CAIR's Identity Crisis: Defending Civil Rights or the Palestinian (Hamas) Struggle?

CAIR's Identity Crisis: Defending Civil Rights or the Palestinian (Hamas) Struggle?

During the 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood created a support network in the United States to help Hamas politically and financially. It was called the Palestine Committee. According to documents seized by the FBI by some of the committee’s members, that committee included some prominent Muslim American political activists, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – perhaps the most influential Muslim American political group.

As the war between Israel and Hamas raged in Gaza during the past month, legacy members of the Palestine Committee – the Hamas support network – found themselves back in the fight for public hearts and minds, as this Investigative Project on Terrorism special report shows.

“The object of the conspiracy was to support Hamas.” This comes from a prosecution response to CAIR’s brief trying to be removed from a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.Click on the following links to see the documents shown in the video tying CAIR to the Palestine Committee:

  • 1994 Palestine Committee meeting agenda featuring CAIR as a Palestine Committee entity.

  • Internal Memo, “Islamic Action for Palestine,” about helping Hamas politically and financially. It was seized by the FBI among a trove of Palestine Committee records.

  • Transcripts from a 1993 Palestine Committee in Philadelphia secretly recorded by the FBI:

1. “We checked with the brothers and they said, ‘Let’s be the ones to say that we are a political entity…”

2. War is deception.

  • Palestine Committee phone list including Nihad Awad and Basman Elashi.

  • 2009 FBI letter explaining why it no longer engages in outreach communication with CAIR.

  • 2006 DOJ press release announcing Basman Elashi’s conviction for illegal business transactions with a terrorist.

  • Rasmieh Odeh indictment for naturalization fraud.


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