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Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar Defends Donation to Radical ‘Islamist’ Group CAIR

Ammar Campa-Najjar (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
Gregory Bull / Associated Press

Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar spent the early hours of Thursday morning defending his campaign’s 2017 donation to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the contributions he has received from CAIR officials.

Campa-Najjar is running in California’s 50th congressional district to unseat incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA).

Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Campa-Najjar’s campaign made a “civic donation” of $650.00 to CAIR in 2017, and that he had received nearly $9,000 from CAIR officials.

As the article noted:

In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization . The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).

CAIR also helped the family of the San Bernardino terrorists after the 2015 attack in which they killed 14 people and wounded 22 — an attack CAIR partially blamed on U.S. foreign policy.

Campa-Najjar took to Twitter to respond to Breitbart News’ reporting, and the following exchange ensued:

Breitbart News had reached out to Campa-Najjar’s campaign Tuesday to ask about his appearance on the “top ten” list of political candidates who had received contributions from “Islamist” sources, as compiled by the Middle East Forum’s “Islamist Money in Politics” (IMIP) project. (Campa-Najjar himself is a Christian, of mixed Palestinian and Mexican-American origin.)

The campaign responded belatedly to that request late Wednesday night by suggesting that Breitbart News contact “a Vietnam Veteran and resident in CA-50” named Pete Beauregard. (The campaign neglected to mention that Beauregard was also a Democratic candidate for the same congressional seat, before “joining forces” with Campa-Najjar before the primary vote.)

A campaign spokesperson provided a quote from Beauregard: “As a Vietnam Veteran and Ramona resident, I find Duncan Hunter’s insinuations about his opponent not only dishonorable, but personally offensive to me and my family. The reason is because I donated 10 thousand to the same non-profit Hunter is referring to. So my question to my congressman and fellow veteran is ‘Do you believe I am a terrorist?'”

Reached by Breitbart News, Beauregard defended CAIR: “They do a lot of community activism and a lot of focus on peace activities in the community … there are people to fear, but there’s also an awful lot of people that are extremely good.”

Asked about CAIR’s past comments on terror, Beauregard said: “We all make certain comments, and people like to take them and run with them … Personally, I haven’t seen anybody prove to me that they are connected with any terror organizations.”

He said that Rep Duncan Hunter was “coming up from the gutter” and being “very, very negative” about Campa-Najjar.

Hunter was recently indicted on federal charges of misusing campaign funds, though he protests his innocence. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) also recently questioned Hunter for not identifying the occupations of 16 campaign donors.

Update: In one of his indirect replies, Campa-Najjar noted that he could not, as a Christian, support radical Islamic terrorism:

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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