The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with other national Muslim organizations, today held a news conference in Washington, D.C., to express concerns over a perceived double standard on the use of the label “terrorism” as it relates to acts of political violence committed by people who are not Muslims. CAIR’s news conference was prompted by coverage of last week’s politically-motivated airborne suicide attack on an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office in Austin, Texas, which the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group called an act of “terror.” In a statement read at today’s Capitol Hill event, CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili said: “American law defines ‘terrorism’ as ‘premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets’ or as ‘the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.’ “When an act that fits these definitions is carried out by a Muslim individual or group, there is and should be no hesitation in labeling that act ‘terrorism.’ “Regrettably, when an act fitting the legal definitions of terrorism is carried out by someone who is not Muslim, there seems to be a general reluctance on the part of commentators, public officials and law enforcement agencies to use the term. “Last week’s attack on the IRS office in Texas perfectly fits either legal definition of terrorism, yet it has not been labeled as such. This apparent double standard only serves to render the term ‘terrorism’ meaningless and imbues it with a sense of religious and ethnic bias that is both counterproductive and offensive. “As Glenn Greenwald wrote on Salon.com, ‘The term now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.’ “Failure to label the IRS attack in Texas an act of terrorism has had real consequences. Supporters of the Austin terrorist on Facebook and Twitter now claim he is a ‘true American hero.’ This support would likely not have materialized if the attacker’s Internet fans believed they were supporting terrorism. American Muslims have consistently and repeatedly condemned acts of terrorism and repudiated all those who seek to justify the killing of civilians in order to achieve political or religious goals. It is time for others to do the same. “If we are, as a nation, to achieve the safety and security we all seek, the terms used to describe the acts of those who would attack the innocent in order to achieve political or religious goals must be free of bias and applicable to all perpetrators, regardless of race or faith.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the U.S. Brotherhood. A recent post discussed an interview with the Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in which he confirms a relationship between his organization and CAIR. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and CAIR and its leaders have a long history of defending almost all individuals accused of terrorism by the U.S. government, frequently calling such prosecutions a “war on Islam.”
The CAIR release notes that other Muslim groups taking part in the news conference included MAS Freedom and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Council for Social Justice, both organizations being part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.