Yesterday our friend Hugh Hewitt had a spokesman from the Los Angeles office of CAIR on at length on his radio show. I was disappointed that Hugh give CAIR a platform and treated its spokesman like a representative of a bona fide civil rights organization, though CAIR has had great success in presenting itself as such an organization.
In a column coincidentally responding to statements by the CAIR spokesman, Daniel Pipes described CAIR as “an organization that has an alarming record of intimidating moderate Muslims, embracing Muslim American murderers and promoting anti-Semitism. CAIR is also on the wrong side in the war on terrorism.”
Hugh did an excellent job pressing the spokesman on the subject of Israel’s right to exist and found his answers unsatisfactory. In his own words from one of his columns, here’s a history lesson from the spokesman who appeared on Hugh’s show:
Zionism is a political ideology whose tentacles are rooted in racism. The Zionist movement practically translated into the uprooting of homes and lives of the indigenous people – the Palestinians – in favor of European settlers who claim their ancestors used to live there about 2,000 years ago.
The fact that those invaders were Jewish and the victims were Palestinian Christians and Muslims does not make this conflict a religious one, as many extremists from all sides would like to insist. It remains a national struggle, supported by people of all faiths, to end a racist occupation.
Lovely. The CAIR spokesman’s evasive answers on this subject, however, were not the only discordant notes in the conversation. Hugh observed, for example, that Sami al-Arian is currently on trial in federal court in Tampa as the head of the North American branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Al-Arian’s indictment quotes verbatim telephone and fax intercepts documenting al-Arian’s fundraising for PIJ over a ten-year period — communications that the government was prohibited from sharing with law enforcemnt under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until the adoption of the PATRIOT Act. (CAIR has opposed the PATRIOT Act because it “has been used to profile and single out American Muslims.”) Hugh elicited a condemnation of al-Arian’s activity by the spokesman “if true,” or something to that effect.
It’s telling, however, that the communications director of CAIR’s Tampa chapter is an unofficial spokesman for al-Arian: “CAIRing for Sami al-Arian.” See also today’s FrontPage report from the al-Arian trial: “What I saw at al-Arian’s trial.”