Rep. Frank Wolfe, a Congressman from the 10th District of Virginia, has recently given a speech on the House floor concerning the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The introduction to the speech reads as follows:
MADAM SPEAKER, As ranking member on the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, which last week considered the FY 2010 appropriations bill, I have a keen interest in and oversight responsibility for a host of counterterrorism-related initiatives. The bill, which is expected to come before the full House next week, includes $7.7 billion to support the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), whose top priorities include protecting and defending the United States against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats. The FBI was intimately involved in a 15-year investigation which culminated last fall in the Holy Land Foundation and five of its former organizers being found guilty of illegally funneling more than $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas. A Department of Justice press release issued May 27, 2009, reported that “U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its leaders following their convictions by a federal jury in November 2008 on charges of providing material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.” The sentences ranged from 15 years to 65 years in prison. According to the Department of Justice, “From its inception, HLF existed to support Hamas….The government’s case included testimony that in the early 1990’s, Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas…The defendants sent HLF-raised funds to Hamas-controlled zakat committees and charitable societies in the West Bank and Gaza.” Among the unindicted co-conspirators in the case is an organization which over the last several years has been granted access to the highest levels of the U.S. government — an organization which is routinely elevated in the press as the voice of mainstream Muslim Americans. This organization is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.On January 30, 2009, FOX News reported that the FBI was “severing its once-close ties with the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, amid mounting evidence that it has links to a support network for Hamas.”Given that Hamas is on the current list of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations, this was obviously a serious claim and one which, if true, would rightly inform a shift in FBI policy. However, the FOX News piece left me with some unanswered questions — questions, which given the seriousness of the report, necessitated further inquiry. Such questions of the executive branch are common congressional practice and, in fact, are the responsibility of the legislative branch of government and the intended purpose of our system of check and balances.
A previous post discussed the accusation by CAIR that Rep. Wolfe was abusing his office by contacting the FBI seeking further information about CAIR.
A report recently issued by the Hudson Institute discusses the origins of CAIR and its founders/leaders in both the Palestine Committee of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and the U.S. Hamas support infrastructure. A letter from the FBI posted on the Investigative Project website indicates that that the recent decision by the Agency to sever formal relationships with CAIR was based on evidence that CAIR leaders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad were tied to the Palestine Committee. Both men were known to have attended a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia that was taped by the FBI and which was attended by many members of the Palestine Committee and IAP. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR has a long history of support for fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism.