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.