September 7, 2006
“The change at CAIR starts with a brand new identity that reflects our core values of being.” These are the words found in the new flash presentation on the website of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The presentation introduces a new look for CAIR. Gone is the boring blue logo, replaced by an equally boring emblem that now includes an Islamic pattern combining four crescents and stars. Regrettably, while the logo did receive a facelift, the organization is still the same CAIR – the same radical Islamist group that it was when it began more than twelve years ago.
Tomorrow night, September 8th, CAIR will be sponsoring an event featuring the former President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami. Khatami, during the recent fighting in Lebanon, described Hezbollah as “a shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world.” Indeed, no matter what CAIR says, the core is still well intact.
Part of CAIR’s core is its co-founder and Executive Director, Nihad Awad. Awad started the group, along with two fellow representatives from the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), in June of 2004, just three months after Awad publicly proclaimed his support for Hamas.
Another part of CAIR’s core is its National Spokesman, Ibrahim “Dougie” Hooper. In April of 1993, Hooper told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.” These quotations from CAIR’s two main leaders represent an ideology that has driven the group to the front of the American Islamist community.
The fact that four of CAIR’s former officials have been convicted in and/or deported from the United States, all found to have had ties with Hamas or al-Qaeda, is indicative of the “core values” that CAIR’s flash presentation speaks of, and it is the reasoning behind the speaking invite of someone such as Mohammad Khatami.
Seyed Mohammed Khatami served as Iran’s fifth President, from August of 1997 through August of 2005. Once thought of as a reformer, Khatami has embraced extremism on a number of occasions, most notably with respect to his views on the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Less than a month before leaving office, in July of 2005, he stated on Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai), “It is not in Lebanon's best interest to stop the resistance. We always support this idea. We believe that Hezbollah has an authentic Lebanese identity. We love Hezbollah… Hezbullah will remain and will keep its weapons.” And as reported in the New York Times, during the recent fighting that took place in Lebanon, Khatami likened Hezbollah to “a shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world.” Also according to the article, Khatami sent a hate-filled letter to Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, which stated, “Zionists’ shocking atrocities in Palestine and Lebanon are a sign of their violent nature.”
Khatami’s visit to the U.S. has drawn the ire of many, including that of the Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. Concerning Khatami’s invitation to speak at Harvard University on the eve of 9/11 (following the CAIR speech), Romney stated, “State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel.”
It is obvious that this is not of concern to CAIR, as the group is throwing out the red carpet for the so-called “reformist.” According to CAIR’s website, in addition to the speech, there will be “a private reception with President Khatami, including a photo opportunity.”
The event is being held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Virginia. This is the same venue that hosted CAIR’s 11th Annual Banquet, in December of 2005. That affair featured Siraj Wahhaj, a former National Board member of CAIR, whose name appears on the U.S. Attorney’s list of potential co-conspirators to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
By bringing Mohammad Khatami, an extremist that supports terrorists, to speak at its event, CAIR has shown that its new image is nothing but a farce, and its new logo is little more than ‘window dressing’ to that farce. CAIR is no more of a reformer than its Iranian guest.
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Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the host of The Politics of Terrorism radio show.