As Jews, Christians, Muslims and counter-extremism researchers, we write this only to inform you about the groups with which you may be meeting.
On November 12, lawmakers will experience ‘Muslim Day on the Hill,’ the first in a series of lobbying days for Massachusetts Muslims to advocate for issues relevant to the Muslim community.
We certainly welcome the involvement of all minority groups in the democratic process. Such participation assuredly contributes to an integrated and free society. Where we have concerns, however, is with the groups organizing the event. We believe these groups are using the language and processes of democracy to work towards an ultimately extremist and anti-democratic ideal.
The main organizing body is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization so toxic in political circles that the Obama administration’s Justice Department has enforced a ban on working with CAIR in place since 2009. This was the consequence of the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial, in which U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said, in the July 1, 2009 ruling: “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR…with the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas.” We have attached to this letter a communication from the FBI to Senator Kyl in 2009, confirming CAIR’s links to a terror-financing organization.
More recently, the Justice Department has censured other federal bodies for speaking with CAIR. In 2014, the UAE designated CAIR as a terrorist organization.
If you have any doubts, we suggest contacting the Department of Justice directly to confirm.
The Holy Land trial also demonstrated that CAIR is an important component of the global Muslim Brotherhood, a network that other Western governments have recognized as a catalyst for violence. British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently described the Muslim Brotherhood, and its front groups such as CAIR, as “extremists who stop just short of endorsing violence….but whose world view encourages people to pursue a course of violence.”
CAIR’s co-sponsors for the lobbying day are equally of concern. The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), for example, is a self-described outpost of Jamaat-e-Islami, the South Asian Islamist movement responsible for the mass-killing of hundreds of thousands during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The Investigative Project has reported that ICNA texts encourage hatred of Jews and express support for terrorism. One required reading for ICNA members, ‘Islam in Focus,’ describes Christians as “enemies of God.”
The topics for discussion as proposed by CAIR and the ICNA may well seem benign: upcoming legislation on school misconduct, the justice system and affordable housing. But radicalization is not a sudden spurt of extremist rhetoric; it is a gradual, pernicious process.
CAIR’s initial strategy is to assert itself as the political voice of Massachusetts Muslims by addressing some of the legitimate needs of the American Muslim community, but it will eventually be lobbying for the acceptance of a radical and hateful ideology, to the detriment of Massachusetts’s historically moderate, integrated Muslim population and the greater Boston community.
We applaud the civic engagement of Boston’s Muslims, but we urge you to reject the involvement of CAIR, ICNA and the other organizing groups responsible for this lobbying day. Please meet and engage with Boston’s Muslims, but not its Islamists.
Dr. Charles Jacobs, President
Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Boston
Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour
President, The International Quranic Center (IQC), Va.
Professor Dennis Hale,
Department of Political Science, Boston College
Lay Eucharistic Minister, Episcopal Church, Diocese of Massachusetts
Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini
Senior Fellow in Islamic Studies, Westminster Institute
Dr Haider Shah
Founder, Rationalist Society of Pakistan