The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and State Department teamed up with an Islamic terrorist front group this month to train foreign officials how to protect Muslim civil rights and avoid discrimination and profiling when countering violent extremism. It marks the latest of many collaborations between the Obama administration and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group with extensive links to foreign and domestic Islamists that was founded by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) and reportedly raises money for Hamas.
In 2008 CAIR, which claims to be America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, was a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. Read more in a Judicial Watch special report that focuses on Muslim charities. Despite the group’s radical ties, it wields tremendous power in the Obama administration. This is especially true when it comes to the way the nation’s local and federal law enforcement agencies conduct anti-terrorism training. In fact, it was CAIR that got the FBI to purge anti-terrorism material determined to be offensive to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal a few years ago and obtained hundreds of pages of FBI documents with details of the arrangement. Judicial Watch also published a special in-depth report on the subject. CAIR also got several police departments in Obama’s home state of Illinois to cancel essential counterterrorism courses over accusations that the instructor was anti-Muslim. The course was called “Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy” and departments in Lombard, Elmhurst and Highland Park caved into CAIR’s demands.
This month CAIR’s Florida chapter joined forces with DHS and the State Department to conduct a special training for a delegation of French national security officials in its Tampa headquarters. The weeklong event trained the foreign officials how to “effectively challenge violent extremist individuals of all backgrounds and prevent hate crimes, while protecting civil rights and challenging profiling and discrimination,” according to a CAIR announcement. Listed by name, the French delegation included a deputy police chief, deputy prosecutor, education specialist, public safety director, a radicalization prevention specialist and other French government representatives. Among the highlights of the event was a presentation by the regional operations director of CAIR’s Florida headquarters clumping “hate crimes” in the same category as “violent extremism.”
The local CAIR director, Hassan Shibly, applauded the French national security delegation’s participation and warned that restricting liberty—presumably, cracking down on terrorism—encourages hate crimes and violence. Preserving liberty and civil rights, Shibly told the French security officials, is key to preserving peace and security. Shared democratic values were a common ground that allowed the groups to navigate the importance of security and civil rights protection, according to one of the CAIR directors who organized the training along with the U.S. government.
Besides playing a key role in shaping anti-terrorism training to be Muslim friendly, CAIR has flexed its muscle to block terrorism investigations during the Obama presidency. This includes intercepting an FBI probe involving the radicalization of young Somali men in the U.S. like the ones who carried out the 2013 attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Northern Nairobi. Several of the jihadists involved in the attack were Somalis from Minnesota, according to a mainstream news report. Among them was 22-year-old Ahmed Mohamed Isse of St. Paul and 24-year-old Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid of Minneapolis. In the years before the attack, the FBI and Congress launched probes into the radicalization of the Somali American community in Minnesota. Al Shabaab recruits young men in local mosques and ships them off to train and fight in Somalia. CAIR has interfered with the U.S. government’s investigation into this operation and a few years ago it actually hampered an FBI probe into the disappearance of dozens of Twin Cities Somali men.