The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is seeking to limit our government’s ability to obtain information with which to counter Islamist terrorism and jihad. On the eve of a three-day White House meeting on federal efforts to mitigate jihadi violence, CAIR issued a statement calling, in effect, for the government to farm out its program for dealing with domestic Islamist terrorists to Muslim leaders — in other words to CAIR and its friends. The statement also calls on the administration to revise its foreign policy to suit CAIR.
As Neil Munro explains, the Obama administration has established the “Countering Violent Extremism” program (CVE) as a method of preventing, or at least reducing, violence committed by Muslim immigrants such as the kind that occurred during the Boston Marathon two years ago. Under this program, federal district attorneys work with Muslims who claim to be the religious and civic leaders of Muslim migrants. The program aims to enlist these Muslim leaders as, in the administration’s words, “the first line of defense to prevent or counter radicalizing forces that can ultimately lead to violence.”
Munro notes the irony here: Even as officials say they’re working with Islamic clerics to stop jihad attacks, they also claim that the attacks have nothing to do with Islam.
But never mind. If CVE is effective, even on a very limited basis, then carry on.
But CAIR doesn’t want the program to carry on unless it can extract huge concessions from Obama. It states, in part:
To be effective, any conversation related to CVE should include a discussion of overbroad surveillance by the NSA and FBI, use of informants in places of worship and other community gathering places without evidence of wrongdoing, and other problematic law enforcement tactics.
CAIR also seeks rules that would help shield Muslim political leaders and clerics from being charged with supporting jihad terrorism. Oh, and it states that the “discussion” it seeks with the administration “must also include America’s foreign policy.”
Two months ago, moreover, CAIR complained about government control over decisions about “which particular imams and community leaders are worthy of [federal] support and which are not.” It claimed that making these judgments “could have the constitutionally impermissible effect of advancing a particular set of religious beliefs and suppressing others.” If so, the same can be said about supporting imams, eclectic or not, in the first place.
If CAIR truly cared about combating terrorism, it wouldn’t tie its support for anti-terrorism efforts to demands to limit the government’s access to information through the use of traditional law enforcement methods like electronic surveillance and informers. Imams may or may not be helpful, but in a best case scenario they are no substitute hard, verifiable information.
Nor, if CAIR were truly serious about combating terrorism, would it tie its support to adopting a foreign policy more to its liking. Whether deliberately or not, CAIR serves, in effect, as the agent of anti-Israeli terrorists to the extent that it tries to leverage the terrorist threat into policy concessions. If the Obama administration wants to try this sort of appeasement (and it might), it doesn’t need CAIR to act as the middle man.
In fact, as Munro reminds us, CAIR emerged from a network of violent or political Islamic groups linked to the revivalist Muslim Brotherhood movement. Moreover, the U.S. government named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. In that case, leaders of the Holy Land Foundation were found guilty of aiding the Hamas terrorists.
It’s not surprising that CAIR is calling for the U.S. government to limit its ability to combat terrorism. Nor, sadly, will it be surprising if Obama yields to some of CAIR’s demands.