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June 27, 2016

CAIR Loses in Court, Media Fails to Notice

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On June 21, 2016, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a self-described U.S. civil rights organization with a history of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas connections, lost an appellate court decision and will now have to stand trial for a “massive criminal fraud.” However, this development was not reported by the major U.S. news media that frequently used CAIR as a source.

As CAMERA’s Special Report “The Council on American Islamic Relations: Civil Rights, or Extremism?” (July 2009) has noted, CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) retrial—the largest terrorism financing case in the country’s history. At least five CAIR staff members and lay leaders have been imprisoned, indicted, arrested and/or deported on weapons or terrorism-related charges. As a result, the FBI, in a statement to members of the U.S. Congress, said that it would cease official cooperation with CAIR or its executives until it could resolve “whether there continues to be a connection between or its executives and Hamas”—a U.S.-designated terror group. As of this writing, the FBI’s policy towards CAIR remains in effect.

Yet, CAIR is routinely treated as a credible source by news media which, as CAMERA has pointed out (see, for example “Washington Post CAIR Cover-Up Fails Readers,” May 3, 2016), often fail to disclose the council’s history. For example, according to search engine Lexis-Nexis, The Washington Post alone has cited the group more than 50 times in the last two years.

It is surprising, then, that many news outlets did not report that CAIR lost a significant recent legal battle in which it stands accused, among other things, of fraud. A Lexis-Nexis search showed that major U.S. news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times, among others, did not inform readers about CAIR’s recent legal troubles.

The Clarion Project, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization that monitors Islamic extremism, wrote:

“The Council on American Islamic Relations will stand trial on charges of fraud and cover up for alleged crimes perpetrated against hundreds of victims, according to a new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“The case against CAIR National was originally dismissed by a federal judge but unanimously overturned by the appellate court. Two cases are involved in the suit, which the appellate court consolidated into one, since both cases involve racketeering, a federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) crime.

“The lawsuits claim that CAIR National was aware that Morris Days, the ‘Resident Attorney’ and ‘Manager for Civil Rights’ at the now defunct CAIR-Maryland/Virginia chapter in Herndon, Virginia, was in fact not an attorney and that he failed to provide legal services for clients who came to CAIR for legal representation.

“Moreover, the suits claim, CAIR knew of this fraud and purposefully conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all. In addition, the complaints allege that, according to CAIR’s own internal documents, there were hundreds of victims of the fraud scheme.”

The senior counsel for the five plaintiffs suing CAIR, David Yerushalmi, called CAIR’s actions a “massive criminal fraud.”

Initially, the original federal judge ruled that Days and CAIR’s Virginia chapter were liable for fraud, but that CAIR National could not be held responsible for Days’ conduct. However, as the Clarion Project pointed out, “the appeals court decision found that, upon a review of the evidence, there was a direct relationship between CAIR National and Days.”

Summarizing the implication of the appeals court decision, the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, noted:

“The [Middle East] Forum-funded fraud lawsuit against CAIR’s national office that had been summarily dismissed by a federal district judge in 2010 was unanimously reversed…by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, sending the case back for a full trail.”

A self-styled “civil liberties” organization and frequent news media source is accused of committing a “massive criminal fraud” against Muslim-Americans it claims to represent. Where was the coverage?


Posted by SD at June 27, 2016 02:24 PM

Comments

The public is changing its mind about the relationship between Palestine and Israel. To unthinkingly assume for all time that Palestinians are terrorists is offensive. I don't personally know the full history of Hamas, but I do know about the recent war in Gaza in which perhaps 10 times as many Palestinians died as Israelis. There are hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees living in camps in the Middle East, I've seen photos and video of Lebanese camps in particular.

I agree that this judicial decision should have been news, but we all know our mainstream news is based on ratings, not information or relevance. I honestly wonder whether the news organizations who used CAIR as a source are even aware of CAIR's situation? That is how little I believe they are paying attention to what they're doing (although I'm not in journalism).

But to sum up my view, Palestine deserves its place in the debate, a debate which has too long labelled anyone even sympathizing with Palestine as anti-Jewish. I'm sorry, but there are pro-Palestinian Jews, in Israel and in the United States. The anti-Palestinian Jews don't deserve to dominate the debate and speak for all the rest.

Posted by: Matthew Peterson at July 23, 2016 10:28 PM

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