Frum vs. CAIR
Little Green Footballs points us to a National Post article by David Frum: The Question of CAIR. Read the whole thing.
|Two weeks ago, the National Post and I were served with a notice of libel by the Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The Post and I are not alone. Over the past year, CAIR’s Canadian and U.S. branches have served similar libel notices on half a dozen other individuals and organizations in the United States and Canada. Each case has its own particular facts, yet they are linked by a common theme: That we defendants have accused CAIR (in the words of the notice served on me) of being "an unscrupulous, Islamist, extremist sympathetic group in Canada supporting terrorism."
Lawyers for individuals and newspapers served with libel notices will normally urge their clients to avoid any comment on the matter—to avoid even any acknowledgement that they have been served. This is usually good advice. A notice of libel is not a lawsuit, but a warning of a lawsuit to come. If the potential defendant keeps quiet, the potential plaintiff will often drop the suit altogether.
But wise legal advice often comes at a cost, a cost in public information. So I was heartened that the National Post’s lawyers have encouraged the paper and me to continue with this important story.
CAIR is understandably protective of its reputation. Until recently, it has had considerable success winning acceptance in the United States and Canada as something close to an official spokesman for local Muslim communities. CAIR has been influential in advocating for a sharia court to arbitrate divorces and other family-law matters in the province of Ontario. CAIR’s strong criticisms of Canada’s anti-terror legislation have won respectful hearing in Ottawa. Any reporting or commentary that cast doubt on CAIR’s carefully cultivated image would deeply threaten the group’s mission.
What is that mission? The public record offers some clues:
CAIR was founded in 1994 by alumni of an older group, the Islamic Association for Palestine. The IAP, founded by senior Hamas figure Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state under Islamic law in Israel’s place. (In 1996, CAIR would condemn the U.S. government’s decision to deport Marzook as an “anti-Islamic” act.)
CAIR’s first executive director, Nihad Awad, publicly declared himself a supporter of Hamas at a 1994 forum at Barry University in Florida.
One of CAIR’s original advisory board members, Siraj Wahhaj, served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is the blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiracy to bomb New York landmarks. CAIR described Rahman’s conviction as a hate crime.
CAIR’s founding chairman, Omar Ahmed, also an IAP alumnus, is said to have declared at a public event in California in July, 1998: "Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." Ahmed has since disputed the accuracy of the quote—five years after it was reported by a California newspaper.
LGF and Anti-CAIR