A "Stop the Bloodshed in Gaza" rally in downtown Miami on July 20 featured aggressive Islamist chants typical of anti-Israel events. In English, the demonstrators yelled "We are Hamas!" and "We are Jihad!" (as can be seen and heard here). In Hebrew, a Hamas partisan screamed at an Israel-supporter, "Son of a bitch" and "Go to Hell!" and made an obscene arm gesture. In Arabic, the crowd chanted the infamous "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jew, Muhammad's army will return" (a reference to a massacre of Jews under the auspices of Islam's prophet in A.D. 629).
As I say, just a typical anti-Israel demonstration, and far from the worst. Typical – except that some of its sponsors desperately seek respectability.
American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Syrian American Council of South Florida (SAC), American Muslims for Emergency & Relief (AMER), and American Muslims Foundation.
The event's Facebook page lists a coalition of eight organizations, some of which overlap with those on the flier:
Join us & spread the word! In coordination with our coalition: Al-Awda Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-FL, POWIR, Broward Green Party, CAIR, National Lawyers Guild (South Florida), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) - FAU, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) - FIU.
Two groups in particular, CAIR and ICNA, caught Avel's eye because they aspire to invitations to the White House, appearances on network television and at leading universities, and other signs of public acceptance. What took place in Miami, she correctly noted, reveals their true extremism.
Six days later, on July 29, CAIR's Florida chapter responded with a denial:
CAIR-Florida was not part of, did not plan, did not sponsor, did not participate in, and had absolutely nothing to do with the July 20 rally. If any document lists CAIR-Florida as a sponsor of the event, that listing was included without CAIR-Florida's permission.
I doubt the veracity of this denial for several reasons.
- CAIR's mendacity is so widespread that I have an entire bibliography of my writings exposing the reasons not to trust it.
- The flier, of which I have a copy, twice states that Sofian Zakkout organized the rally. Zakkout is so close to CAIR, he's effectively a staff volunteer: he coordinates with it, is quoted by it, seeks help from it, and is listed as a contact by it. (For more on Zakkout, see Avel's exposé.) A year earlier, he listed CAIR's Florida branch on another rally flier. It beggars the imagination that he would list CAIR without authorization.
- The Facebook page still lists CAIR as a sponsor, two weeks after CAIR's statement of denial.
- Perhaps CAIR seeks to conceal the truth through semantics. Both the national organization (on the Facebook page) and the Florida chapter (on the flier) are listed as sponsors. The July 29 statement only denies permission from the latter, not the former. It is more than credible that CAIR national gave its permission to be listed as a sponsor while CAIR's Florida chapter did not.
Given these facts, I disbelieve CAIR's statement.
I do believe it sponsored the vile event in Miami; that its denial of that sponsorship is false; and that the despicable words at the Miami rally revealed the true face of CAIR.
CAIR must not be validated by invitations and appearances. It should be treated as a marginal and despised group like the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.
Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
Dec. 28, 2015 update: For more information about the organizer of the rally analyzed above, see Joe Kaufman, "Sofian Zakkout: Man of peace in English, hides his bigotry and violence in Arabic," in FrontPageMag.com.