So far in 2011, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has posted 30 video clips from 24-hour news networks to its official YouTube channel. Six were from CNN and two were from Fox News Channel. The remainder must be from MSNBC, right?
Wrong. The other 22 clips were from PressTV, the state-owned 24/7 English-language propaganda network of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Possibly because of their proven ties to Hamas and unindicted co-conspirator status in the Holy Land Foundation trial, CAIR talking heads are no longer regularly featured on the “big three” 24-hour cable news networks in America. Hence twenty-two of the high-value messaging videos featuring prominent national staff that CAIR chose to put on its YouTube channel were produced in Iran, while only 8 were produced in the U.S.
PressTV is now the self-appointed propaganda arm for CAIR, a job that no one else will do. For example, “Video: Anti-Muslim Hate Promoted by Vocal Minority (CAIR),” and a recent hit piece on Pamela Geller’s new book: “Video: Leading Islamophobe Publishes New Anti-Islam Book (CAIR).”
The genius of PressTV is its generic name, slick production values and the American-accented English of its hosts, which leads the casual viewer to believe they are just another American cable outlet. In fact PressTV is produced and broadcast from Tehran, with bureaus in London, Washington, Seoul, and Iranian vassal states Syria and Lebanon.
PressTV hosts/presenters include former British MP George Galloway, a close friend of Saddam Hussein in the 1990s and supporter and funder of the Hamas regime in Gaza; and Tariq Ramadan, European-Muslim “intellectual,” and grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna who was denied a U.S. visa for alleged ties to Hamas. You may remember PressTV’s recent report on American Muslim “mourners [honoring] the life and legacy of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ayatollah Khomeini.
PressTV may be one of the two friendly outlets still open to CAIR leaders. Last Friday the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported that CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad had appeared via telephone on the Hamas-linked Palestinian network Al-Quds TV on July 23, alongside the head of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood group, the Islamic Action Front.
This lack of support in the American media reflects a lack of support by American Muslims for CAIR as shown in a recent Gallup poll “examining U.S. Muslims’ political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after September 11,” which found that only 12% of Muslim-American men and 11% of Muslim-American women felt that CAIR, the nation’s highest-profile Muslim group, represented their interests.
And when the American networks come to CAIR with questions based on CAIR’s past associations with terrorists, CAIR’s leadership shies away. For example, this June when Fox News reported on a controversial February 5, 2002 luncheon that included top Pentagon lawyers, Jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, Mr. Awad was apparently not available for comment:
Fox News sent questions to Awad through a spokesman at CAIR, including whether he had provided positive recommendations for Awlaki to either the FBI or the Defense Department immediately after 9/11.
Fox News also asked whether Awad attended a fundraiser at UC Irvine on Sept. 9, 2001, for the defense of Jamil al-Amin who was later conficted of killing a sheriff’s deputy in Atlanta Georgia. Documents show Awad provided a video message for the fundraising event and al-Awlaki went to the fundraiser. On Sept. 10 of that year, al-Awlaki, who has documented ties to three of the five Sept. 11 hijackers, flew back to Washington, landing on the morning of Sept. 11.
Fox News contacted CAIR multiple times over a 10 day period and there was no response after the initial contact when a spokesman asked for questions to be submitted.
CAIR is under siege from many directions these days. This June the IRS revoked CAIR’s former non-profit tax-exempt status. Perhaps a full disclosure of CAIR’s financial records would expose funding from Iran and other foreign sources. But the American public may never know, because CAIR failed to file the required non-profit Form 990 tax returns for three consecutive years.
While CAIR shrinks from American media outlets, patriotic Muslim Americans are filling the gap. Former U.S. Navy medical officer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks “as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state.” Dr. Jasser proudly displays 30 videos from his 2011 appearances on cable news shows on his website – and all of them are from networks based in the United States.
Dr. Jasser is one of the founders of a new coalition of like-minded Muslim groups called the American Islamic Leadership Coalition. Their motto: “As American Muslim leaders, we come together to defend the US Constitution, uphold religious pluralism, protect American security and cherish genuine diversity in the practice of our faith of Islam.”
Meanwhile, CAIR is in a state of siege: running away from the IRS, running away from the American media, running away from the American public, and even running away from American Muslims.