On November 15, 2014, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) cabinet approved a comprehensive list of 83 designated terrorist organizations and included the Muslim Brotherhood, some of its global affiliates, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS). However, a week earlier at a banquet in California, CAIR bestowed its “Promoting Justice” award to Sami Al-Arian and his family who are terrorist sympathizers.
Steve Emerson, founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), a non-profit research group and recognized as the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups, reported on Thursday through email communications that CAIR gave the award to Sami Al-Arian and his family, known terrorist sympathizer’s. Called “a master manipulator” by a federal judge, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a specially designated terrorist group.
Emerson said, “Al-Arian was on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Shura Council, its board of directors in the 1990s and provided refuge to at least three other board members in the United States, including current PIJ Secretary General Ramadan Shallah. During a 1991 speech in Cleveland, Al-Arian was introduced as the head of a charity called the Islamic Committee for Palestine. Imam Fawaz Damra explained to the audience that it is the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. We preferred to call it the “Islamic Committee for Palestine” for security reasons.”
Emerson pointed out that during a later fundraising session, Damra urged the audience to give to the Islamic Jihad and said, “And whoever wants to write a check, he can write it in the name if the Islamic Committee for Palestine, “ICP” for short.” Four years later, in the wake of a double-suicide bombing in Israel that killed 21 Israelis, Al-Arian wrote a letter to a Kuwaiti legislator seeking money “for the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue.
Emerson said that Al-Arian claimed that the letter was never sent, but it was handwritten in Arabic and signed, and a copy was kept in his home, where federal agents found it during a November 1995 search. Emerson said, “CAIR officials know all of this. They have stood by Al-Arian’s side for nearly two decades possessing that knowledge. They also know his plea agreement includes his agreement to be deported. In introducing the award Nov. 8, CAIR San Francisco Vice President Maleeha Haq explained that the Al-Arian family was a natural choice. For over 11 years now, they have been at the center of an unjust campaign by the government. Alhamdulillah, the government decided to finally dismiss all of their unfounded charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian. However, he remains in limbo awaiting deportation proceedings, “said Emerson. “After Al-Arian thanked CAIR for the award, he challenged the audience to fight against law enforcement sting operations, which he said unfairly target and entrap Muslims.”
Emerson said that Al-Arian went on to say, “But the only way to stop it… is through a public organization campaign to change the government. Brothers and sisters, our young men should not be sacrificed at the altar of Islamophobia or a fake war on terror. Our people should not be targeted because of their beliefs or associations. We should say no to thought crimes, no to preempted or pre-crime prosecutions … This is a crisis that our community has been ignoring for so long, and we must face up to this challenge. Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen – if not you, then who? If not now, when?”
The terrorist designation by the UAE caught CAIR by surprise and as the UAE tied CAIR to the Muslim Brotherhood, Awad of CAIR told CNN, “We were never linked to the Muslim Brotherhood…we are not. We are an independent American organization… but guilt by association should not just be taken easily by these governments.” However, Emerson reported that internal Muslim Brotherhood documents tell a different story and that Awad and CAIR are an organization inside a Brotherhood-created Hamas support network in the United States that was called the Palestine Committee.
“Awad participated in a secret 1993 Palestine Committee strategy session in Philadelphia called to devise ways to “derail” the new U.S.-brokered Oslo peace initiative without exposing themselves as Hamas supporters. Awad even referred to Hamas in the code name organizers instructed, reversing the spelling and calling it “Samah”, “said Emerson. “Those connections were enough to prompt the FBI to cut off all outreach ommunication with CAIR in 2008. A federal judge determined there was “ample evidence to establish” a connection between CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian offshoot Hamas.”
At the banquet, Awad acknowledged the contributions to CAIR by co-founder and former national chairman Omar Ahmad, described by an FBI agent as a leader within the Palestine Committee, “Emerson said. “The UAE’s terror designation doesn’t mean CAIR is actively plotting attacks. But as we have repeatedly demonstrated, it has no problem standing by those who enable terrorism through fundraising, propaganda and more. People like Al-Arian, or the Holy Land Foundation leadership, or convicted Palestinian bomber Rasmieh Odeh, “said Emerson. “CAIR’s timing, awarding a PIJ director just before the UAE labeled CAIR as terrorists, doesn’t do much to bolster CAIR’s complaints that it is being unjustly tarnished.”