The Al Qaeda affiliate that terrorized a Kenyan shopping center and murdered scores of innocent people has a powerful and influential advocate in the United States, the Muslim “civil rights” group known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
It’s unlikely that the mainstream media will mention the connection, but it’s deep and it involves interfering in federal probes involving the radicalization of young Somali men in the U.S., like the ones carrying out the attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Northern Nairobi. CAIR has also wielded its power to silence critics of the Al Qaeda offshoot—Somalia’s Al Shabaab—that stormed into the mall, murdered at least 68 and took dozens of hostages.
Several of the jihadists involved in the attack are Somalis from Minnesota, according to a mainstream news report. They include 22-year-old Ahmed Mohamed Isse of St. Paul and 24-year-old Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid of Minneapolis. In the last few years the FBI and Congress have launched probes into the radicalization of the Somali American community in Minnesota. Al Shabaab recruits young men in local mosques and ships them off to train and fight in Somalia.
CAIR, an Islamic terrorist front group that reportedly raises money for Hamas, has interfered with the U.S. government’s investigation into this operation. A few years ago it actually hampered an FBI probe into the disappearance of dozens of Twin Cities Somali men. Many in the local Somali community denounced CAIR’s actions, saying that the group was actually discouraging them from cooperating with the FBI.
During congressional testimony, the uncle of one of the missing men—recruited and radicalized by Al Shabaab—blasted CAIR for instructing the Somali American community not to cooperate with law enforcement and standing blindly behind the mosque that radicalized his nephew. “CAIR held meetings for some members of the community and told them not to talk to the FBI, which was a slap in the face for the Somali American Muslim mothers who were knocking on doors day and night with pictures of their missing children and asking for the community to talk to law enforcement about what they know of the missing kids,” Abdirizak Bihi told the House Committee on Homeland Security.
CAIR has also tried to silence critics of Al Shabaab in parts of Minnesota that have been impacted by the Al Qaeda affiliate. A few years ago CAIR blasted two Minneapolis Muslim activists for participating in a seminar (“Al Shabaab: An Islamic Extremist Terrorism Organization”) about the Islamic terrorist group in Somalia. Among other things CAIR said the seminar failed to distinguish between Islam and terrorism and that it offered inaccurate and biased information about Muslims and Somalis.
During the Obama administration we’ve seen CAIR gain tremendous power and influence, which is incredibly alarming considering the group has extensive links to foreign and domestic Islamists. It was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2008 CAIR was a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. Read more in a Judicial Watch special report that focuses on Muslim charities.
Yet last year President Obama’s deputies held hundreds of closed-door meetings with CAIR officials. Little information was discussed publicly about the secret sessions, but the news organization that broke the story quoted a White House director saying that government departments and agencies discussed a “range of issues.”
Around the same time, the FBI purged its anti-terrorism training curricula of material determined to be “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered this scandal and obtained the FBI records just a few weeks ago. CAIR is not specifically named but the records show that an undisclosed group of “Subject Matter Experts” (SME) determined the federal training material was offensive to Muslims. Just last month, several police departments in Illinois cancelled their anti-terrorism training because CAIR complained that the instructor was blatantly anti-Muslim.