Today’s Democratic primary in Minnesota’s very blue fifth Congressional district could prove historic. If he wins, Keith Ellison would be all-but-assured to be the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congressman. It would also mark the first time that someone ascended to Capitol Hill courtesy of key support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Ellison has received financial and other help from executives at CAIR, which has deep connections to supporters of Islamic terrorism. Also among those who have contributed money to the candidate are an official from a group that participated in a “tribute” to the Iranian despot Ayatollah Khomenei and leaders of what is considered the political front in the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood.
While Ellison could be genuinely ignorant of the disturbing records of some his supporters, he at least owes voters an explanation—and hopefully, an apology. Assuming he does, though, he needs to re-build his credibility by being more forthcoming about the true extent of his past with the Nation of Islam.
It appears he’s not ready to apologize anytime soon, however. Though his campaign staff initially gave assurances that Ellison would be available for interview, the candidate for reasons unknown never returned this columnist’s repeated phone calls.
At a fundraiser two weeks ago that the campaign estimates raised approximately $15,000 to $20,000, one of two speakers besides Ellison was Nihad Awad, the founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
This wasn’t Awad’s first assist. A month earlier, he apparently delivered to the campaign “bundled” checks amounting to just over $10,000. (“Bundling” is the practice of one person soliciting multiple checks for a campaign.) The campaign denies the contributions were bundled, but seven checks from residents of Virginia, Awad’s home state, and Texas, where Awad has strong ties, were received by the campaign on July 22. One of the checks was for $2,000 from Awad himself, and on the next day, the campaign logged a contribution from CAIR’s Director of Government Affairs, Corey Saylor.
Though it claims to be simply a civil rights group for Muslims, CAIR is at best agnostic on Islamic terror, and at worst, a cheerleader for it. Two of its officials have been convicted on terrorism charges, and as an organization, while CAIR forcefully attacks critics of radical Islam, it has yet to condemn by name any Islamic terror organization other than al Qaeda—which it denounced only reluctantly several months after 9/11.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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