In the midst of battling claims that it is promoting radical Islamism, the Massachusetts branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has just appointed to its board a woman who works for The Muslims of America Inc. (MOA), a prominent organization with ties to Islamic extremists.
CAIR’s website describes its newest board member, Tahirah Amatul Wadud simply as the “general counsel for a New York Muslim congregation.” Wadud is, in fact, the lawyer at MOA, which is led by Sheikh Gilani.
A 1999 State Department report reveals that Gilani is the leader of Jamaat ul Fuqra, a Pakistani terrorist group described as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” According to FBI documents, Gilani’s followers in North America “are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from Sheikh Gilani.”
In 2014, a dozen American Muslim organizations called on the American government to designate Jamaat ul-Fuqra, which is “operating under various names like Muslims of the Americas,” as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the MOA website has published speeches of its founder, Sheikh Gilani, in which he describes homosexuals as the “agents of Satan” and Jews as “the founders of Satan worship and Masonic lodges… [who] are now trying to take over the entire globe…”
Wadud herself has promoted Sheikh Gilani’s extremist writings on social media. In November, she posted an article by Gilani on her Facebook page that claims ISIS is the product of the British security services, that “Hitler was not the enemy of America or the American people,” and that 9/11 was the “job of insiders.”
Wadud’s new colleagues at CAIR MA include Nadeem Mazen, a councilor in Cambridge, MA, who was once president of the MIT Muslim Students Association, under the guidance of Suheil Laher, the former head of the charity, Care International, which was believed to have collected funds for jihadist fighters in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Chechnya.
Mazen, a Director of CAIR’s Massachusetts branch, manages an organization named MassMuslims, which promotes the deeply homophobic preacher Omar Suleiman, who describes homosexuality as a “disease” and a “repugnant shameless sin.”
Though he is described by the Boston Globe as a moderate, and defended by his colleagues on the Cambridge City Council, Mazen is an opponent of the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism program and he has criticized moderate Muslim groups as “imperialist-style” initiatives to “foist secular attitudes on Muslims.”
CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officials of the Islamic Association of Palestine, which, the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial would later determine, was a front for the terror group Hamas. During that same trial, the prosecutors designated CAIR as an “unindicted coconspirator,” with U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis concluding that, “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR…with the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas.”
In 2015, CAIR’s Massachusetts branch was established. Much of its work over the past twelve months has involved lobbying of Massachusetts lawmakers and strident opposition to counter-extremism efforts.
CAIR has attempted to rejuvenate its reputation as a civil rights group that represents the interests of American Muslims. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, however, only around 12% of American Muslims said CAIR best represents their interests.
Nevertheless, politically correct politicians, deceived by CAIR’s claims of moderation, have welcomed the Islamist lobby group. On December 7, elected officials in Cambridge even passed a resolution denouncing media criticism of CAIR and its board members as “anti-Muslim libel.”
Both Mazen and Wadud have enjoyed mainstream political support. Mazen has appeared in several State Department films, and, in December, the White House invited Wadud to take part in an “initiative through The Office of Faith Based and Community Partnerships.”
Polls show that though CAIR claims to be a moderate voice that represents the interests of American Muslims, the organization appears to have little support from Muslim communities. Now that CAIR Massachusetts has appointed to its board a lawyer for an openly anti-Semitic, terror-linked organization – which a dozen moderate Muslim organizations have condemned – it will be harder to pass itself off as a “moderate” voice.