The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) goes to extreme lengths, both in messaging and in action, to advance the impression that the organization is not only moderate, but also the leading voice of human rights for Muslims in America.
Occasionally, it lets down its guard.
On Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed al-Hanooti passed away. “To God we belong and to Him we return,” CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said in a press release provided on Thursday. “Sheikh Hanooti’s legacy of scholarship and community service will serve as an example to this and future generations of American Muslims. He was a mentor to many leaders in our community. Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
CAIR characterized al-Hanooti, born in the British Mandate of Palestine, as “one of the most respected Muslim scholars in the Washington, D.C., area and nationwide” and said that the organization “offered sincere condolences” on his passing. From the way he has been remembered, one would think that al-Hanooti would be missed for his eminent scholarship and important contributions to society.
A cursory look at his more pronounced contributions to society, however, reveals that al-Hanooti more closely resembles Hamas leader Khalad Mashal than Gandhi.
According to an FBI report, “al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas” and he was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. FBI agents also testified that he attended a secret Hamas fundraising summit in Philadelphia in 1993 alongside officials from CAIR and the Holy Land Foundation.
As if that weren’t enough, al-Hanooti was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Seems like an ideal religious leader.
CAIR specializes in demonizing free thinkers such as Bill Maher while praising those truly worthy of functioning on the fringe of a free and open society.
Perhaps al-Hanooti’s most publicized scholarship was his declaration, as transcribed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), that “photographing Muslim children with Santa Claus is an abomination.” Though, to his credit, al-Hanooti did clarify that the children are not “infidels.” Rather their, behavior simply signals “insubordination, sin, ignorance, and deviation from the right path.”
Though CAIR’s mission “is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding,” the organization does little more than obfuscate truth and squash debate. CAIR specializes in demonizing free thinkers such as Bill Maher while praising those truly worthy of functioning on the fringe of a free and open society.
In the age of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and more, leave it to CAIR to mourn the loss of an alleged terrorist fundraiser. The American Muslim community deserves better than an organization that mourns the passing of a figure as morally abhorrent as al-Hanooti.