In 1998 Omar Ahmad, CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board Chairman, said: “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.”
After he received unwelcome publicity as a result of this statement, Ahmad denied saying it, several years after the fact. However, the original reporter, Lisa Gardiner of the Fremont Argus, stands by her story.
“The Case Against Omar Ahmad,” from IPT News, April 25:
Reports that the Department of Justice declined a request to prosecute a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) official last year have left many, including U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wondering what factors DOJ officials considered. A new IPT memo addresses a different question. Why did Texas prosecutors make the request to prosecute Ahmad in the first place?
CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad served as a senior executive in the Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization of U.S.-based Hamas support groups, FBI recordings and internal documents show. Ahmad worked closely with Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officials and served as president of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) for two years. Both HLF, convicted in 2008 of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, and IAP, a U.S. Hamas propaganda arm, were identified in court documents as the Palestine Committee’s primary components.
Prosecutors say the groups worked to support Hamas both politically and financially. Exhibits introduced during the 2008 HLF trial supported that conclusion. Yet, Ahmad continued to work with HLF even after Hamas’ 1995 designation.
Among the findings in the IPT report showing Ahmad’s Palestine Committee leadership:
- Almost five years after CAIR’s formation, in a 1999 phone call with HLF executive Shukri Abu Baker, Ahmad advocated on behalf of an HLF official named Mohammed El-Mezain. Though Ahmad was not an HLF official, he negotiated the amount HLF would pay El-Mezain for fundraising trips he had made over several years. Ahmad was serving as CAIR’s national chairman at this time.
- Also in 1999, Ahmad was recorded speaking with HLF official Haitham Maghawri regarding tens of thousands of dollars Shukri Abu Baker had promised Ahmad for a project. Maghawri, one of the HLF defendants, never stood trial because he fled the country before the government could file the 2004 indictment.
- In February 1994, Ahmad called for a teleconference during which he attempted to resolve a fundraising dispute between Hamas activist Abdelhaleem Al Ashqar and the Holy Land Foundation. Hamas operatives Jamil Hamami and Mohamed Siam later discussed Ahmad’s suggestions during a meeting with Ashqar in Mississippi. The dispute was only fully resolved once Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook intervened on HLF’s behalf.
- Ahmad planned, convened and moderated an October 1993 meeting of the Palestine Committee in Philadelphia where members discussed ways to “derail” a U.S.-led peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. The group knew that their Hamas support was problematic. They agreed to reference the group as sister “Samah” [Hamas spelled backward] and warned each other that the U.S. had proposed legislation that would designate Hamas as a terror organization.
- Under Ahmad’s watch, CAIR received $10,000 from HLF and solicited donations on HLF’s behalf several times after Hamas’ designation.
These examples illustrate Ahmad’s authority over the committee and leverage in making HLF decisions. Internal Palestine Committee documents also affirm that Ahmad served as a committee executive….