Local media is reporting that the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in coalition with other groups, has petitioned the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to review how it investigates allegations of anti-Semitism at three college campuses. According to an Orange County News report:
May 14 2013 In Washington D.C. today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a probe of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), following reports that the IRS was unfairly targeting conservative non-profit groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement. Closer to home, the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), joined by a coalition of other civil rights groups, has petitioned the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), asking that the agency review how it investigates allegations of anti-Semitism at three college campuses: UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine. Since 2008, the DOE has investigated the trio of schools for creating a ‘hostile climate’ for Jewish students by allowing discussions to take place on campus that are critical of U.S. support for Israel. According to CAIR, these probes have falsely linked criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and have unfairly targeted Muslim and other students who have done nothing more than exercise their constitutionally-protected rights to freedom of speech.
‘While the DOE should thoroughly look into civil rights complaints, these allegations cross the line between protecting civil rights and targeting certain political views,’ says CAIR-LA’s lead staff attorney Ameena Qazim, who was featured on the cover of the Weekly’s inaugural People issue earlier this year. ‘By not closing out these investigations, the DOE is undermining the university’s responsibility to provide a safe space and equal opportunity for all students to engage in campus activism without fear of harassment or discrimination.’
Read the rest here.
The report identifies the following groups as part of the CAIR coalition:
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
- American Muslims for Palestine
- Arab American Institute
- Asian Law Caucus Center for Constitutional Rights
- California Jewish Voice for Peace
- National Lawyers Guild
Notable is the presence of the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to both the US Muslim Brotherhood and to the Hamas support infrastructure in the US, not surprising given the history of CAIR itself.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the U.S. Hamas infrastructure at that time. Documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood and that CAIR itself is part of the US. Muslim Brotherhood. In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR. 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.” CAIR and its leaders have had a long history of defending individuals accused of terrorism by the US. government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam”, and have also been associated with Islamic fundamentalism and antisemitism. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders.