A statement published by Ahmad Rehab, the director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), provides useful insight into the position that CAIR takes in opposition to U.S. anti-terror efforts. For example, CAIR has repeatedly attempted to portray anti-terrorist efforts as an attack on Muslims and on Islam and in this passage, Rehab continues this tradition:
This was not only about demanding justice as an outcome, but more importantly, justice as a process. American Muslims increasingly worry that the word “terrorism,” even when uttered as an allegation, is sufficient to trump the “innocent until proven guilty” axiom that is a cornerstone of our justice system.
Rehab goes on to claim that the governments position on the fungibility of Hamas funding was “ludicrous” and labels the extensive evidence linking the defendants to Hamas “guilt by association”:
The case against the foundation was particularly worrisome because of its dubious legal arguments. While the government acknowledged that every penny the foundation raised went to peaceful charitable relief, it argued that by providing legitimate charity to needy Palestinians, the foundation was intentionally freeing up Hamas’ charitable funds for terrorist activity. The government’s evidence to substantiate this ludicrous argument ranged from mention of the word “Hamas” by the defendants to textbook guilt by association.
Next, Rehab calls the outcome of the Al-Arian and Salah cases a “fizzle” ignoring the conviction of both individuals on other charges, an outcome not uncommon in other complex prosecutions:
Time and again, we watched as the Bush administration announced a major “terrorism” case to much fanfare, only for the case to end with a fizzle. The administration’s most hyped-up terrorism cases — those of Sami Al-Arian in Florida and Muhammad Salah here in Chicago — both ended in full acquittals on all terrorism-related charges.
Finally, and perhaps most telling, Rehab questions the entire effort to prosecute Hamas-related cases in the U.S. since they “have nothing to do with Al Qaeda”:
Yet the question remains: Why does the Bush administration continue to prosecute such far-fetched cases? Why does it see threats where none exist?….Since Sept. 11, and in the name of the war on terror, the administration has invested our resources in pursuing parties that have nothing to do with Al Qaeda and the threat of another Sept. 11. If, God forbid, another attack were to occur, this administration will have to answer for years of barking up the wrong trees, here and abroad.
It is not surprising that CAIR and the other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations object to Hamas-related prosecutions since these same organizations have extensive ties to Palestinian terrorism and its infrastructure in the U.S. as documents released in the Holy Land case have illustrated. However, CAIR also has publicly defended numerous individuals and charities linked to Al Qaeda suggesting that portraying government anti-terror efforts in a bad light trumps the fight against Al Qaeda itself. In addition, there are also indirect links between CAIR and Al Qaeda that require further investigation but which may also show that the distinction between Al Qaeda and Hamas is murkier than sometimes believed.