The communications director for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has appeared on Iranian TV where he said that “we are the first defenders of the constitution.” According to an Iranian Press TV report:
With rising Islamophobia in the US, Muslims and Islamic organizations have been worried that US citizens are supporting and buying propaganda of the media, internet hate sites, politicians and organizations that all Muslims are dangerous. Press TV interviewed Head of Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh from London, and National Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Mr. Abraham Hooper, and from Washington, Founder and Director of the Democracy Institute, Patrick Basham regarding increasing anti-Islamic sentiment in the US and Europe.
Press TV: I would like to welcome my guests to the program. Head of Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh from London, and National Director of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Mr. Abraham Hooper, and from Washington, Founder and Director of the Democracy Institute, Patrick Basham. Thank you all for being with me. I’d like to start off with you Mr. Hooper. Can you explain what has taken place and what is it about all this that is CAIR concerned with?
Hooper: Well, we are obviously concerned when law enforcement authorities around the country are being trained almost on a daily basis by people who have a hate filled anti-Muslim agenda. That’s been proven time and time again. You have a guy named Robert Spencer, the head of one of the most vicious anti-Muslim hate groups in the country, and a co-head of this group called Stop the Islamization of America, training FBI agents in Virginia. It’s absolutely unbelievable. You have people like Walid Shoebat, a born against Christian who was a former Muslim, who said Islam is of the devil and he’s training these people. We are seeing this more and more. So it’s inevitable that the law enforcement, policies and practices will eventually reflect this anti-Muslim hatred
Press TV: Mr. Hooper, how do you see it? Is it basically as our previous guest said basically cultural ignorance or is it more systemic? Where does this fear of Muslims basically come from in the United States?
Hooper: Well, what you have now is a very vocal anti-Muslim minority promoting hatred of Islam and marginalization of American Muslims. They have an agenda, they are well coordinated, they are well financed, and they are relentless in their promotion of hate filled views. You’ve seen the group Stop the Islamization of America, you’ve got ACT for America, you’ve got any number of other local groups and activists who are mutually supportive and promoting this hate filled agenda. It’s not the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans don’t hate Islam and Muslims. But you have a sizeable minority, and a very vocal minority pushing these kinds of bigoted views.
Hooper: Can I clarify one of my points he brought up?
Press TV: Go ahead.
Hooper: When I say a minority of Americans are promoting this hate filled view, I’m talking about twenty-five percent to 1/3 of Americans having an active hostility toward Islam and Muslims. Although it is a minority, you’re still talking about 1/3 or 1/4 of Americans and 1/3 of 300mn people is a lot of people. That is what our research and polling has consistently shown as a level of anti-Muslim hostility in our nation.
Press TV: Well, how dangerous is this trend Mr. Hooper? Are we witnessing a consistent deterioration as far as dealing with Muslims in the United States since 9/11?
Hooper: Within the last year, we have really seen something we hadn’t even seen after 9/11, the deterioration in the situation has really accelerated over the last year. A lot of factors went into that whether it was this fake controversy over the Islamic Cultural Center in lower Manhattan, the right-wing politicians using Islam as a tool to get political support or the bad economy and people seeking scapegoats. It was a kind of perfect storm of these things. We have really seen a downward-spiral in interfaith relations, which is very troubling because we are not seeing light at the end of the tunnel. If it’s bad now, I can only see it getting worse as we go along here unless people in the mainstream really step up. People of all faiths in the mainstream should step up to marginalize the extremists who are promoting this kind of societal division.
Press TV: Let me get Mr. Hooper back in on this. Now CAIR has pointed out in a report that the writer has stated that there is what he termed the “great Islamophobic crusade” that is taking up lace with those who are upset about the alleged threat of Islamic influence in the US. Can you comment on that and explain it please?
Hooper: Yes, what this is, is what we also call the Islamophobia machine. It’s this mutually supportive growing group of commentators, organizations, media outlets, internet hate sites that all actively promote the false notion that American Muslims somehow want to overthrow the constitution and take over the country. It would be laughable in other circumstances that you would say a tiny little minority in a nation of 300 and some million is somehow going to overthrow the country, but it’s a symptom of the times we live in that people are actually entertaining this bizarre notion. So they are promoting this relentlessly. So much so just yesterday we saw an attack on a Muslim woman in Ohio outside a mosque. We see hate filled opposition to mosques around the country; arson, vandalism to mosques. It’s really reaching a troubling level, and as the other guest said we need courageous leaders to speak out against it. And we are just not seeing that.
Press TV: We are almost out of time. In a minute could you just tell me something because a lot of Americans feel that the majority of American Muslims want to implement Islamic Sharia in that country? What would you say to such concerns as those?
Hooper: Sharia has become one of these hot button issues that is a litmus test now for American Muslims. When American Muslims pray, they follow Sharia, when they fast, they follow Sharia, and when they interact with their family and go to school. I mean nobody is asking for the constitution to go away. In fact the constitution is our last line of defense against these anti-Muslim bigots. So we are the first defenders of the constitution.
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 US. 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 US. government, frequently calling such prosecutions a “war on Islam.