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November 11, 2015

Washington Post Fails to Examine Anti-FBI Protests


Recent Washington Post coverage about Muslim American objections to FBI anti-extremism programs failed to highlight the background of some groups involved. Two of the organizations mentioned, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, have histories that raise questions about bias and suitability to discerning Post readers.

On Nov. 5, 2015 the following letter was sent to Post reporter Michelle Boorstein to inform her of the background of these sources:

"Dear Ms. Boorstein,

Your interesting article “Muslims decry FBI’s anti-extremism site for youths, saying it will spur bias? (November 4) featured quotes from two sources whose background you might be unaware of.

MPAC was founded by and is currently led by Salam al-Marayti. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, an extremist monitoring organization, al-Marayati’s “record on defending terrorist groups and extremists is substantial.? Among other instances, this record has included calling terrorist attacks committed by Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terror group, “legitimate resistance? (“Profile: Salam al-Marayati,? The Investigative Project on Terrorism). Al-Marayati has attended fundraising dinners for Sami Al-Arian, a leader of the U.S.-listed terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Al-Marayati also has engaged in 9/11 conspiracy theories while playing to antisemitic stereotypes. He told a Los Angeles radio station on the day of the attack that “we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list.? The organization al-Marayati leads has exhibited similar, troubling tendencies.

Only two years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, MPAC advocated the removal of Hezbollah and Hamas from the federal governments listing of terror groups.

CAMERA has previously reported (“CAIR Scholarship Recipient Reports on CAIR in LA Times,? May 8, 2011) that Edina Lekovic, MPAC’s director of policy and programming, was previously a managing editor of Al-Talib: The Muslim Newsmagazine at UCLA. While Lekovic was at Al-Talib, the paper published a column saying “When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid [holy warrior]…Osama bin Laden, as a ‘terrorist,’ we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter.?

Another source quoted in your article, Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University has made similarly troubling statements. CAMERA has reported (“The New York Times Doesn’t CAIR to Report,? Feb. 6, 2012) that Patel “denounced the NYPD’s operation that resulted in the arrest of accused lone-wolf jihadist Jose Pimental.? Patel publically lamented surveillance tactics which led to the arrest of Pimental, who pled guilty in February 2014 to criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree as an act of terrorism.

Patel’s employer, the Brennan Center, received an award in 2009 from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)—an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development retrial. As CAMERA’s Special Report, “The Council on American Islamic Relations: Civil Rights or Extremism?? notes, this has been the largest U.S. terrorism-funding case to date. Evidence presented at that trial and in our report illustrates close ties between CAIR and other pro-Islamist groups, such as MPAC. Our special report can be found here.

We trust you will find this information useful in future coverage of related topics.


Sean Durns
Media Assistant
CAMERA-Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America"

Posted by SD at November 11, 2015 01:50 PM


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