Under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security invited the Council on American-Islamic Relations to help develop its counter-terrorism policy, even though the Justice Department had implicated CAIR in a plot to finance the terrorist organization Hamas.
So why is the DHS of President Donald Trump, who vowed during his campaign to eschew political correctness and “name the enemy,” still engaging with CAIR?
Leaders of CAIR’s Florida branch participated in DHS town hall discussions in Miami and Tampa earlier this month, reported the Investigative Project for Terrorism.
A discussion with CAIR at Miami-Dade College featured holdovers from the Obama administration, Veronica Venture, the outgoing DHS acting officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and Kareem Shora, section chief of the DHS Community Engagement Section, IPT said.
Philip Haney, a former DHS Islam subject-matter expert whose investigations of the radical ties of CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups were quashed by his agency under Obama, reacted to the news.
“It’s really distressing to see this continue to happen, when it’s already been irrefutably proven in federal court, almost 10 years ago, that CAIR and its leaders are tied to Hamas,” Haney said, referring to the Holy Land Foundation case in which CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator.
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to WND’s questions about the agency’s continued engagement with CAIR, which has sued a WND author for exposing the group’s radical ties.
Shora has organized other events with CAIR on behalf of DHS, noted IPT.
He helped organize a December training event for visiting French police officials with CAIR-Florida in conjunction with the State Department.
The FBI, however, severed relations with CAIR after the Holy Land Foundation case in Texas in 2008, and CAIR officials have discouraged Muslims from cooperating with the FBI, Haney pointed out.
“It’s not a benign organization, and it’s goals are not benign,” Haney said. “We’re talking about the DHS; they are supposed to protect us from threats both foreign and domestic. And this is a domestic threat.”
Haney, co-author of “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” entered background and intelligence into the DHS main database that later was stripped — by orders from the top — of references deemed offensive to Muslims and in some cases completely eliminated. He underwent nine investigations by his agency and the Justice Department before retiring honorably in 2015.
“It brings back a lot of those feelings,” he said of his agency’s continued cooperation with CAIR. “I feel like I’m back in active duty again under investigation. My superintendent ignored and refused to acknowledge the nature of who these groups are, and I suffered a lot from it.”
Both Shora and CAIR have expressed opposition to Trump’s support for Israel and his stated desire to focus on Islamic terrorism, IPT said.
Shora urged the U.S. to stop shipping weapons to Israel during its 2006 war with Hezbollah because Lebanese civilians were “getting bombed.” He charged in 2009, after the Holy Land Foundation trial, that Muslim charities were victims of “undue scrutiny” from law enforcement.
In Tampa, DHS allowed CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly to participate in a roundtable with local law enforcement. Shibly has accused FBI agents of unjustly killing a Muslim suspect who attacked them after questioning. Even though independent investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing, IPT reported, Shibly repeated the accusation and is helping the family sue the FBI.
He also opposes FBI sting operations as an “entrapment program targeting the Muslim community.” He calls the operations a form of tyranny that stray from the “great ideals of liberty, equality and justice.”
Still countering ‘extremism’
IPT observed the two Florida DHS programs this month indicate that the Trump administration has yet to change course on the Obama administration’s controversial Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE, program.
In February, sources said the Trump administration was about to make good on its promise to “name the enemy” with a plan to change the name of its CVE program to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”
The euphemistic “violent extremism” was a manifestation of President Obama’s refusal to associate Islam with the prime terror threat the Western world faces. The name underscored the administration’s premise that white supremacists and other fringe movements are just as much a threat to the nation’s security as people who carry out violent attacks in America and around the world in the name of Allah.
The General Accountability Office said in an April report the government has no way of telling whether or not its Muslim outreach programs work.
CAIR has accused Trump of racism and religious bigotry for his executive order to temporarily stop receiving immigrants and travelers from countries known to produce Islamic jihadists.
However, more than a dozen CAIR leaders charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
The Muslim Arab Gulf state United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR as a terrorist organization along with groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida. And while CAIR has complained of the unindicted co-conspirator designation, as WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to make the designation, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”
What’s best for the country
Haney told WND he can’t understand why a known affiliate of a “criminal organization” is allowed to operate at all.
He said he hopes President Trump will follow through on his promise to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, noting that allowing affiliates such as CAIR to continue working with the government backs law-enforcement officers into a corner.
“How are they going to do their job if they keep running into this organization?” he asked.
Haney said Trump “will have to clearly state that these groups either need to be shut down or the Justice Department needs to initiate an investigation.”
“It’s a matter of deciding what’s best for the country,” he said. “It’s been proved over and over again who CAIR really is.
“So what’s the holdup?”