In the ‘90s, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) successfully marketed itself as the largest advocacy group for Muslim-Americans, shrewdly linking its mission to that of the civil rights movement. “We are similar to a Muslim NAACP,” winked spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
But the group’s aims seemed less about civil rights and more about intimidating people into silence. Wherever there is a critic of radical Islam to be smeared or a frivolous lawsuit to be pursued (remember the Nike logo lunacy?), CAIR is there. The group even managed to simultaneously lecture American law enforcement on how to tiptoe around the Muslim community while lecturing the Muslim community on how to stonewall law enforcement. And probably most significantly, it positioned itself as the media’s go-to spokesmen for all issues Islamic, making their message the only one disseminated.
The survey released last week by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center explored “U.S. Muslims’ political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after September 11.” It asked, among other questions, “Which national Muslim American organization, if any, do you feel most represents your interests?” According to its surprising results, over half the men and over 40% of the women polled said they feel that no national Muslim group represents them. Only 12% of men and 11% of women surveyed said that the ubiquitous, high-profile CAIR speaks for them. Single digit percentages of the respondents, ranging from 0% to a mere 7%, said they felt that other prominent national Muslim interest groups, like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – all groups with their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood – represent them.
This survey is another nail in what is shaping up to be CAIR’s coffin. The Washington Times had already reported as far back as June 2007 that CAIR’s membership had plunged 90% since the terrorist attacks of September 11. 2001. “This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR represents the American Muslim population,” said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, at the time. “They only represent their membership and donors.” The new Gallup poll seems further confirmation of that.
Being named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a highly-publicized terrorism-funding court case didn’t help their carefully crafted image either. The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) was the country’s largest Islamic charity, shut down by authorities in 2001 for funding the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. That case ended with convictions for the HLF and five of its top officials. The judge later rejected CAIR’s request to be removed from the unindicted co-conspirator list, saying there was “ample evidence” connecting it to Hamas.
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