CAIR’s Latest Challenge: “What to Do About CAIR?”
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
Probably the most serious attack ever launched against a major American civil rights organization, this time against CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), started immediately after the partial regime change in Washington on November 7th, 2006, when David Horowitz, publisher of Front Page Magazine, zeroed in on CAIR to recover lost political ground.
The story was first high-lighted in a web-exclusive article by Newsweek on December 29th by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball and is now making the rounds on the internet. The issue has repercussions not only in Congress but in the FBI, where allegedly a fierce battle is now going on about “what to do about CAIR.” The question for all Muslims is now the same” “What to do about CAIR?”
The facts and seriousness of the challenge became evident when Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) rescinded an award to Basim Elkarra, the 27-year-old Executive Director of CAIR’s Sacramento Office (one of 27 in the nation) in response to a Muslim-bashing campaign by Joe Kaufman, a columnist for David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine. Kaufman is an admirer of Meir Kahane, whose book, They Must Go, for a quarter century has served as the “Bible” of extremists who advocate the “final solution” for all Arabs and Muslims in the Holy Land. For the Newsweek interview, Kaufman states that his Florida-based organization, ironically entitled “Americans Against Hate,” aims “to shut CAIR down,” because “it is committed to Islamic extremism.”
Senator Boxer, who has been known for her objectivity, had given an award to CAIR’s Elkarra “in recognition of his efforts to protect civil liberties and to build bridges among diverse communities in California.” This provided the perfect pretext for a new campaign to capture control of the newly ruling Democratic Party in Congress and assure that American policies in the Middle East would continue as before or even be expanded in their scope. Barbara Boxer was the first duck in their sights. If she could be flushed, then the entire flock of wavering Democrats might take flight.
How can civil libertarians best respond? One strategy that has been successful in countering incipient McCarthism against Islam and Muslims was pioneered by academics right after 9/11 in response to Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch, which issued a black-list of all professors who did not support U.S. unconditional support of Israel. American professors were encouraged to report their peers who fit Pipes criteria as security risks. The response was overwhelming. Professors all over America agreed to turn each other in. Campus Watch was swamped with candidates for disciplinary dismissal or loss of tenure. The whole affair turned into a joke.