Joel Mowbray

The threatening letter states that Spencer “has a history of false and defamatory statements.” Interestingly, CAIR couldn’t cite even one “false and defamatory statement.”

But no matter what statements Spencer critics might dig up, none could put him in the league of some of the characters who have headlined CAIR conferences.

CAIR’s primary objection in its attempted legal blackmail was that Spencer is “a well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry.” But if the group objects to “purveyors of hatred and bigotry,” why would it feature a neo-Nazi at several of its conferences?

Speaking at various CAIR functions in New York, New Jersey, and Florida was Bill Baker, whom CAIR-NY billed as a “renowned Christian scholar.” This “renowned Christian scholar” is someone with a history of vicious anti-Semitism who for a time in the 1980’s ran the Populist Party, an organization populated by neo-Nazis and Klansmen.

But a neo-Nazi is not out of place in the CAIR universe. At a CAIR co-sponsored event in 1998 at Brooklyn College in New York, speaker Wagdy Ghuniem roused the crowd with a stirring ditty that contained the lyrics: “No to the Jews, descendants of the apes.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Also on the menu at CAIR functions are 9/11 conspiracy theories, not surprising since it appears that the group’s leader doesn’t believe that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who suffered Stockholm Syndrome after being kidnapped by the Taliban and subsequently converted to Islam, asked at a 2003 CAIR-NY event, “Why would the Bush administration allow 9/11 to happen?” Her answer? “Because to use the war on terrorism became a useful bogus cover for achieving wider strategic geo-political objectives.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Stepping to the podium after Ridley's remarks was Awad, CAIR’s co-founder and executive director. Rather than chastise Ridley for her claim that it was Bush, and not bin Laden, behind 9/11, Awad indulged her delusions: “Also, having listened to sister Yvonne, there are many theories of course about 9/11. And there are many unanswered questions, and we always ask for answers.”

Given CAIR’s track record, YAF had no qualms ignoring CAIR’s threats. The speech happened Thursday, just as scheduled. But even with the possibility of a lawsuit, YAF would never censor a legitimate speaker; freedom of speech goes to the core of the group’s values. “CAIR picked the wrong group to bully and intimidate,” notes YAF spokesman Jason Mattera.

Plenty of reasonable people can take substantive issue with Spencer—and plenty do—but shouldn’t CAIR be more troubled by neo-Nazis, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and Islamic terrorists?

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, 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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