Joe Kaufman asks some tough questions of Ahmed Bedier, the Communications Director for Florida CAIR, concerning Sami Al-Arian and reports to us in FrontPage, with thanks to EPG.
Ahmed Bedier, the Communications Director for the Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida) and the Director of CAIR”s Tampa office, was being featured in a panel discussion on U.S. security and civil liberties in Miami, so we hopped in the car and headed south. The speakers” panel, which took place June 18, 2005, was being sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Besides Bedier, the event included a Florida State Representative, someone from Homeland Security, an ACLU rep and a Haitian advocate.
Each participant took his/her turn at the podium to speak. You could tell, by the reactions from the crowd to the various speakers, where the audience’s sympathies lied. While Bedier, the ACLU rep and the Hatian advocate received much applause, the State Representative got a couple polite laughs and the Homeland Security agent found mostly cordial silence. This was basically a CAIR-skewed audience.
Bedier’s speech was a rail against the Patriot Act. He stated, “The editors of Esquire Magazine recently wrote, “˜If there’s one thing that always comes out of a terrible tragedy, it’s really dumb legislation.– He said that “Muslims in America have been made the scapegoats in the witch-hunt that ensued [after 9/11].” He blamed September 11th on the U.S. government. He stated, “The bottom line is the Patriot Act is not working. And to simply give the power to renew it — it’s not the tools. The tools are you have to have better intelligence. The people that failed on 9/11 was the government.”
After the speeches, it was announced that the panel was going to take questions. I didn’t waste a moment; I quickly made my way to the mike up front.
KAUFMAN: “This question is for Ahmed Bedier from CAIR. When the media looks for a quote concerning Sami Al-Arian, they go to you. My question is, how did you become the spokesperson for the leader of the North American faction of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the co-founders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad? And if [Al-Arian] is found guilty in the trial he is in right now in Tampa — where you”re from — will you, if he is found guilty, will you then still like this man and support him?
Bedier then proceeds to bob, weave and duck the question. Read it all.