CAIR Attacks the Foreign Policy Research Institute
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is up to its usual assault on the discussion of Islam.
Its Philadelphia chapter is holding a press conference on March 17 at which it plans "to announce the launch of a nationwide campaign to challenge anti-Islam bias in a series of children's books that the Washington-based Muslim civil rights group says promote 'hostility toward Islam and suspicion of Muslims'."
In advance of the press conference, it may be helpful to review an incriminating e-mail exchange among the CAIR staff about the series. It took place on December 9, 2009, when Moein M. Khawaja, "civil rights director" for CAIR's Philadelphia office, sent a memo to the CAIR staff. Khawaja reported that he had gone through some of the Mason Crest volumes and flagged materials he disapproved of (such as, "The burqa is a visible symbol of European Muslims resistance to assimilation in society").
Relying on an informant at Mason Crest, Khawaja then wrote:
Karen Dabdoub of CAIR's Cincinnati chapter replied later that day that she shared Khawaja's concerns.
Still on December 9, Babak Darvish of CAIR's Columbus office replied:
Presumably the "almost Serbian/Romanian" name is that of the late Michael Radu, my onetime co-author and author of the recently published book, Europe's Ghost: Tolerance, Jihadism, and the Crisis of the West (Encounter).
Comments: (1) This episode raises unsettling questions: What is CAIR doing with an "informant" inside Mason Crest Publishers? How many other publishing houses has it penetrated? And which other cultural institutions have staff more loyal to CAIR than to their employers?
(2) Remarks about authors' names "that at the very least sound Jewish" and one that "sound almost Serbian/Romanian" give a sense of how CAIR staff think and write when they think they are not being watched, with biased and even racist attitudes toward Jews and Balkan peoples very much at odds with their usual public face. (That public face too sometimes lapses, as I documented at "Look Now Who's Profiling - CAIR's Staff Is.")
(3) Even more alarming is the conclusion from the authors' names that the Mason Crest series "is really hateful" and a comparison of it to "Neo-Nazis writing books to teach about Judaism in Public schools." Implicit to this reasoning is the false and demeaning assumption that Jews and Balkan peoples may not write about Islam.
(4) I challenge Mason Crest Publishers to investigate which employee smuggled its proprietary information to CAIR and then inform the public of his or her identity.
(5) And I challenge CAIR to disown and disavow its staff's anti-Semitic and racist statements.
Mar. 17, 2010 update: CAIR held its press conference today, and it was not much of an event, lasting about 13 minutes and involving an audience of about 10 mostly hostile participants.
The formal statement at the start of the conference (pompously titled "Official Remarks of Moein Khawaja, CAIR-PA Civil Rights Director") mostly reiterated the press release of yesterday but it did contain one notable comment:
It's amusing that Khawaja is outraged by this quote from the series, for its definition of jihad is perfectly correct; accepting this definition makes one a Muslim, not a member of Al-Qaeda. As for the 75 percent figure, I can't vouch for it but it strikes me as eminently reasonable.
Questions from the audience concerned such matters as the books' presence in schools and libraries, FPRI's relationship with Mason Crest, Michael Savage's banning from the United Kingdom, CAIR's organizational reach, Saudi funding for CAIR, and the massacre of Christians in Nigeria.
One question followed up on my report, asking if CAIR has a problem that "some of the names that appear as authors happen to sound very Jewish." In reply, Khawaja brazened it out, saying that the only the "content of the books" are at issue.
Finally, realizing that questioners would continue to challenge him and his organization, Khawaja aborted the press conference.
Mar. 18, 2010 update: Bryan Schwartzman of Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent asked Khawaja about the e-mails that I made public and "Khawaja declined to comment on the authenticity of the e-mails."
Mar. 19, 2010 update: Barry Rubin, one of the authors of the "World of Islam" series assesses the specific CAIR complaints about the series and makes mincemeat of them. I'll quote the first of five points he makes because it refers directly to discussion of jihad in the March 17, 2010 update:
Point four concerns me, so I quote it too:
Mar. 24, 2010 update: Stephen Schwartz puts this incident into perspective today at "CAIR Attacks American Educational Book Series: Business as usual for the Islamists" and writes of the series: "These texts are neither prejudicial nor ideological; they represent established historical opinion and accurate reporting on present-day challenges affecting Muslims and non-Muslims alike." Schwartz concludes that "CAIR is attempting, as often in the past, to reinforce its claim to be a privileged interpreter of Islam in the United States."
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