American Islamic Group Preaches Tolerance, but Doesn’t Practice It
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) leaders have a peculiar way of expressing their oft-preached virtues of inclusion, pluralism, and participation — as evidenced by a recently filmed October 10 CAIR panel on “Anti-Muslim Bias in Politics.” CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw specifically asked me to leave this “private event” — broadcast online — in an act of censorship that is contrary to its supposed values. If CAIR can’t abide a modicum of political pluralism at a public event, why should anyone believe their platitudes about liberty and equality?
My expulsion was ironic in view of the comments by McCaw and his CAIR colleagues in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill during this sparsely attended event. He spoke of “open conversations” in which “we are going to encourage audience members to ask questions.” CAIR’s panel instead presented dubious boilerplate cries of victimization that have filled innumerable similar events. Reading somewhat awkwardly from his smartphone notes, McCaw claimed that “anti-Muslim bigotry inside the United States and Europe has risen consistently over the last two decades,” have “now just become a part of the mainstream American political experience,” and “fit in a larger historical frame of xenophobia and social discord.”
McCaw’s CAIR colleague Zainab Arain similarly condemned an “increasing institutionalization of Islamophobia within the government.” Barzegar’s “esteemed mentor and friend,” Islamist apologist John Esposito, ominously stated that a “tsunami wave” of hate crime violence and legal challenges have hit American mosques, even as mosque construction has boomed in recent decades.
In contrast, Esposito and his fellow panelists dismissed any scrutiny of Islamist threats, and claimed that American concerns over Sharia law were “fabricating an issue.” But statements from CAIR officials and significant Muslim support for Sharia law around the world, including in the United Kingdom, reveal the emptiness of his claim that no American Muslims desire Sharia.
Barzegar attacked Barack Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs as a “very aggressive securitization and deputization of our entire civil society space.” Even these politically correct approaches to Islamism under the Obama administration displeased him; he claimed that CVE addressed a “manufactured problem.” Barzegar therefore praised as a “victory” the withdrawal of Los Angeles city authorities from CVE programs.
Pleasant-sounding statements by Esposito on confronting “across the board racism” were no more credible. Although McCaw asserted that American Muslims involved in the political process want to “make America great for everyone,” the Anti-Defamation League has documented CAIR’s “anti-Israel agenda.” Not surprisingly, the Hamas-derived CAIR likes “to partner with various anti-Israel groups that seek to isolate and demonize the Jewish State,” including slandering Israel as practicing “apartheid.”
With deceptive cheerfulness, McCaw concluded the panel by offering free tickets to the audience and any congressional staff to CAIR’s annual banquet. CAIR has expressly disinvited this reporter from that event. CAIR’s insular Islamists reserve their charm for useful idiots while excluding serious critics who refuse to play along with their hypocritical, one-sided demands for respect.
Andrew E. Harrod is a Campus Watch Fellow, freelance researcher, and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter @AEHarrod.