Last Friday night I went on Alan Colmes” radio show to discuss Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney”s suggestion that American mosques be wiretapped. Romney was right, I said, because American Muslims in general had not taken any concrete steps to separate jihadists and those with jihadist sympathies from their ranks. Colmes was aghast, and invoked in reply the condemnations of terror by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Several times during the half-hour I was on the show, Colmes chided me for not taking CAIR”s condemnation of terrorism at face value. Colmes seemed blissfully unaware, or unwilling to consider, the possibility that that condemnation might not be all that it appears to be.
Indeed, much of what CAIR produces is not all it appears to be “” as was graphically illustrated this week by a misadventure in photo retouching at CAIR”s website. A photograph posted at CAIR”s website depicted “leaders of the interfaith community gathered for an interfaith candlelight vigil”¦to mark the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.” One of these leaders “” who appeared to be Samina Faheem Sundas, editor of the American Muslim Voice “” was standing prominently between the male speaker at the podium and two other Muslim women. Those women were standing submissively with hands clasped in front and eyes cast downward, hijabs showing prominently in the picture. But there was something suspicious about the hijab worn by the woman resembling Sundas: she wasn’t actually wearing one. The one she had on in the picture was crudely drawn on her head by a retoucher. What’s more, two women in the crowd also sported drawn-on hijabs. Someone at CAIR evidently thought that posting a photo of bareheaded women would cast doubts upon the organization’s Islamic correctness.
When I posted the photos illustrating this at my website, Jihad Watch (www.jihadwatch.org), CAIR within hours replaced the retouched photo with the unretouched original. But the damage was done: soon Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs, Instapundit, Roger L. Simon, Protein Wisdom, and many others had spread the story all over the blogosphere.
If this were the only example of CAIR airbrushing the truth, it would be innocuous enough. But it isn’t:
1. CAIR”s material misleads non-Muslims about Islam.
At its website the organization explains that jihad “is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., – having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression.”
Left unmentioned is the fact that throughout history, Muslims have not stopped at self-defense or fighting against tyranny. In fact, the mainstream Islamic understanding of jihad has always included the idea of offensive war against unbelievers to spread the hegemony of Islam. A manual of Islamic law from the Shafi”i school, one of the four major schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence, calls jihad “a communal obligation” to make war upon “Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” A jurist from the Maliki school declared that “Jihad is a precept of Divine institution” and that non-Muslims “have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.” Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), a Hanbali jurist who is a favorite of Osama bin Laden and other modern-day jihadists, writes in a similar vein: “Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.” The Hanafi school sounds the same notes, explaining that Muhammad “instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith”¦If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them.”
2. CAIR criticizes those who tell the truth about Islam.
After getting radio host Michael Graham suspended, CAIR directed its ire toward Geoff Metcalf, Graham’s replacement, who had told his listeners that the Qur’an allows Muslims to lie to unbelievers. CAIR”s press release attacking Metcalf, however, carefully avoids saying that what Metcalf said was false. And it wasn’t: deception of unbelievers is indeed taught by the Qur’an itself. “Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers. If any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah; except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them” (Qur’an 3:28). Revered Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains that this verse teaches that if “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers,” they may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.” That’s deception. Also, Qur’an 16:106 even allows a Muslim to deny his faith under pressure.
This wasn’t the first time CAIR raised a fuss over someone telling the truth about Islam. In March it waged a successful campaign against National Review, compelling the magazine to remove from sale by NR Book Service a book called The Life and Religion of Mohammed. CAIR called the book “virulently Islamophobic,” and took issue with its description of the prophet of Islam as a warrior and a man of large appetites. CAIR”s Ibrahim Hooper fumed that “this anti-Muslim screed is the literary equivalent of “˜The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and should not be promoted by a publication that has any sense of decency.” But in fact, however, The Life and Religion of Mohammed is not “anti-Muslim hate literature,” and asserts nothing about Muhammad that cannot be abundantly established from the Qur’an and the earliest Islamic sources.
3. CAIR has exaggerated data on anti-Muslim hate crimes.
According to journalist David Skinner, “It’s almost humorous what tiny offenses pass as worthy of complaint in the CAIR report. That a student at the University of Houston “˜saw flyers and posters with false and degrading statements about the Qur’an and the prophet Muhammad” is apparently a civil rights matter. That a College Republican at Roger Williams in Rhode Island wrote in a student publication that “˜a true Muslim is taught to slay infidels” is treated with similar gravity.” School officials ask a Muslim student to remove her hijab before getting photographed for her school ID card “” more discrimination. Then CAIR claims solemnly that anti-Muslim hate crimes have skyrocketed since 9/11.
4. CAIR has never come clean about its own ties and goals.
Would CAIR like to see the United States become a Sharia state? CAIR board chairman Omar Ahmad said this to a Muslim audience in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” Ahmad has since then claimed that he was misquoted, but the reporter who heard him stands by her story. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper was almost as forthright as Ahmad, telling the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.” Radio host Michael Medved recently told me that he pinned down Hooper to acknowledge the same thing on his show not long ago.
Hooper told the Star Tribune that he wanted to attain this goal not through violence, but “education.” However, other CAIR officials have not been so peace-minded. CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad has repeatedly declared his support for the terrorist group Hamas. Former CAIR communications specialist Ismail Royer is in prison for his role in the “Virginia jihad network.” Royer’s indictment charges that he stockpiled arms and planned “to prepare for and engage in violent jihad on behalf of Muslims in Kashmir, Chechnya, the Philippines and other countries and territories, against countries, governments, military forces and peoples that the defendants and their conspirators believed to be enemies of Islam.” Other former CAIR officials also languish in prison on terrorism-related offenses.
Why do Alan Colmes and his friends in the mainstream media and many government organizations still give CAIR a free pass as a neutral civil rights group when its commitment to the truth is so manifestly tenuous? The Photoshopped hijab bears mute but eloquent witness to the real priorities of this organization. The sooner Colmes and his ilk wake up to this, the safer we will all be.