Friday, Feb. 24, 2012(RNS) The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim civil rights group that has frequently drawn fire from conservatives, has regained its tax-exempt status. The Washington, D.C.-based CAIR and its related foundation were two of about 275,000 nonprofits that lost tax exempt status last year for not filing tax returns for three years in a row. Last month, the Internal Revenue Service sent a letter to the CAIR-Foundation Inc., saying the nonprofit had regained its tax-exempt status. ‘We are obviously pleased that all the paperwork issues have been resolved and our tax-exempt status has been restored,’ said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR. Hooper did not know the details of what paperwork, including tax returns, had been filed. The nonprofit has opposed anti-Shariah law bills across the country, fights discrimination against Muslims and aims to promote a positive image of Muslim-Americans and Islam. Critics have used CAIR’s lost tax exemption to criticize the group. Those critics also claim CAIR has terrorist ties because it and other Muslim groups were named as unindicted co-conspirators in a 2007 trial of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation in Texas. Holy Land Foundation officials were convicted in 2009 of diverting funds to Hamas. The ruling comes in time for CAIR to raise funds during Ramadan, a significant time for Muslim charitable giving, known as zakat. On Thursday the nonprofit sent out an email from its board chairman, Omar Zaki, announcing a fundraising goal of $670,000 for Ramadan in 2012. ‘I urge you to consider CAIR as a recipient for your donation and your zakat this Ramadan,’ Zaki said in the email. ‘In the past, we have sought and received your support. And that support bore fruit.'”
A post in February 2008 reported that CAIR was describing its tax status as 501(c)(3) rather than 501(c)(4). In September 2007, a post reported that CAIR membership had declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks although the organization claimed that the figures reported did not reflect the totality of their financial situation.
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.” In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.”