Yet a debate rages behind the scenes in Washington about the group, commonly known as CAIR, its financing and its motives. A small band of critics have made a determined but unsuccessful effort to link it to Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department...My, I coulda sworn the "efforts" of "critics" weren't all that "unsuccessful." Capt. Ed elaborates:
And, it's not as if the critics of CAIR can all be painted as Islamophobic neocons, either, which would at least give the Times a little bit more cover for its CAIR butt-covering.
Let's get specific and move past any blank stares, shall we? For instance, on Kaufman's site, they have screen captures from 9/17/01 of CAIR attempting to direct visitors to their web site to make donations for 9/11 relief to what they first identified as "NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund". The hyperlink took people to the Holy Land Foundation's website. The HLF funneled money to Hamas by the millions until the federal government shut it down in December 2001. Eight days later, they changed the hyperlink to identify the site as HLF and added one for the Global Relief Foundation -- which also got shut down in December 2001, this time for channeling money to al-Qaeda and Hamas.
CAIR exploited 9/11 to help fund the very group that perpetrated the attack. Is that specific enough for MacFarquhar? Why didn't he bother to note this very specific charge in his article, filled as it was with protestations of lack of specificity?
Let's check out some of the critics-- latecomers, though some of them may be, to the CAIR-watching:
Barbara Boxer rescinded an award to an Islamic activist in California after finding out about his ties to CAIR and investigating the organization:
After directing her staff to look into CAIR, Boxer “expressed concern” about some past statements and actions by the group, as well as assertions by some law enforcement officials that it “gives aid to international terrorist groups,” according to Natalie Ravitz, the senator’s press spokeswoman.
That was, according to the Times, the critics' fault, of course:
Last fall, Senator Barbara Boxer of California issued a routine Certificate of Appreciation to the organization representative in Sacramento, but she quickly revoked it when critics assailed her on the Web under headlines like “Senators for Terror.”That information managed to elude the NYT reporter, Neil MacFarquhar, as did all the information at Anti-CAIR, despite the fact that it's the SECOND Google hit for CAIR, right behind, um, CAIR.
There, he would have found quotes about CAIR suspicions from none other than Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin.
He also missed all the info on CAIR misbehavior at CAIR Watch, despite having referenced the site in the story.
MacFarquhar does, however, get a Jew-blaming paragraph in there:
Several federal officials said CAIR’s Washington office frequently issued controversial statements that made it hard for senior government figures to be associated with the group, particularly since some pro-Israeli lobbyists have created what one official called a “cottage industry” of attacking the group and anyone dealing with it.But this gem is buried far beneath that particular excuse:
Some Muslims, particularly the secular, find CAIR overly influenced by Saudi religious interpretations, criticizing it for stating in news releases, for example, that all Muslim women are required to veil their hair when the matter is openly debated.There are two sides to the story. Let the CAIR folks have their say, but give fair treatment to the charges levied at CAIR. MacFarquhar is kind enough to "summarize" critics' arguments:
Broadly summarized, critics accuse CAIR of pursuing an extreme Islamist political agenda and say at least five figures with ties to the group or its leadership have either been convicted or deported for links to terrorist groups. They include Mousa Abu Marzook, a Hamas leader deported in 1997 after the United States failed to produce any evidence directly linking him to any attacks.
There were no charges linked to CAIR in any of the cases involved, and law enforcement officials said that in the current climate, any hint of suspicious behavior would have resulted in a racketeering charge.
Big Lizards goes through the list of figures deported or convicted, and adds this:
Curious that the Times says that critics claim "at least five figures" connected with CAIR have been convicted or deported; but they only mention one, Mousa Abu Marzook... and him for the sole purpose of ridiculing the charge ("innocence by association," I suppose).
Even more curious is that nobody claims that Marzook is a member of CAIR -- just as nobody but the Times denies he is a major terrorist figure. The Times appears to have mixed him up with Ghassan Elashi -- who was convicted of laundering money to Marzook (see below). The elite media's multiple layers of editorial scrutiny strike again.
This isn't just lazy reporting or mistaken reporting. It's deliberately misleading. This thing reads like a CAIR press release.
CAIR and its supporters say its accusers are a small band of people who hate Muslims and deal in half-truths.Even-handed, that.