“We Already Denounced Muslim Terrorism!” CAIR and the Problem with Islam

The term demopathy first arose in the context of the stark contrast between CAIR’s ability to mobilize hundreds of people to protest “True Lies,” for depicting Arabs as unsympathetic terrorists. And yet, only shortly thereafter, Arab terrorists blew up a Jewish Community in Buenos Ares, I don’t remember an apology and certainly not a demonstration. Then I first understood the hypocrisy of the loud demand that we honkeys in the West observe most stringently not only our principles of civil rights, but also our consideration for the feelings of “others,” by people who had no dedication to the principles they invoked to the disadvantage of others. It’s clearly whose ox is geing gored. If it’s yours, says CAIR — if you have to restrain yourself for my sake — then that’s just fine. If it’s mine — I need to restrain myself for your sake — forget it. As I noticed this pattern everywhere, I asked friends and colleagues for a word to describe the phenomenon, and finally Brenda Brasher came up with “demopath.”

The following editorial by Joel Mowbray shows that, if anything, CAIR’s gotten worse. Back in 1982, it was still possible to deny that Muslims didn’t blow up the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Ares. Today? Only the all too numerous conspiracy theorists who flourish among Muslims, including in the West, can have Muslims denying that Muslims are involved in these acts of terrorism. Few things so starkly illustrate the problem with Islam today.

CAIR’s duplicitous ways

July 12, 2007

By Joel Mowbray – While the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been busy attacking syndicated columnist Cal Thomas recently for supposedly “Islamophobic” comments, the media-hungry group did not condemn the foiled terrorist plots in London or the successful one in Glasgow, Scotland.

Though CAIR’s Web site has a video clip of the Chicago chapter director lamenting the events in Britain and the group helped coordinate a St. Louis press conference of Muslim doctors who spoke out against the terrorists, CAIR itself did not condemn the actions of the Islamic terrorists in Britain.

Given that CAIR played a role in promoting its Chicago director and the Muslim doctors, some might wish to give the benefit of the doubt. The organization’s history, however, shows that this artful dodge is simply part of its modus operandi.

CAIR has mastered the art of appearing to oppose terrorism, while at the same time leading the charge against those who seek to thwart it.

A case in point is its curiously neglecting to condemn Britain’s Islamic terrorists, while during the same week blasting as “Islamophobic” Mr. Thomas’ remarks on local radio station WTOP expressing concern about fundamentalists from the “Middle East and South Asia” who are integrating into the broader Muslim society.

In a story for WTOPnews.com, WTOP quoted CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper claiming, “We condemn extremism. We’ve condemned terrorism… We’ve issued dozens of condemnations on dozens of terrorism attacks.”

CAIR has, in fact, condemned what it considers to be extremism and terrorism — when targeted at Muslims. If a Muslim is the victim of a possible hate crime or has been subjected to a religious slur, CAIR is there. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. And the group is well within its rights when it routinely rails against the United States and Israel.

What CAIR does not do, though, is denounce Islamic fundamentalists who promote a paranoid worldview in which America and Israel are the enemies of Islam, achieved by manufacturing mythical massacres that whip their followers into a lather.

During Israel’s war last summer with Hezbollah terrorists, CAIR was firmly on the side of the fundamentalist Islamic propagandists. The organization issued at least eight condemnations of America and the Jewish state — but not one against Hezbollah.

Never in its history has CAIR specifically condemned Hamas or Hezbollah by name.

To its credit, the group did denounce the Netanya Passover Massacre in 2002, though it avoided criticizing Hamas, which perpetrated the attack. Bizarrely, CAIR couldn’t bring itself to acknowledge that the innocent victims were murdered in Israel — perhaps because CAIR hews to the Hamas party line refusing to recognize the Jewish state — noting instead that the bombing happened in “the Middle East.”

In December, CAIR Executive Director and co-founder Nihad Awad refused in an interview with Newsweek to condemn Hamas, claiming that the question was “the game of the pro-Israel lobby.” Of course, Mr. Awad knows that whether or not one backs Hamas is not a “game,” as he willingly declared at a speech in 1994: “I’m in support of the Hamas movement.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Rather than seize opportunities for unambiguous denunciations of Islamic terrorism, CAIR shrewdly offers up what it labels condemnations, but in fact are not.

Emblematic of CAIR’s elaborate deception is the much-hyped fatwa against terrorism and extremism. Both terms are left intentionally undefined. Fundamentalist Muslims who wish harm upon the United States and Israel do not consider themselves “extreme.” Nor do Hezbollah and Hamas believe that they are terrorists.

For that matter, neither apparently does CAIR. Chairman Parvez Ahmed this spring authored a lengthy policy paper-posted on CAIR’s Web site — in which he implicitly argued that Hamas and Hezbollah were not “terrorist” entities: “Unlike al-Qaeda they do not embrace such violence as a matter of policy. These groups have not targeted people who are outside the land they view as occupied territories.”

Since both terrorist groups have repeatedly murdered innocent civilians inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, the only possible justification Mr. Ahmed could have for not taking issue with Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s propaganda is that he, too, considers all of the Jewish state to be “occupied territory.”

Refusing to recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist is in keeping with the group’s roots. Founded in 1994, CAIR was spun off from the Islamic Association of Palestine. Whereas IAP was widely seen as a Hamas front, CAIR was designed to be a kinder and gentler “civil rights” organization. It was a smart move. A federal civil-court judge in 2005 found CAIR’s founding organization liable for providing material support to Hamas on the basis of “strong evidence that IAP was supporting Hamas.”

Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper did not return a call seeking comment, but CAIR undoubtedly would point to the video clip on its Web site in which its Chicago director, a Mr. Rehab, in a local TV interview, said, “Islam wholeheartedly condemns this type of behavior.”

While admirable, it is not the same as the group actually condemning Britain’s Islamic terrorists. Considering that CAIR put out roughly 20 press releases in the week following the terror incidents, including several “condemnations” of non-terrorists, it is hard to give the group of the benefit of the doubt.

CAIR’s history makes it simply impossible.

Joel Mowbray occasionally writes for The Washington Times.

Mowbray has held CAIR’s feet to the fire. And so should we all. CAIR embodies the problems that face us, and our inability to call their bluffs, our eagerness to give this “human rights voice” a welcome place in the discussion, speaks volumes for our inability to understand what it means to defend ourselves.

Addendum: Ibrahim Cooper’s lament. Shortly after preparing this post, I received this from a liberal group eager to have a dialogue with Muslims. I put in bold/italics every actual unequivocal condemnation of Muslim terrorism against others (as opposed to claims of having already done that); and in bold, every complaint about unfair treatment of Muslims.

Another view: We repudiate terrorism
American Muslims aren’t silent about the taking of innocent lives.

By Ibrahim Hooper

In the wake of the recent terror plot in Britain, American Muslims are once again being asked why we are “silent” on the issue of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.

It is a valid question, but one that frustrates those of us who repeatedly and consistently condemn terrorism in all its forms.

I recall the tragic day of Sept. 11, 2001, when a coalition of leading Muslim groups issued what was perhaps the first statement by any organization condemning the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Since 9/11, I have personally written dozens of statements condemning terrorism in all its forms, whether suicide bombings in the Middle East, terror attacks in London and Madrid, the killing of Christian missionaries in Yemen, or a shooting at a Jewish center in Seattle.

In the past six years, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has coordinated the release of a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) repudiating terrorism and religious extremism, initiated an online petition drive called “Not in the Name of Islam,” and distributed a related TV public service announcement that has been seen by some 10 million viewers nationwide.

This repeated repudiation of terrorism is not prompted by outside pressure, but by the basic Islamic principle that no one has the right to take innocent life.

CAIR officials and representatives of other major American Muslim groups regularly reinforce Islam’s rejection of attacks on civilians when they speak to community and interfaith organizations, media outlets and law enforcement officials.

American Muslims are also working with local, state and national law enforcement agencies to help make our nation more secure.

Yet despite striving daily to remind our fellow Americans that we do repudiate the terrorists who falsely claim to represent Islam, we are still grilled about the Muslim community’s “silence” on the issue.

The deadly phenomenon of terrorism will not be eliminated by condemnations alone. A real end to terror will come only when the mainstream followers of all faiths and citizens of all nations work together to marginalize extremists and to build a future based on freedom and justice.

American Muslims stand ready to help build that better future for all our children.

Ibrahim Hooper is national communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties group.

So let me get this straight. He’s saying, “We’ve already been there, done that, so leave us alone already and let’s make sure everyone marginalizes the extremists. Don’t start singling us out for special demands.”

Not a word of actual condemnation, not a whisper of a demonstration against this, not the slightest bit of self-criticism (or even pain) that this kind of stuff is done in the name of Allah. Note the comments at from USA Today readers, which express a great deal of skepticism. Maybe we are waking up. Maybe Hooper has at last begun to overplay his hand.

Personally, I find the tone of this piece more convincingly demotic rather than demopathic.

For too long there has been denial on both sides. Many mainstream Muslims have condemned the violence, but not in voices loud enough to match the carnage. Some have muted their opinions because they object to U.S. Mideast policies that favor Israel. Others, unwilling to believe such barbarity could be inflicted in the name of their faith, harbor bizarre conspiracy theories that deflect blame: Jews, not fanatical Muslims, conducted the 9/11 attacks; the French were responsible for London’s subway bombings in July 2005 because they had just lost the 2012 Olympic Games to London; and so on.

Too many Westerners, meanwhile, explain away attacks by pointing to foreign policy, or to the oppression and marginalization of many of the world’s Muslims. But the world is full of desperately poor people who don’t blow themselves up in attempts to kill as many innocent men, women and children as they can. Many of the suicide bombers have been well-educated, middle-class fanatics driven by the conviction that they must impose the most rigid form of their religion on the world, starting in Muslim lands.

Unfortunately, it seems to be the words of the editors of USA Today, rather than Muslims themselves. The editorial does point to groups that are at last demonstrating — long overdue and still not on CAIR’s agenda as far as I know — but the editorial is still the voice of infidel civil society. At least it’s not dupe to demopathy, but Cooper’s response to this specific editorial (above), essentially chooses to ignore the challenge to Muslims, and say, “been there, done that, why are you nagging me.”

When will the Ibrahim Hooper’s get pushed aside by Muslims who really are tolerant of others and indignant at the violent hatreds expressed by Muslims — in other words, not dishonestly “tolerant,” nor even “tolerant” from indifference and secular distraction, but authentic Muslims who are passionate Muslims and genuinely concerned with the rights of non-Muslims — passionately tolerant Muslims?

That’ll be the day this disaster begins to turn around. Islam needs a civic prophet to bring out the profound elements of fairness, the respect for human life and conscience, and the egalitarianism that lie deep within Islam. Because if Muhammad was the “last prophet,” and the only acceptable formulation of the demotic message Allah entrusted to him, is the belligerent zero-sum formulation that, as he grew older and more powerful, became his dominant mode, then God help us all.

12 Responses to “We Already Denounced Muslim Terrorism!” CAIR and the Problem with Islam

  1. Bruce Kodish says:

    Demopaths = Lying, ‘fork’-tongued bullies

    I believe that there are many good people among Muslims. But do you really believe, Richard, that profound elements of fairness, respect for human life and conscience, and egalitarianism exist at the fore of the main doctrine of Islam?

    I am coming to the conclusion that when the profound elements of ethical conduct come to the fore and when the elements of Islamic doctrine that make it unique, i.e, Jihad, Muhammad the ‘last’ prophet (a profoundly , etc., are stripped away—we don’t have Islam anymore.

    It will be up to Muslims to change Islam and I wonder that the basic template of that religion is just too brittle. Muhammad’s prophecy and stature as an exemplar for human behavior will have to be questioned.
    And I don’t think Islam can remain viable under such questioning.

  2. Bruce Kodish says:

    I meant to add this to the next to last paragraph:
    …Muhammad the ‘last’ prophet (a profoundly chutzpa-filled claim)…

  3. shimshon says:

    I would be careful that you don’t paint with too wide a brush. Religion is based on interpretation of text, not the text themselves. Islam has several unique factors outside of jihad and Muhammad as the last prophet. For example, Judaism is based on a religion for a specific people, and Christianity ignores aspects of human nature such as sex and violence. Islam is a universalist religion that addresses these issues. Not that I am looking to convert. There are some truly immoral aspects about Islamic theology, and the way it is understood by modern Muslim scholars today. But if we reduce religion down to its scriptures we will see that in Deuteronomy, the God of the Israelites declared, “I have given into your hands Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it and fight him in battle.” When Moses reports back he states, “We took all of his cities and utterly destroyed the men, the women, and the little ones.” This is not to say that modern Judaism preaches this type of action today. It doesn’t. But it does show that even Christianity and Judaism can be twisted in any direction. It is a matter of interpretation. Daniel Pipes makes this point over and over again in reguard to Islam vs Islamist. Muhammad as an exemplar of human conduct cannot be accepted… of course, but neither can the actions of Moses and Aaron. These are pre-modern morals that cannot be applied today. But Islam is in the same boat as other religions whose scriptures reflect pre-modern norms. It is a matter of theology and interpretation. Judaism has delt with these issues. Islam hasnt. That doesnt mean that it cannot or that it wont.

  4. Hi Richard,
    The real problem is that we have a president who continues to enable CAIR and other aspects of the Wahabist radicalization of American Muslims.

    You might like this:J O S H U A P U N D I T: Guess where your president was Wednesday morning…insh’allah

    By the way, I hope you don’t mind,but consider yourself officially Tagged….

    No big deal, just a harmless game that’s going through the blogosphere you might find amusing.Certainly I would find your responses interesting…

    All best,
    FF

  5. fp says:

    i am with bruce on this one.

    the problem is that arab culture coupled with islam has held the arab/muslim world back to centuries much earlier than the 21st, all the way back to the 7th. That has caused an obvious inferiority complex, but because islam is held to be the perfect basis for a society, instead of drawing the correct conclusions, muslims fall back on “pure” islam (islamism) which sees jihad as a solution to what is a self-inflicted primitivism.

    to progress society a lot of islamic core must be dumped. this is precisely what islamists try to prevent, and why the so-called “moderate” muslims do and will not go against them.

  6. Eliyahu says:

    Did anyone notice that Hooper condemned –according to him– “a shooting at a Jewish center in Seattle”?? That is, he condemned shooting Jews in the United States, but did not condemn mass murders of Jews in Israel or Istanbul or Buenos Aires, for that matter. When Hooper or CAIR condemn terrorist attacks against Jews in Jerusalem — or Hebron nukh besser– then we can take him more seriously. When he protests the stoning of Jews praying at the Western Wall by Arabs up above on the Temple Mount or the stabbing of Jews outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, why, then the Millenium will have arrived.

  7. Eliyahu says:

    fp, I agree that Islam holds the Arabs/Muslims back. Not only that, but I believe that the Arab-Muslim conquest of the Middle East [what Rome called Oriens, the Orient; I'm not even considering India and points farther east] in the 7th century was a disaster from which the East has never recovered. Before the Arab-Muslim conquest, Oriens was a center of civilization. The same goes for Anatolia, Persia and Egypt [which I believe were outside of the Roman Oriens]. The conquest was very destructive of civilization, culture, etc. in the East. The conquest was destructive and brutal, despite the commonplace efforts by Western historians, like Brockelmann, to embellish and soften the picture of the conquest. [see http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/06/arab-conquest-massacre-enslavement.html
    ].

    Of course, not everything was ruined all at once. But the Middle East has never recovered, not even where huge sums of unearned oil profits have allowed the construction of kitsch, as in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.

    I point out [at the above link] that Brockelmann and others cover up for the Arabs by sweetening their depiction of the conquest. This was happening long before edward Said started complaining that the Arabs & Islam were being unfairly maligned by Western writers in the service of imperialism. I would say that this is another of Said’s lies. In fact, western writers close to imperialism and big corporations were working to prettify the image of Arabs, of Islam, of the Arab conquest, of life in Arabia. Think of ARAMCO publications covering up the brutality of life in Saudi Arabia back in the 1950s. British scribblers too, like Toynbee, were covering up for the Arabs and Islam long ago. Consider too the more recent editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica [published at the Univ of Chicago, I believe] in how they deal with Arab and Islamic history and personalities.

  8. Eliyahu says:

    Quoth Shimshon,
    Islam is a universalist religion that addresses these issues.
    Indeed, Islam addresses sex and violence. In Sura 9, verse 29 [verse numbers vary in some editions] the Quran clearly endorses violence against unbelievers [specifically Jews & Christians here] until they are humbled and pay tribute. This war against the Kufar is to go on until the whole world is subject to Islam, whereas the Biblical quotes that Shimshon provides are limited to relatively small places and limited in time. Really, Shimshon, there is no comparison between the violence advocated in the Quran and in the Bible.

  9. shimshon says:

    i agree with you that the quran is more violent than the bible. that is not my point. someone could take the biblical quote i gave and use it in another context, just as easily as easliy as someone couls give sura 9:29 a completely different contextual reading. and i never i agree with what the quran has to say on sex and violence, i just said that it doesnt ignore them like christianity. that in itself is something.

  10. fp says:

    shimshon,

    the west has tamed religion and forced it to separate from the state. the pope no longer wants to rule states and good riddance.

    there is no such separation and taming in islam. such a separation would make islam what is not. but it won’t happen because this is exactly what islamists work very diligently to prevent. and they are quite effective, because no so-called moderate speak out for such separation. that would be deemed apostasy.

  11. Eliyahu says:

    Shimshon, I am not a Christian, as you may know. And Christians can respond for themselves. But I would not say that Christianity ignores violence. The New Testament actually takes two approaches; 1) Turn the other cheek; 2) “I come not to bring peace but the sword,” which seems to be an endorsement of revolutionary violence in context. Further, some of Jesus’ associates seem to have been armed revolutionaries: Simon Zelotes, the Boanerges [B'ney Regesh??], Simon called Rock [= Peter], etc. So Christianity presents a paradoxical attitude toward violence. But it does not, as far as I know, advocate –either in the NT or in the Church’s interpretations and legislation [of any of the mainstream churches]– perpetual warfare in order to conquer the whole world and force its law and beliefs on the whole world. Only Islam advocates perpetual war, broken by a hudna from time to time, the length of which depends on the relation of military forces at any given moment after signing of the hudna.

    So when you say that Islam “addresses” sex and violence you’re being too minimal or perhaps disingenuous.

  12. fp says:

    robert spencer of jihad watch has been forever claiming that when islamists quote their scriptures, they’re pious; when the infidels quote the same, they’re islamophobic.

    it’s obvious to me that shimshon accepts that position by the islamists. when we point out the very scriptures that the jihadists invoke to perform murder, the shimshons of the world cry “arab/muslim bashing”.

    be that as it may, the let shimshon point out any CURRENT christian, hindu, or jewish systematic violence against muslims that would come close to justify the (propaganda) of islamophobia claims.

    and no, israeli policies do not count, nice try.

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