of the organization 
     and its entire membership. Nevertheless, until we can resolve 
     whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or 
     its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an 
     appropriate liaison partner. It is important to note, 
     however, that although the FBI has suspended all formal 
     outreach activities with CAIR at this time, CAIR, its 
     officers, and members have been encouraged to report any hate 
     crime, violation of federal civil rights or suspicious 
     activity to the FBI.
       The FBI made its own decision vis-a-vis outreach activities 
     with this particular group. Any questions regarding broader 
     executive branch outreach activities would be better answered 
     by the Administration.
       Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we may be of 
     additional assistance.
           Sincerely yours,

                                            Richard C. Powers,

                                     Assistant Director, Office of
     Congressional Affairs.
                                  ____

     R 221435Z MAY 06
     FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
     TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5272
     INFO AMCONSUL DUBAI

     UNCLAS ABU DHABI 002127
     SENSITIVE
     FOR NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD; INFO NEA/FO, R

     E.O. 12958: N/A
     TAGS: KISL, SOCI, PHUM, PGOV, KDEM, AE
     SUBJECT: VISIT BY COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS 
         (CAIR) TO UAE
       1.(U) On May 21, the Council on American Islamic Relations 
     (CAIR) paid a courtesy call on the Ambassador to discuss the 
     organization's issues, outreach strategies, and its visit to 
     the CAE. The UAE press has reported that Sheikh Hamdan bin 
     Rashid al-Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of 
     Finance and Industry, ``has endorsed a proposal to build a 
     property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR.'' 
     DCM, PAO and MEPI Regional Director also participated in the 
     meeting.
       2.(U) The group expressed ideas about countering negative 
     stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S. (``Islamophobia'') and 
     addressing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. They 
     mentioned previous meetings with State Department officials, 
     U/S Karen Hughes and A/S David Welch, their attendance at the 
     Secretary's Iftar, and spoke of a possible meeting with 
     President Bush in the future.
       3.(U) Mr. Don Myers, representing Washington, D.C. public 
     relations firm Hill & Knowlton, provided a short 
     demonstration of a PR campaign designed to support CAIR's 
     overall organizational objectives defined as: 1) political 
     empowerment of Muslims, 2) grassroots effort by CAIR to 
     improve community relations with non-Muslims, 3) launching of 
     an effective, long-term (5 year) advertising/outreach 
     campaign to counter negative stereotypes about Muslims.
       4.(U) Members of the CAIR delegation included: Hon. Larry 
     Shaw, Senator (North Carolina General Assembly); Hon. Paul 
     Findley, Former U.S. Representative; Don Myers, Washington, 
     D.C. public relations firm Hill & Knowlton; Nihad Awad, CAIR 
     Executive Director and Co-Founder; Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper, 
     CAIR Communication Director and Co-Founder; Dr. Parvez Ahmed, 
     CAIR Board Chairman; and Dr. Nabil Sadoun, CAIR Board Member.
       5.(U) CAIR delegation also paid a call earlier in the day 
     on Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah, 
     which was covered in the press.
       6.(U) Sheikh Ali al-Hashemi, UAE Presidential Adviser on 
     Islamic affairs, is hosting a reception at his house this 
     evening, May 22, in honor of the CAIR group; Ambassador and 
     PolOff to attend. Al-Hashemi also thanked the Ambassador for 
     receiving the CAIR delegation.
       7.(SBU) Comment: CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad told us 
     that while they were pleased with the results of the meeting 
     with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, they had no concrete 
     information on the size of the endowment or when it might be 
     forthcoming. Awad also mentioned that the Bin Hamoodah Group, 
     a $500 million/year trading company, founded by three Emirati 
     brothers and representing Halliburton, IBM, FMC Corporation 
     and General Motors, is CAIR's main benefactor in the UAE. One 
     newly-rich stock trader, Talal Khoori (UAE national of 
     Iranian origin), is believed to have donated one million 
     dollars to CAIR.
       Sison.
     P 281502Z JUN 06
     FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
     TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9065
     INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
     AMCONSUL JEDDAH

     UNCLAS RIYADH 005172
     SENSITIVE

     E.O. 12958: N/A
     TAGS: SCUL, KDEM, KISL, PGOV, PHUM, SOCI, SA
     SUBJECT: VISIT BY COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS
     (CAIR) TO SAUDI ARABIA
     REF: ABU DHABI 2127

       1.(U) Following up on a similar visit to the UAE in May 
     (reftel), a delegation from the U.S.-based Council on 
     American Islamic Relations (CAIR) visited the Kingdom of 
     Saudi Arabia (KSA) in June. On June 22 the group paid a 
     courtesy call on the Embassy to discuss the organization's 
     issues and outreach strategies. In the Ambassador's absence, 
     DCM received the group, along with the PA Counselor and 
     Poloff (notetaker).
       2.(SBU) Prior to coming to Riyadh, the CAIR group visited 
     Mecca and Jeddah. Although they apparently were not received 
     at the highest levels of the SAG, the group assured the 
     Embassy that ``King Abdullah knows CAIR very well'' and 
     receives regular updates on the group's projects. After 
     recalling the success of their visit to the UAE in May, the 
     group predicted that they would be back in the region by fall 
     to visit Kuwait and Qatar. The group also mentioned that they 
     had been well-received in Washington by senior State 
     Department officials, including Secretary Rice and 
     Undersecretary Hughes.
       3.(U) The core delegation consisted of CAIR Board Chairman 
     Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Executive Director Nihad Awad, and 
     Communications Director Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper. Accompanying 
     them were former U.S. Representative Paul Findley and Don 
     Myers, a former DoD official now with Hill and Knowlton 
     public relations.
       4.(U) During their hour-long meeting in the Embassy, the 
     group presented various projects that CAIR is working on to 
     counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S. 
     (``Islamophobia''), linking their work to concern over 
     growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. One of the 
     current CAIR projects they discussed was the presentation of 
     ``accurate books about Islam'' to schools and libraries in 
     the U.S.
       5.(SBU) Mr. Don Myers, representing Hill and Knowlton, gave 
     a short demonstration of a CAIR-funded media campaign to 
     support CAIR's overall information outreach effort. According 
     to Myers, this private campaign will emphasize both 
     grassroots outreach to improve American non-Muslim 
     understanding of Muslims and the encouragement of political 
     engagement by American Muslims. The multi-year broadcast and 
     print campaign is to be entitled ``Let the Conversation 
     Begin'' and is aimed at countering negative stereotypes about 
     Muslims within the broad American public.
       6.(SBU) One admitted reason for the group's current visit 
     to the KSA was to solicit $50 million in governmental and 
     non-governmental contributions. PA Counselor noted that 
     private outreach activities can provide valuable support to 
     USG efforts to build mutual understanding overseas but 
     cautioned that USG Public Diplomacy (PD) funds cannot be used 
     or associated with efforts to target American audiences. The 
     delegation was interested to hear of the Embassy's PD 
     exchange and activities within the KSA and offered to help 
     support them in any appropriate way. The group did not share, 
     however, any details of their success or lack thereof in 
     fundraising within the KSA.
       Oberwetter.
                                  ____


           American Muslims Commend FBI for Rejection of CAIR

       Thirty years have passed since the Iranian revolution and 
     29 years since the first Islamist murder in the U.S.--that of 
     `Ali Akbar Tabataba'i in a Washington, D.C., suburb. More 
     than seven years ago, America received a wake-up call, on 
     September 11, 2001, about radical Islam. However 
     straightforwardly evil these events, they left U.S. 
     authorities mostly baffled by extremism among American 
     Muslims.
       One disturbing example of this confusion has involved the 
     Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Council on American-
     Islamic Relations (CAIR).
       Almost from CAIR'S founding in 1994, the FBI has worked 
     with the organization, which successfully presented itself as 
     the ``Muslim NAACP,'' letting CAIR train bureau personnel and 
     serve as a liaison to the American Muslim community. CAIR 
     concentrated on terror-related law enforcement such as 
     sensitivity in investigating extremist suspects and 
     allegations of profiling.

[[Page H6672]]

       Now, at last, the FBI-CAIR relationship has changed.
       In a letter dated March 9, 2009, FBI Assistant Director 
     John Miller wrote to U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va) 
     confirming that the bureau has ``suspended any formal 
     engagement with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 
     field offices around the country.'' He explained that this 
     adjustment ``comes in part as a result of evidence gathered 
     through FBI investigation and presented in connection with 
     the Holy Land Foundation trial. CAIR was listed as an 
     unindicted co-conspirator in that case.''
       Miller referred to the Holy Land Foundation, or HLF, having 
     been convicted of terror financing in November 2008.
       CAIR and its allies in the ``Wahhabi lobby'' reacted 
     aggressively to the FBI's decision to distance itself from 
     CAIR. Ten extremist Muslim groups announced on March 17, 
     2009, that they are ``considering suspending outreach 
     relations with the FBI'' based on vague claims that 
     ``American mosques and Muslim groups have been targeted.'' 
     CAIR's supporters included American Muslims for Palestine, 
     the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Muslim Students 
     Association, as well as the leading pro-Iranian Muslim 
     element in America, the Islamic Educational Center of Orange 
     County, Ca.
       We, the undersigned American Muslims, have long known the 
     true character of CAIR and its allies. Therefore:
       We observe that they denounce ``terrorism'' in general 
     terms but not the specific actions of Islamist groups like 
     Hamas or Hezbollah. They denounce violence but not the 
     ideologies behind it.
       We observe their commitment to radical aims, their attempts 
     to chill free speech by calling critics of radical Islam 
     ``Islamophobes,'' and their false, ugly accusations against 
     moderate American Muslims who disagree with their agenda.
       We reject any claim that CAIR and its supporters are 
     legitimate civil liberties advocates or appropriate partners 
     between the U.S. government and American Muslims.
       We congratulate the FBI for adopting a firmer attitude 
     toward CAIR, as a defense of Americans of all faiths from the 
     menace of radical Islam, including Muslims of all 
     backgrounds--Sunni, Shia, Sufi, secular, etc.
       We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to affirm and 
     continue this decision.
       We call on the entire United States government to follow 
     suit in rejecting relations with the Council on American-
     Islamic Relations.
       Dr. Kemal Silay, President, Center for Islamic Pluralism, 
     www.islamicpluralism.org;
       Supna Zaidi, Assistant Director, Islamist Watch, 
     www.islamist-watch.org;
       M. Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, 
     www.aifdemocracy.org;
       Imaad Malik, Fellow, Center for Islamic Pluralism;
       Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, International Quranic Center, 
     www.ahl-alquran.com;
       Khalim Massoud, reformislam@gmail.com;
       Nawab Agha Mousvi, American Muslim Congress and Center for 
     Islamic Pluralism;
       Kiran Sayyed, Council for Democracy and Tolerance, http://
     cfdnt.com/;
       Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Executive Director, Center for 
     Islamic Pluralism;
       Shia.Protest@yahoo.com;
       Dr. Jalal Zuberi, Southern U.S. Director, Center for 
     Islamic Pluralism.

  I plan to take the remainder of my time to explore many of these same 
concerns and talk about why everything I've read, studied and observed 
has led me to believe that the Bureau's decision is not only defensible 
but advisable and that it ought to, in fact, inform the actions of 
other public officials, policymakers and the press, many of whom 
consistently--and I would argue mistakenly--look to CAIR to speak for 
mainstream Muslim Americans.
  Zhudi Jasser, himself a Muslim and president of the Islamic Forum for 
Democracy, makes a critical distinction between ``Islam'' and 
``Islamism.'' ``Islam'' is, of course, a faith which has an estimated 
worldwide following of over 1 billion people. ``Islamism,'' however, 
according to Mr. Jasser, is ``a coercive governmental and political 
construct that seeks to impose shar'ia--Islam jurisprudence--upon 
society.''
  In 2007, in the publication Family Security Matters, Jasser wrote 
that CAIR uses ``the protection of religion when the facts are not on 
their side. They use the discourse of politics when they want to push 
forth their Islamist agenda with the presumption of speaking for all 
Muslims. They will delve into the political only on their own terms in 
both foreign and domestic policy, but when they are on the receiving 
end of political criticism, they run for cover under the guise of 
victimization.'' A dispassionate look at CAIR's public posture shows 
that Mr. Jasser's observations ring true.
  In 1998, I authored the legislation that created the National 
Commission on Terrorism. That same year, in CAIR's own words from a 
press release, it ``asked Muslims to contact leaders of a House-Senate 
conference committee and urge them to amend or eliminate new 
legislation that would create a National Commission on Terrorism.'' 
This was a misguided lobbying effort at best. Fortunately, it was 
unsuccessful, and the bipartisan commission was authorized to conduct 
its work.
  A Congressional Research Service report described the main finding of 
the commission this way: ``It calls on the U.S. Government to prepare 
more actively to prevent and deal with a future mass casualty, 
catastrophic terrorist attack.'' Regrettably, the commission's 
recommendations, sent to Congress in June 2000, were generally ignored 
until after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when 3,000 people were 
killed, including 30 from my congressional district.
  Following the commission's public report, CAIR's executive director, 
Nihad Awad, said in a June 4 press release, ``The fight against 
terrorism is one that should be undertaken, but that struggle should 
not be based on stereotypes, false assumptions or the political agendas 
of foreign governments. If the past is any indication, all or most of 
these new provisions will be used to target Muslims in this country and 
worldwide. It is American Muslim groups whose fund-raising will be 
restricted. It is Muslim students who will be monitored.''
  Indeed, the FBI has restricted the fund-raising of some Muslim 
groups, but only when those organizations have been found to be a cover 
for terrorist financing, as was true most notably with the Holy Land 
Foundation.
  When the Holy Land Foundation was shuttered 3 months after 9/11, CAIR 
warned in a December 4, 2001, press release that this was an ``unjust 
and counterproductive move that can only damage America's credibility 
with Muslims in this country and around the world and could create the 
impression that there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an 
attack on Islam.'' This purported ``attack on Islam'' proved to be 
baseless in the face of the Holy Land Foundation verdicts.
  A November 25, 2008, Department of Justice press release following 
the initial verdicts in the foundation case quotes Patrick Rowan, 
Assistant Attorney General for National Security. He says, ``For many 
years, the Holy Land Foundation used the guise of charity to raise and 
funnel millions of dollars to the infrastructure of the Hamas terrorist 
organization. This prosecution demonstrates our resolve to ensure that 
humanitarian relief efforts are not used as a mechanism to disguise and 
enable support for terrorist groups.''
  As I noted earlier, CAIR was named as an unindicted coconspirator in 
the Holy Land Foundation case, which makes its cautionary word about 
the ``injustice'' of closing the ``charity'' suspect.
  In a Federal court filing from December 2007, Federal prosecutors 
described CAIR as ``having conspired with other affiliates of the 
Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.'' The government also stated 
``proof that the conspirators used deception to conceal from the 
American public their connections to terrorists was introduced'' in the 
Holy Land Foundation trial.

                              {time}  1330

  In a footnote, government prosecutors pointed out: ``From its 
founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other 
affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.''
  Further, according to Senate testimony, CAIR received a $5,000 
donation for the Holy Land Foundation. Initially, in written testimony 
submitted September 10, 2003, to the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, 
Technology and Homeland Security, CAIR denied that this was the case. 
Specifically, Mr. Awad said claims to the contrary were ``an outright 
lie. Our organization did not receive any seed money from the'' Holy 
Land Foundation. But when confronted with the IRS form on which the 
Holy Land Foundation disclosed the contribution, Mr. Awad changed his 
position in supplemental testimony submitted to the subcommittee saying 
that the amount in question was a donation like any other.
  CAIR ultimately filed an amicus brief seeking removal from the list 
of unindicted coconspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case. In 
September of 2007, prosecutors made several arguments in favor of 
maintaining CAIR

[[Page H6673]]

status, saying: ``CAIR has been identified by the government at trial 
as a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to 
support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which 
CAIR never withdrew.''
  The Holy Land Foundation trial revealed more about CAIR than simply 
its ties to that particular entity. Rather, the trial brought to light, 
in the public square, the genesis of the organization. According to an 
October 14, 2008, Dallas Morning News story: ``Testimony has suggested 
that CAIR's founder Omar Ahmad and it's current executive director, 
Nihad Awad, participated in a 1993 meeting of purported Hamas 
sympathizers. Some Holy Land defendants attended the Philadelphia 
meeting, bugged by the FBI.''
  A day later, the Dallas Morning News reported that FBI special agent 
Lara Burns testified during the Holy Land Foundation case that CAIR 
``was formed in the aftermath of a 1993 meeting by Palestinian 
activists in America who brainstormed ways to spread pro-Hamas messages 
here without attracting too much attention.''
  A Department of Justice press release issued on November 24, 2008, 
when the Holy Land Foundation verdicts came down: ``The government case 
included testimony that in the early 1990s, Hamas' parent organization, 
the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations 
in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and to raise money 
for Hamas. . . . HLF became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine 
Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support 
Hamas. According to a wiretap of a 1993 Palestine Committee meeting in 
Philadelphia, former Holy Land Foundation President and CEO Shukri Abu 
Baker spoke about playing down Hamas' ties in order to keep raising 
money in the U.S. Another wiretapped phone call included Abdulrahman 
Odeh, Holy Land Foundation's New Jersey representative, referring to a 
suicide bombing as `a beautiful operation.' ''
  According to a National Review article in the pre-CAIR days, both 
Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad were top officers in the Islamic Association 
for Palestine. Former FBI counterterrorism chief Oliver ``Buck'' Revell 
called Awad's former employer, the Islamic Association for Palestine, 
``a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic 
militants.''
  A September 24, 2001, L.A. Times story described the connection 
between the Islamic Association of Palestine and the Holy Land 
Foundation this way: ``The IAP and the Holy Land were founded and 
funded by Mousa abu Marzook. . . . He's also the political leader of 
the terrorist group Hamas.''
  Andrew McCarthy, a formal Federal prosecutor who led the 1995 
prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the ``blind sheik'' who 
was found guilty of planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in a 
National Review article notes that there are ``several persons 
connected to CAIR who have been convicted of Federal felonies including 
terrorism.''
  McCarthy includes in the group Ghassan Elashi, one of the founding 
members of CAIR's Dallas-area chapter, and also co-founder and former 
chairman of the Holy Land Foundation. According to July 9, 2007, Dallas 
Morning News report, Elashi was sentenced to ``nearly 7 years in prison 
for doing business with a terrorist and violating export laws.'' In a 
1994 forum discussion videotaped at Barry University, CAIR's Mr. Awad 
said, ``I'm in support of the Hamas movement.'' CAIR has subsequently 
sought to discredit his video on his Web site by saying this quote was 
in response to a specific question and that Hamas was only designated a 
``foreign terrorist organization,'' in January 1995 and did not commit 
its first wave of suicide bombings until late 1994 after Mr. Awad made 
the comment. It is noteworthy that Hamas' 1988 covenant describes 
itself as ``one of the wings in the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine'' 
and says that ``the day of judgment will not come about until Muslims 
fight Jews and kill them.''
  CAIR's defense and Mr. Awad's quote based simply on chronology is 
wanting in light of Hamas' founding principles which clearly embrace 
violence. As the Washington Post's Richard Cohen wrote in April of 
2009: ``Read the Hamas charter. It is not some uplifting cry of a 
downtrodden people seeking its freedom but a repellant anti-Semitic 
screed.''
  CAIR's mission statement focuses on protecting the civil rights of 
Muslims in America and on improving Islam's image. But CAIR's action 
under the umbrella of civil rights raises troubling questions.
  In November 2006, US Airways removed six imams from a flight 
following passenger reports of unusual behavior. An Investor's Business 
Daily piece described the imams' action this way: ``At the gate before 
boarding, they angrily cursed the U.S. Then they bowed to Mecca and 
prayed `very loud' shouting `Allah Allah, Allah' according to the gate 
agent and another witness. On the plane, they didn't take their 
assigned seats and instead fanned out to the front, the middle, and the 
rear of the plane. . . . Some ran back and forth speaking to each other 
in Arabic. Adding to suspicions, most of them asked for seatbelt 
extensions even though they didn't need them--or even use them.
  ``Following the incident, the imams and CAIR filed a lawsuit against 
US Airways, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission 
and `John Doe' passengers,'' meaning the passengers on the plane.
  Omar Mohammedi, the New York attorney who represented the imams, was 
a former president for the board of directors for CAIR, New York. The 
suit charged that the John Doe passengers ``may have made false reports 
against plaintiffs solely with the intent to discriminate against them 
on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity and national origin.''
  CAIR subsequently called on the Department of Justice to investigate 
violations of civil liberties for the six religious leaders taken off 
the plane.
  The then-president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a 
Washington, DC public interest-based law firm protecting the free 
expression of all religious traditions, wrote the following letter to 
CAIR regarding suit against the John Doe passengers:
  ``This is a first for us. We have never opposed someone else's claim 
for religious discrimination but this tactic of threatening suit 
against ordinary citizens is so far beyond the traditions of civil 
rights litigation in the United States that we must oppose it to defend 
the good name of religious liberty itself.''

  It is noteworthy that the Becket Fund has successfully argued cases 
for Muslims including securing a place for Muslim public school 
students in Texas to pray. In March of 2007, the Arizona Republic 
called the suit against ordinary citizens ``intimidation by lawsuit.'' 
On April 9, 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that CAIR's 
Ibrahim Hooper had a notably different take: ``It is wrongheaded for 
observers to be suspicious of innocent behavior. Praying or asking for 
a seatbelt extension--simply because a Muslim `That Muslim is wearing a 
tie,' Hooper scoffed. `He can take it off and strangle someone.' ''
  The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted an investigation 
following the passenger complaints and found that US Airways did not 
discriminate against the six imams when it removed them. In a letter to 
CAIR's acting legal director, the assistant general counsel for 
Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings wrote the following: ``We find the 
decision to remove the imams from the aircraft was based on information 
available to the captain at the time and was reasonable . . . it 
appears that the captain decided to remove the imams because of 
security concerns as a result of the sum of the imams' actual and 
perceived behavior, not their race or ethnicity. The fact that the 
captain's concerns were not borne out in hindsight does not make the 
action that he took discriminatory.''
  CAIR's approach in this case was not simply an inconvenience. Rather, 
it had potential security implications as well. Airports nationwide 
implore travelers to report suspicious activities. Signs on major 
highways, bridges and tunnels throughout America do the same. New York 
Metropolitan Transit Authority introduced an ad campaign which has been 
adopted by municipalities around the country as part of their own anti-
terrorism campaign. The ad features the following admonition: if you 
see something, say something.

[[Page H6674]]

  But CAIR would have had Americans thinking, If you see something, 
think twice before you say something, lest you get mired in a lawsuit. 
USA Today editorialized in the days following the imams' suit and said: 
``This legal tactic seems designed to intimidate passengers willing to 
do exactly what authorities have requested--say something about 
suspicious activity.'' The paper went on to report that ``the imams 
want to know the names of an elderly couple who turned around to watch 
and then made cell phone calls presumably to authorities.''
  In a response to the incident at the Minneapolis Airport, Congressman 
Peter King, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security 
Committee, and Congressman Steve Pearce first moved to provide immunity 
to those on public transportation who report suspicious activity 
through a recommittal motion to the Rail and Public Transportation 
Security Act of 2007, which the House overwhelmingly passed in March 
2007 by a vote of 304-121.
  Later in the 110th Congress, despite CAIR's public lobbying effort, 
Mr. King and Senator Joe Lieberman were successful in adding a section 
to the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act, Public Law 11053, which 
provides legal immunity to individuals who report terrorists or 
suspicious activity which they see on trains or planes to law 
enforcement.
  In what has become a familiar refrain, Nihad Awad, on FOX News, March 
31, 2007, said that Peter King's legislative efforts were encouraging 
Islamophobia. In fact, the bill language had the potential to encourage 
other John Does who encounter suspicious activity to report it to 
authorities.
  CAIR's funding is also a source of interest. Apart from the financial 
link with Holy Land Foundation, there is much that is unclear as to 
whether and to what degree CAIR is receiving contributions from foreign 
governments. In a March 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ahmed 
Rehab, CAIR-Chicago's executive director, said, ``Neither CAIR chapters 
nor the national office solicits or accepts money from any foreign 
government.''
  A January 2007 open letter on CAIR's Web site says they are ``proud 
to receive support of every individual, whether Muslim, Christian, 
Jewish, or of another faith background, who supports the mission of 
promoting justice and mutual understanding as long as they are not an 
official of any foreign government and there are no strings attached to 
the request.''
  Yet in a sensitive, but unclassified, May 2006 State Department cable 
which was brought to my attention, U.S. embassy staff in Abu Dhabi 
cabled that the UAE press was reporting that ``Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid 
al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and 
Industry has `endorsed a proposal to build a property in the U.S. to 
serve as an endowment for CAIR.'''

                              {time}  1345

  In another sensitive, but unclassified, June 2006 State Department 
cable, U.S. Embassy staff in Saudi Arabia reported the following after 
meeting with a CAIR delegation. The cable said, ``One admitted reason 
for the group's current visit to the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was 
to solicit $50 million in governmental and nongovernmental 
contributions.'' I submit both cables for the Record.
  According to the June 2006 cable, ``The core delegation consisted of 
CAIR Board Chairman Dr. Parez Ahmed, Executive Director Nihad Awad, and 
Communications Director Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper.'' On an MSNBC talk show 
with Tucker Carlson in September 2006, just 3 months after the trip, 
Ibrahim Hooper claimed, ``To my knowledge, we don't take money from the 
Government of Saudi Arabia.''
  I want to make it clear that it is important to understand that 
American Muslims, like all Americans, are entitled to organize, 
advocate, and engage in the political process; such are the makings of 
a vibrant democracy. They have taken advantage of the opportunity 
America provides for every background. They are teachers, doctors, 
policemen, they are mothers and fathers and neighbors.
  I am reminded of a young Pakistani American who is Muslim that I had 
the privilege of meeting during one of my visits to Walter Reed 
Hospital. I met him when he was in the midst of his physical therapy, 
therapy that was necessary because he had lost both legs while in 
combat in Iraq. Despite his tremendous sacrifice, he was committed to 
the hard work of rehabilitation, in part because he hoped to go back to 
Iraq. He was a patriot of the sort that ought to give us pause and 
ought to make us proud.
  I want to be absolutely clear that concerns I have with CAIR are 
specific to the organization and not to the Muslim faith. Even a 
passing glance at my record in Congress should put any thought to the 
contrary to rest.
  In Sudan, Chechnya, China, Bosnia, and Kosovo, I have spoken out in 
defense of people of the Muslim faith. I have been to Sudan five times, 
including leading the first congressional delegation to Darfur, where 
nearly all the victims of the genocide are Muslim.
  I was the only Member of Congress to visit Chechnya during the 
fighting in 1995. When I returned, I condemned the violence against the 
Chechen people, most of whom were Muslim, and called for a cease-fire.
  I was one of the only Members to visit Muslim men in a Serb-run 
prisoner of war camp in Bosnia, where I saw evidence of a modern-day 
Holocaust taking place. And very early on, I began speaking out against 
the ethnic cleansing and the culture of genocide against the Bosnian 
people. I spoke out in favor of lifting the arms embargo against Bosnia 
so that the Muslim Bosnian Government could defend itself. I have 
visited Kosovo five times, and I voted and spoke out on the floor to 
approve the bombing campaign to stop the Serbian atrocities against 
Muslims in Kosovo.
  I was one of the first Members to raise concerns about the 
persecution of Muslims in China, and continue to speak out when few 
others do.
  Further, I was the author of the International Religious Freedom Act 
which created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom as 
well as the International Religious Freedom Office at the State 
Department. Central to the act was the assertion that ``freedom of 
religious beliefs and practices is a universal human right and 
fundamental freedom.'' The legislation, and ultimately the offices it 
created, strengthens the United States' advocacy on behalf of 
individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion, 
which, of course, includes persecuted Muslims.
  America is an imperfect Nation, but a great Nation, a ``shining city 
on a hill'' as described by our Founders, a beacon of hope for 
persecuted and oppressed people. For centuries, the ``huddled masses'' 
depicted in the iconic poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty have 
arrived on these shores seeking a better life for themselves and their 
families.
  My grandparents immigrated to America from Germany. My father served 
in World War II. Part of the reason he did so was that he felt a need 
to show that his loyalty was to America. Even though my grandparents 
were both native German speakers, when World War I broke out, my 
grandmother decided from that day forward only English would be spoken 
in their home.
  I share this bit of personal history to illustrate that I am 
sensitive to the challenges facing new immigrants, especially during 
times of war. There have been instances in our Nation's history, 
especially when our country has been under attack, where the civil 
liberties of certain groups of people have been violated because other 
people were afraid. This is inexcusable. But this is the exception, not 
the rule.
  Our experiment in self-governance has been marked by an unwavering 
commitment to basic freedoms for all people, among them the right to 
worship according to the dictates of your conscience. Many American 
Muslims left countries where such freedom is unimaginable; however, in 
a pluralistic society like ours, these principles are paramount. To 
silence or otherwise repress people of faith is inimical to the 
American way. In a public discourse, to accuse someone of religious 
bigotry or intolerance is a sure way to stifle debate.
  On October 4, 2008, the editorial page editor of The Columbus 
Dispatch spoke to CAIR's bent toward accusation as a means of muzzling 
debate. They said, ``For many years, CAIR has waged a campaign to 
intimidate and silence

[[Page H6675]]

anyone who raises alarms about the dangers of Islamic extremism. CAIR's 
rationale is that discussions of Islamic extremism lead to animosity 
not just toward those who twist Islam into a justification for 
terrorism, but toward all who practice Islam.
  ``CAIR's concern is understandable, but its response is 
unreasonable.'' They went on to say, ``The group acts properly when it 
hammers home the point that only a small number of Muslims support 
religiously motivated violence, and that targeting law-abiding Muslims 
is wrong. Where CAIR errs is in labeling anyone who discusses Islamic 
terrorism a bigot and hatemonger, an Islamophobe, to use CAIR's 
favorite slur.'' Ironically, some of CAIR's most pointed attacks have 
in fact been aimed at other Muslims who dare to have differing views.
  In a 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer piece, CAIR's Hooper is quoted as 
saying Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for 
Democracy, who has been critical of CAIR, was ``providing others with 
an opportunity to advance an agenda that is hostile to the American 
Muslim community.''
  Given CAIR's genesis, its associations with known terrorist entities 
and individuals, and its tactics--namely, attempting to discredit 
anyone who dares to speak out against its organization--their cries of 
victimization and accusations of religious bigotry appear disingenuous.
  And given the dangerous world in which we live today, any attempt to 
literally silence honest discourse about the nature of the threats 
facing our country is intolerable and must be addressed.
  I stand today with other elected officials who have raised questions 
about CAIR. Senator Schumer describes CAIR as an organization ``which 
we know has ties to terrorism.'' Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has 
said that CAIR is ``unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its association 
with groups that are suspect.''
  Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer withdrew an award she gave to an 
official at a local CAIR chapter because she ``had concerns about 
statements by some CAIR officials and about claims of financial links 
to terrorism.'' And other Senators, including Republicans Jon Kyl and 
Tom Coburn, have voiced support for the FBI's actions in severing ties 
with CAIR.
  I stand today with counterterrorism experts, including Steven 
Pomerantz, the FBI's former chief of counterterrorism, who has stated, 
``CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to 
international terrorist groups.''
  And perhaps most importantly, I stand with thousands of American 
Muslims for whom CAIR does not speak. In June, 2007, the Washington 
Times published a report which analyzed CAIR's tax documents and found 
that CAIR's membership has declined by 90 percent since 9/11. Zuhdi 
Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy was quoted in the 
article as saying, ``This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR 
represents the American Muslim population. They only represent their 
membership and donors.''
  In 1999, the Islamic Supreme Council of America, ISCA, issued an open 
letter to all Muslims after Shaykh Kabbani, Chairman of the ISCA, spoke 
at a State Department open forum on Islamic extremism and subsequently 
came under public attack by several organizations, including CAIR. In 
the open letter, ISCA says the organizations attacking Kabbani, among 
them CAIR, ``have not quoted a single statement of Shaykh Kabbani in 
full or in context. Moreover, the statements were augmented with 
emotionally charged words like `promoted and generalized an 
allegation,' `outrageous statements,' and `Islamophobic,' thereby 
thwarting his original intention and message.'' The letter goes on to 
say, ``In their action alerts, CAIR has a chronic tendency to 
negatively juxtapose Islam and Americans.''
  Consider, too, the words of Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, then general 
secretary of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, quoted in a 1999 
ISCA press release following this same incident. She remarked, ``The 
carefully orchestrated and calculated plot to intimidate Shaykh Kabbani 
into retracting his statements only goes to prove the unwillingness to 
tolerate differences of opinion and belief, as well as the extent to 
which they would go to silence the voice of opposition.''
  Or consider the testimony of Zeyno Baran, a prominent Turkish 
American scholar who is presently a senior fellow at the Hudson 
Institute. In July of 2008, speaking before the Senate Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, she stated that she 
believed CAIR ``was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to influence the 
U.S. Government, Congress, and NGOs, along with academic and media 
groups'' and lamented that, ``despite being founded by leading 
Islamists, CAIR has successfully portrayed itself as a mainstream 
Muslim organization over the past 15 years and has been treated as such 
by many U.S. Government officials.''
  Or most recently, an April 2009 advertisement in Weekly Standard 
authored by ``American Muslims,'' applauded the FBI for rejecting CAIR. 
The signatories included representatives of six different 
organizations, and I submit a copy of the ad for the Record. The 
signatories wrote, ``We observe that they (CAIR) denounce `terrorism' 
in general terms, but not the specific actions of Islamic groups like 
Hamas or Hezbollah. They denounce violence, but not the ideologies 
behind it.'' Further, the group acknowledged CAIR's ``attempts to chill 
free speech by calling critics of radical Islam `Islamophobes.' ''
  Finally, I would like to close my speech by recognizing the men and 
women of the FBI and the hard work they do every day to keep this 
country safe, and to restate the FBI's own words, ``Until we can 
resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its 
executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate 
liaison partner.''
  I completely agree.
     R 221435Z MAY 06
     FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
     TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5272
     INFO AMCONSUL DUBAI

     UNCLAS ABU DHABI 002127
     SENSITIVE
     FOR NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD; INFO NEA/FO, R

     E.O. 12958: N/A
     TAGS: KISL, SOCI, PHUM, PGOV, KDEM, AE
     SUBJECT: VISIT BY COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS
     (CAIR) TO UAE
       1.(U) On May 21, the Council on American Islamic Relations 
     (CAIR) paid a courtesy call on the Ambassador to discuss the 
     organization's issues, outreach strategies, and its visit to 
     the UAE. The UAE press has reported that Sheikh Hamdan bin 
     Rashid al-Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of 
     Finance and Industry, ``has endorsed a proposal to build a 
     property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR.'' 
     DCM, PAO and MEPI Regional Director also participated in the 
     meeting.
       2.(U) The group expressed ideas about countering negative 
     stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S. (``Islamophobia'') and 
     addressing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. They 
     mentioned previous meetings with State Department officials, 
     U/S Karen Hughes and A/S David Welch, their attendance at the 
     Secretary's Iftar, and spoke of a possible meeting with 
     President Bush in the future.
       3.(U) Mr. Don Myers, representing Washington, D.C. public 
     relations firm Hill & Knowlton, provided a short 
     demonstration of a PR campaign designed to support CAIR's 
     overall organizational objectives defined as: 1) political 
     empowerment of Muslims, 2) grassroots effort by CAIR to 
     improve community relations with non-Muslims, 3) launching of 
     an effective, long-term (5 year) advertising/outreach 
     campaign to counter negative stereotypes about Muslims.
       4.(U) Members of the CAIR delegation included: Hon. Larry 
     Shaw, Senator (North Carolina General Assembly); Hon. Paul 
     Findley, Former U.S. Representative; Don Myers, Washington, 
     D.C. public relations firm Hill & Knowlton; Nihad Awad, CAIR 
     Executive Director and Co-Founder; Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper, 
     CAIR Communication Director and Co-Founder; Dr. Parvez Ahmed, 
     CAIR Board Chairman; and Dr. Nabil Sadoun, CAIR Board Member.
       5.(U) CAIR delegation also paid a call earlier in the day 
     on Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah, 
     which was covered in the press.
       6.(U) Sheikh Ali al-Hashemi, UAE Presidential Adviser on 
     Islamic affairs, is hosting a reception at his house this 
     evening, May 22, in honor of the CAIR group; Ambassador and 
     PolOff to attend. Al-Hashemi also thanked the Ambassador for 
     receiving the CAIR delegation.
       7.(SBU) Comment: CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad told us 
     that while they were pleased with the results of the meeting 
     with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, they had no concrete 
     information on the size of the endowment or when it might be 
     forthcoming. Awad also mentioned that the Bin Hamoodah Group, 
     a $500 million/year trading company, founded by three Emirati 
     brothers and representing Haliburton, IBM, FMC Corporation

[[Page H6676]]

     and General Motors, is CAIR's main benefactor in the UAE. One 
     newly-rich stock trader, Talal Khoori (UAE national of 
     Iranian origin), is believed to have donated one million 
     dollars to CAIR.
       Sison.
     P 281502Z JUN 06
     FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
     TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9065
     INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
     AMCONSUL JEDDAH

     UNCLAS RIYADH 005172
     SENSITIVE

     E.O. 12958: N/A
     TAGS: SCUL, KDEM, KISL, PGOV, PHUM, SOCI, SA
     SUBJECT: VISIT BY COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS
     (CAIR) TO SAUDI ARABIA

     REF: ABU DHABI 2127

       1.(U) Following up on a similar visit to the UAE in May 
     (reftel), a delegation from the U.S.-based Council on 
     American Islamic Relations (CAIR) visited the Kingdom of 
     Saudi Arabia (KSA) in June. On June 22 the group paid a 
     courtesy call on the Embassy to discuss the organization's 
     issues and outreach strategies. In the Ambassador's absence, 
     DCM received the group, along with the PA Counselor and 
     Poloff (notetaker).
       2.(SBU) Prior to coming to Riyadh, the CAIR group visited 
     Mecca and Jeddah. Although they apparently were not received 
     at the highest levels of the SAG, the group assured the 
     Embassy that ``King Abdullah knows CAIR very well'' and 
     receives regular updates on the group's projects. After 
     recalling the success of their visit to the UAE in May, the 
     group predicted that they would be back in the region by fall 
     to visit Kuwait and Qatar. The group also mentioned that they 
     had been well-received in Washington by senior State 
     Department officials, including Secretary Rice and 
     Undersecretary Hughes.
       3.(U) The core delegation consisted of CAIR Board Chairman 
     Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Executive Director Nihad Awad, and 
     Communications Director Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper. Accompanying 
     them were former U.S. Representative Paul Findley and Don 
     Myers, a former DoD official now with Hill and Knowlton 
     public relations.
       4.(U) During their hour-long meeting in the Embassy, the 
     group presented various projects that CAIR is working on to 
     counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S. 
     (``Islamophobia''), linking their work to concern over 
     growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. One of the 
     current CAIR projects they discussed was the presentation of 
     ``accurate books about Islam'' to schools and libraries in 
     the U.S.
       5.(SBU) Mr. Don Myers, representing Hill and Knowlton, gave 
     a short demonstration of a CAIR-funded media campaign to 
     support CAIR's overall information outreach effort. According 
     to Myers, this private campaign will emphasize both 
     grassroots outreach to improve American non-Muslim 
     understanding of Muslims and the encouragement of political 
     engagement by American Muslims. The multi-year broadcast and 
     print campaign is to be entitled ``Let the Conversation 
     Begin'' and is aimed at countering negative stereotypes about 
     Muslims within the broad American public.
       6.(SBU) One admitted reason for the group's current visit 
     to the KSA was to solicit $50 million in governmental and 
     non-governmental contributions. PA Counselor noted that 
     private outreach activities can provide valuable support to 
     USG efforts to build mutual understanding overseas but 
     cautioned that USG Public Diplomacy (PD) funds cannot be used 
     or associated with efforts to target American audiences. The 
     delegation was interested to hear of the Embassy's PD 
     exchange and activities within the KSA and offered to help 
     support them in any appropriate way. The group did not share, 
     however, any details of their success or lack thereof in 
     fundraising within the KSA.
       Oberwetter.

       

                          ____________________