Politicians often bring guests to the President’s State of the Union address, sometimes to make a partisan point. This year that privilege is being stretched beyond the bounds of decency: At least two members of a radical Islamic group will be attending as guests of Members of Congress, supposedly to represent American Muslims. That is a disgrace.
Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) are bringing leaders from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR says it is an “advocate for justice and mutual understanding.” Yet after the San Bernardino terror attacks last month, CAIR was the chief public advocate for the terrorists’ family, even arguing in court that they should retain custody of the terrorists’ child.
The impetus for this travesty was a call by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, and Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) for their colleagues to bring a Muslim to the State of the Union. They said this is needed to counter the “shocking and alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against one particular minority population in our nation.”
But Muslims are not the primary victim of hate crimes in the U.S. The vast majority of victims of hate crimes, according to the FBI, are Jews.
What is actually more shocking and alarming than alleged rhetoric against Muslims is the rise in hateful killings by one minority population.
The recent slaughter in San Bernardino, the attempted assassination of a police officer in Philadelphia, and the slayings of our troops in Chattanooga and Fort Hood all had one thing in common: The killers were Muslim – or, more specifically, jihadists – a significant subset of Muslims who believe Islam must dominate the world.
The violent version of jihad is easier to understand, but the insidious nature of “civilization jihad” makes it even more dangerous in the long term. It aims to use the very institutions of free society to destroy it. This goal and strategy was stated outright in the Explanatory Memorandum of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was seized in 2004 during a police raid in Virginia:
The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.
CAIR is considered part of a network of front groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. It was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing trial in US history, which shut down the Holy Land Foundation due to its funding of Hamas.
CAIR is out front in the effort to downplay the role of Islam in Islamic terror. For example, CAIR reacted to the recent shooting of a police officer with this statement from CAIR-Philadelphia’s executive director, Jacob Bender: ”At this time, it does not appear that he was an observant or mosque-going Muslim.”
He was describing a man who was wearing Islamic garb and who told police he was acting in the name of Islam.
After the San Bernardino jihadist attacks, Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, told CNN that the United States bore responsibility for the killings: “Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism.”
CAIR does more than justify terrorism and obfuscate the motivations of the jihadists. It pushes the boundaries of “tolerance.” Last year, it promoted the story of Ahmed the clock-hoaxer as an incident of anti-Muslim bias, rather than what it arguably was: namely, an incident of political warfare striking back at the mayor of Irving, Texas, who came into CAIR’s crosshairs when she fought back against an attempt to open an Islamic Law tribunal in Irving.
The success of CAIR in presenting itself as an organization of “moderate” Muslims is especially dangerous as it marginalizes groups actually trying to reform Islam. The Muslim Reform Movement, headed by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, is one such group that actually deserves to be heard. It calls for an awakening within Islam to make it compatible with free western society. We must ensure that extremists like CAIR don’t drown such voices out.
Jim Hanson is the Executive VP of the Center for Security Policy and previously served in US Army Special Forces.