The California Congress of Republicans & Its Strange Friends
by Daniel Pipes
Yes, believe it or not, if local chapters are seeking speakers on "Middle Eastern Affairs and understanding Islam," the CCR, which presents itself as "a grass-roots political organization, founded in 1989 and permanently chartered by the California Republican Party," offers first up none other than the director of CAIR's Northern California office, Helal Omeira. And here I thought only left-wing Democrats like Dennis Kucinich would wish to associate with an organization with three of its leadership in jail on terrorism-related charges. What an embarrassment this is to Republicans everywhere. Let's hope wiser heads immediately pull this endorsement. To help push them in the right direction, you can write the California Republicans at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live in California, mention this, and also if you are a registered Republican. (December 29, 2003)
Jan. 7, 2004 update: I received the following press release from Pamela Corradi today and am delighted to see that CCR disavows CAIR:
CCR response to Daniel Pipes' concerns regarding CAIR endorsement
Pamela Corradi, President
During the final week of 2003, Daniel Pipes published concerns about California Congress of Republicans on his website and in his newsletter.
The following are the facts that can be substantiated at this time.
Actions planned to insure no future incident of this kind include the following:
The purpose of this release is to set the record straight. CCR constantly strives to accurately present its position. There have been technical difficulties with our website and therefore cannot be responsible for any calgop.org websites that have appeared during the first week of 2004.
March 5, 2004 update: The election today of Johnny Khamis as the new vice president of the CCR prompts me to note that CCR has a history of hosting dubious Middle Easterners. Here is an invitation from the Republican Arab-American Congress (described in a press release as "a newly active caucus created under the Charter of the California Congress of Republicans"):
Peace and Coexistence in the Middle East:
The California Congress of Republicans
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
Saturday November 3, 2001
No Host Cocktail Reception at 7 PM
San Jose Wyndham Hotel
"For tickets & information," the invitation continues, "please call Johnny Khamis."
Nor is the CCR is not the only Republican group in California sponsoring Ashrawi. I have in my possession an invitation for a luncheon event on Aug. 25, 2003 that is even worse (because Ashrawi is being honored at it, as opposed to one half of a debate). It reads:
The Arab American Republican Committee
Very Cordially Invites You To A
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
The notion that any Republican body should host Hanan Ashrawi, a far-leftist far more extreme in her views than any national figure in the Democratic party, staggers the imagination. It's roughly analogous to Republicans honoring Michael Moore, Harold Pinter, John Pilger, or some other idiotarian.
May 9, 2004 update: The above criticism prompted an outraged letter from one Fred Davis, who identifies himself as a past president of the California Congress of Republicans. In a letter dated today, he sputters with so much indignation, lobs so many attacks on my person, and misspells so badly that it's a bit of a challenge to make out what his purpose is in writing me, but I think it comes down to a threat: he writes that the above information constitutes "an assault on the civil rights of those who are supposed to enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and that your rabble-roiusing attacks on Mr. Khamis are legally and morally suspect. I intend to see that people in the Bush Administration are informed of these acts." Is such vituperation and vulgarity typical of the Republican Party too, or is this Davis mercifully only an exception?
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