This story doesn’t even mention the fact that Hamas-linked CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas jihad terror funding case. But it does contain useful information about Hamas-linked CAIR, amid the usual cluelessness. At least the right thing was done in part here.
“Catholic school won’t host Ramadan dinner,” by Denise Smith Amos for the Cincinnati Enquirer, August 26 (thanks to Andrew):
WESTWOOD – Mother of Mercy, a Catholic girls high school, complied with a request from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and backed out of hosting an interfaith Ramadan dinner at the school Friday night.
Instead, the dinner will be held in the Catholic Center at St. Monica-St. George Parish in University Heights, which is not a school.
Schnurr on Monday asked Mother of Mercy to cancel its plans to host an Iftar, an evening meal, with a local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
During the holy month of Ramadan, observant Muslims fast during the daylight hours and break their fast with a large meal at night. For some groups, the Iftar is a chance to share some aspects of their faith with non-Muslims and others in the community.
Mother of Mercy had planned to co-host an Iftar with CAIR”s local chapter since spring, when groups of Mercy students and students linked with CAIR performed community service together.
But recent emails and other contacts with school and Archdiocese officials changed their plans.
Mother of Mercy President Kirsten MacDougal said Schnurr has received complaints from people — she didn’t know how many. Most of the complaints were emails from people who do not live in this region but who follow the news and activities of CAIR”s national office, she said.
The emails “were not hostile, they were not threatening, but they were emotionally charged,” she said.
Schnurr could not be reached for comment. Archdiocesan spokesman Dan Andriacco said that Schnurr received complaints — not threats — about CAIR”s involvement.
Twice they have to say they didn’t receive threats. This is because of the relentless campaign by Hamas-linked CAIR and others to depict the resistance to jihad and Islamic supremacism as inherently violent. Yet much more likely to issue threats, and carry them out, are the Islamic supremacists themselves, not their opponents.
MacDougal said her school and the Archdiocese still support interfaith dialogue, especially with Muslim groups, but the closeness to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 plays a factor.
“The fact that Mercy was co-hosting this Ramadan meal with the Council on American-Islamic Relations specifically had become too great a distraction from the positive intent of building relationships and understanding with our Muslim neighbors,” MacDougal wrote in her letter to staff.
“While the Archdiocese appreciates our good intentions, there is now some concern for the safety of those who would attend the meal due to the negative reaction this has garnered from some. As a result, the Archbishop has asked that we cancel our hosting the meal.”
Mother of Mercy”s parents and students Thursday disagreed about the school’s decision.
Some parents said they had read negative things about the national CAIR group and didn’t want Mercy associated with even the local group.
“I”m glad it’s canceled; it wasn’t a good thing,” said Kelly Jennings, a Mercy parent who lives in Bridgetown. “There were a lot of parents who were up in arms about it. “¦ It would have really given Mercy a bad name.”
Casey Tegenkamp, a freshman from Miami Heights, was disappointed that the dinner won’t be held at the school, because she”d wanted to attend. She said she thinks it’s important for young people to understand other people’s faiths.
“We”ve got to know what other people’s religions are,” she said. “We need to know how other people think. If we don’t know, that might get us into trouble.”…
I couldn’t agree more.
Andriacco said the complaints seemed mostly focused on CAIR”s national organization, which “has been the subject of U.S. government concern,” Andriacco said. “Archbishop Schnurr thought (it) had become a distraction from building relationships and understanding with our Muslim neighbors. “¦ When you have a high emotional temperature surrounding an issue you start to worry about how the children might be affected by it.”
CAIR, based in Washington D.C., is the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the United States. Its stated mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam and build coalitions that promote mutual understanding.
Local chapters of CAIR operate independently, like franchises, raising funds and supporting causes based on local priorities.
The national CAIR group has been scrutinized for years as one of many Islamic groups on the radar of federal agencies investigating terrorism.
Critics of CAIR say it supports an extremist agenda. They point out that at least five people with ties to the national group or its leadership have been convicted or deported because of links to terrorist groups.
The Washington, D.C.-based CAIR was among 275,000 nonprofits nationwide that the Internal Revenue Service stripped of tax-exempt status in June. None of the groups filed required tax returns, known as Form 990s, for three years, and any donations to them can be taxed, the IRS reported.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said his group filed accurate, on-time returns but lost its tax-exempt status over an incorrect filing from several years ago. But employees couldn’t produce CAIR”s latest Form 990 and critics suggest the charity avoided filing to hide financial dealings from the public.
Local and national CAIR spokespeople said their groups are not involved in criminal cases and advocate against terrorism and violence.
Yet the Cincinnati FBI office, along with other FBI offices around the country, was told several years ago by top FBI officials to limit contact with CAIR. Local offices are not permitted to participate in an event sponsored by CAIR and are not allowed to invite CAIR leaders to sit on boards or community groups set up by the FBI, said Mike Brooks, the FBI”s spokesman in Cincinnati.
But local agents do talk to CAIR officials and have investigated claims of civil rights violations against Muslims, he said.
“They are not considered to be a terrorist organization or anything like that,” Brooks said. “If they want to talk, we will talk.”
The meal at Mercy had been planned as a potluck, with about 100 adult and student participants bringing dishes to reflect their culture to the school cafeteria, CAIR organizers said. MacDougal said she knew of only two families from her school who had confirmed they would attend.
Roula Allouch, board president of the local CAIR group, said she was told Monday of Mother of Mercy”s decision to not host the dinner and she considered canceling it….
“It’s unfortunate for an event with the purpose of bringing together people of faith” was almost cancelled, Allouch said.
Bill Lonneman, the Franciscans Network’s advancement coordinator, said the Archdiocese didn’t want the gathering at a school, given the complaints and the 9/11 anniversary.
“I think the Archdiocese was just being very cautious,” he said. “It’s a shame the Archdiocese bowed to some pressure from outsiders.”
MacDougal said the Archdiocese still plans to participate in other events that include Muslims, such as the upcoming community 9/11 anniversary gathering on 3 p.m.
Sept. 11 at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
“I am sorry for any concern or sadness this may have caused, for Christian and Muslim alike,” she wrote in her letter….
Each year, Mercy seniors in the Comparative Religion class tour the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester. Shakila Ahmad, a trustee at the Islamic Center, said it is “very, very rare” for an interfaith event to be canceled or moved.
“I”m really sad because it was an opportunity for people to break bread and build understanding,” she said. “If you don’t have opportunities to talk to each other, how are we going to understand our differences and build respect?”
I’m all for that. But how can we genuinely understand our differences and build respect on false pretenses? If a Hamas-linked group is involved with this, it should be known, and not made a taboo to discuss it.