"Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist Send Letters of Support to "Hamas Front," a press release from Americans Against Hate:
(Coral Springs, FL) On May 28, 2005, the Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) held its annual banquet at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The fundraiser asked patrons to help in the establishment of a CAIR office in Orlando. While they did not attend the event, numerous high-ranking local and state government officials, including the Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, sent letters of support to CAIR.
Governor Bush's letter stated, "It is a great pleasure to extend greetings and best wishes to all attending the Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) annual banquet." The letter goes on to say, "I commend your contributions to the protection of civil rights and freedom of religion." And it concludes with, "Once again, congratulations on your accomplishments and my warmest greetings and best wishes on your continuing success."
Also sending a letter to CAIR was Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist. Crist's letter stated, "Thank you for your kind invitation to attend the CAIR Annual Banquet on May 28, 2005. Unfortunately, previous commitments will keep me from joining you." And it ends, "I extend best wishes for a wonderful event… Sincerely, Charlie Crist."
In addition, letters of support were sent from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, FBI Special Agent Robert E. Haley, Florida State House Representative David Mealor, State Attorney Lawson Lamar, and Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.
CAIR is currently the defendant in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the family of former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O'Neill, who lost his life during the September 11th attacks. United States Senator Chuck Schumer said that CAIR has "intimate links with Hamas," and "ties to terrorism." Steven Pomerantz, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Section, stated, "CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups" and "CAIR originated from the Hamas front group, Islamic Association for Palestine, and has evolved into a propaganda arm for Hamas and other militant fundamentalists."
Joe Kaufman, Chairman of Americans Against Hate (AAH) stated, "Our organization expresses its deep disappointment that our state's leaders would send letters of support to a group such as CAIR. We find it especially counterproductive, during our country's war against terrorism. We ask all those that sent letters of support to retract the statements made in those letters."