US media is reporting that the offices of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) were evacuated yesterday due to a suspicious piece of mail continuing white powder. As the Washington Post report explains, the substance does not appear to have been dangerous:
December 10, 2015 The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most prominent organization that tracks discrimination against Muslims in the United States, was evacuated Thursday afternoon due to a suspicious piece of mail.
Preliminarily, the substance does not appear to be dangerous, authorities concluded nearly two hours after the evacuation began.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the organization, said that a poof of white powder wafted out of the envelope when a staff member opened it. He said that a letter with a hateful message was inside the envelope, and FBI officials planned to investigate the letter further.
A few people who came in contact with the powder were quarantined inside the building for first responders to check them out, and about 20 other employees who work at the organization’s headquarters on New Jersey Avenue SE went to wait outside, Hooper said.
‘We get threats every day,’ mostly online or by phone, Hooper said. ‘We don’t always get substances in the mail.’
He said the volume of threats has increased lately, starting with the Paris attacks and then further after the San Bernardino attack and then Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The GMBDW condemns without qualification both the act and the individual or individual(s) behind the above incident and as always, we fervently hope that any information we provide on organization such as CAIR be used responsibly and by the proper authorities and institutions. That said, we cannot help but also note that the apparent wave of extreme rhetoric directed indiscriminately at Muslims, as well as a groups such as CAIR,, is perhaps the biggest boon in memory to CAIR itself as it allows the organization to be portrayed as it is in the above report as an organization “that tracks discrimination against Muslims in the United States.”
Of course, as we describe in our short profile on CAIR, the organization 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.
Should anybody attempt to argue that anything has changed since its founding, it should be noted that CAIR is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders who was present during an infamous 1993 meeting held in Philadelphia by senior leaders of Hamas. Very little is known about the organization’s “behind the scene” activities but when such information does become available, it reveals that Mr. Awad shows up in very interesting places. For example, we reported in 2008 that Awad was an invited speaker for the sixth Palestinians in Europe Conference, annual event associated with Hamas and which that year featured the usual lineup of speakers tied to Hamas and/or the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In March of this year, we reported that Awad attended an international counterterrorism conference held in Mecca and sponsored by the Muslim World League (MWL), a Saudi organization long associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood and linked to supporting Islamic terrorist organizations globally and with a history of anti-Semitism.
The GMBDW judges that CAIR uses its civil-rights activities as a smokescreen to legitimize the true purpose of the organization which is to act in support of Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That said, and as we noted above, indiscriminate and irresponsible attacks on the organization, either verbal or physical, do nothing but strengthen CAIR by allowing the group to portray itself both as a victim and as a defender of Muslim civil rights. Therefore, we urge all parties to act responsibly and allow the proper authorities to take whatever measures are appropriate with regard to groups such as CAIR. Of course, we also urge that these same authorities pursue all legal means to investigate and prosecute those groups where appropriate.