CAIR’s Congressman: Joel Mowbray responds to critics

We have two e-mail messages from critics of the five reports by Joel Mowbray that we posted here this past weekend on Keith Ellison, along with Joel’s responses to the messages. Joel will will be staying on the Ellison case and continuing to contribute reports on Ellison here periodically until November. Joel can be reached by email at [email protected] Joel’s first critic writes as “RS2”:

Mr. Mowbray,

As a Keith Ellison supporter, and someone who knows him, I can tell you that over-the-top articles connecting him to every evil person makes us cynical. We’re seeing first hand how off track the media can be.

Why is there no mention of all the other high level individuals in both parties who have intimate relations with CAIR? Only a problem in Ellison’s case?

Your article is a paint job. A reader being completely ignorant of our local situation would not be truly informed after reading your tilted piece. However, they would come away with the negative conclusion about Ellison that you intend them to glean. In that way it is successful.

Take care,

Joel responds:

Thanks for the note. While I can appreciate that Keith Ellison might well be a very nice person, and in fact, may not share any of the ugliness of those people who have contributed to him, it is exceedingly difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt in light of both his history and his campaign’s evasive behavior toward me.

As you know, as he has admitted, he was involved with the Nation of Islam in the 1990’s, a group that is unabashedly racist and anti-Semitic. But in his letter of apology to the Jewish community, Ellison sadly decided against being completely honest.

Ellison claimed that he had no more than “ties” to the NOI, and for a period of just 18 months. By his own recounting, he helped organize the Million Man March in 1995, and in 1998, he ran for office as a *member* of the NOI.

Further, columns he wrote in law school strongly suggest he belonged to NOI going back at least to 1990. That’s 8 years, not 18 months.

But what for me is far more grievous was the statement he read at the public hearing in 1997 defending “the truth” of Joanne Jackson’s claim that Jews are “the most racist white people.” Ellison claimed that he wasn’t aware at the time of the NOI’s anti-Semitism–is he thus saying he didn’t recognize what he said as spokesman in 1997 was anti-Semitic?

You’re right that CAIR has done its best to ingratiate itself with other politicians and governmental agencies. That said, Nihad Awad has not been this active on behalf of any other non-incumbent candidate in the past five years. Even with that, I was willing to give Ellison every opportunity either to explain his acceptance of Awad’s assistance, or perhaps even to apologize. But rather than take me up on my repeated offers to hear his side, his staff slow-rolled me, forcing the Pioneer Press to kill the story.

I hold no animus toward Ellison personally. But in light of his untruthfulness about his history and his campaign’s deceptive behavior (including their attempts to downplay Awad’s role that simply don’t wash), the only reasonable conclusion I could have reached was the one I did.

Ellison has a duty to his potential constituents for honesty and accountability, and he has yet to live up to that.

Thanks again for writing. Take care.



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