The Columbus, Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is soliciting the public for any perceived instances of Islamic hate, with assurances of support from the local media and city lawmakers.
The appeal comes on the heels of a landslide electoral victory for Donald Trump, whose administration CAIR believes will be “packed with anti-Muslim bigots.” CAIR Columbus has stated that verbal assaults against Muslims have risen exponentially since Trump became the president-elect.
The allegations of Trump-inspired hate, coordinated and reported directly by CAIR and often without any corresponding police reporting, come as Trump indicates support for a bill that will ostensibly name the Muslim Brotherhood, with which CAIR has been linked, as a terrorist group.
CAIR enjoys the complicity of the city of Columbus in its campaign to highlight Islamophobia. City council members did CAIR’s bidding by passing a resolution condemning Islamophobia.
Even Ohio State University, the pride of Columbus and a huge influence on local politics, has bowed to prevailing trends and added its support to CAIR. When CAIR complained of two incidents in which women wearing head scarves were allegedly threatened on campus, Ohio State President Michael Drake responded by publishing an open letter condemning such assaults. Yet criminal charges were not filed in either case, and it appears that only one of the victims was an actual student at the university.
A virtual immigration nexus exists between Columbus and Somalia that has led to the fact that now the Midwestern town houses the country’s second largest concentration of Somalis. Since then, Columbus has been no stranger to terrorist activity.
CAIR Columbus supporters have expressed outrage over the conviction and imprisonment of local Muslims who in 2002 plotted to bomb a Columbus-area mall. Nuradin Abdi, Iyman Faris, and Christopher Paul are known al-Qaeda operatives who each served time for their participation in plots that targeted a variety of public gathering places around the country and in Ohio.
On February 11, 2016, local Somali Mohamed Barry attacked four people at a Columbus establishment, the Nazareth Restaurant. CBS News and many other media outlets were quick to call the assault a “lone wolf terrorist attack” in an attempt to distinguish Barry from other violent Islamic jihadists. Journalists refused to name a motive for the attacks, even though Barry returned to the restaurant and began attacking customers with a machete after he was told, upon inquiring, that the owner hailed from Israel.
CAIR has been extremely successful in Ohio and elsewhere at dissuading the public from associating Islam with terror attacks. Barry was given the benefit of the doubt by the media regarding his intentions, though the same cannot be said of allegations of attacks initiated by Muslims. These receive the weakest attention and scrutiny from not just the mainstream media, but also from the the highest political office in the land. President Barack Obama urged the nation to show restraint to Muslims following the San Bernardino massacre that killed 14 Americans in December of 2015.
From the Oval Office, Obama went to great lengths to distinguish the Muslim killers in California from the greater Muslim American population. “But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West,” he said.
Obama’s response was similar following an attack at an LGBT night club in Orlando that left scores dead or wounded. He urged stricter gun laws while ignoring the radicalized Islamic element of the attack. Here, again, the media emphasized that the attacker was a lone wolf, isolated from any greater Islamic influence.
Many of the accusations of hate crimes against Muslims are later proven to be fabricated. Dozens of such cases reported by CAIR over the last year are random attacks unrelated to religion, examples of Muslim on Muslim crime, or even invented purely for political or monetary gain. A complete list of these false allegations, “Islamofauxbia,” can be found here.
FBI statistics show that the majority of crimes inspired by hatred of a particular religious group are aimed at Jews. While nearly 57 percent of these assaults affect America’s Jewish population, Muslims are the victims of a mere 16 percent of these crimes.
Staff attorney and Ohio CAIR spokesman Roman Iqbal states: “We are alarmed by the nationwide rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. We hope law-enforcement authorities follow up on this and all other alleged hate crimes targeting American Muslims.”
Local law enforcement is unlikely to respond as CAIR demands. In 2009, the Columbus Police Department cut ties with CAIR after previously using the organization to teach “cultural diversity” courses throughout the department. The founders of CAIR, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, are listed as members of the Palestine Committee, a network of prominent Muslims that have provided material support to Hamas-an act made illegal for Americans in 1995. The CPD additionally cut ties because of CAIR’s fundraising campaigns for convicted cop killer Jamil Al-Amin.
Ahmad is on record stating a desire to see Sharia law instituted in America.
National and global organizations have joined in the condemnation of CAIR. The FBI also no longer consults with CAIR, and the United Arab Emirates lists the Islamic group as a terrorist organization.
For its part, CAIR has lashed back against the CPD. The group has a pending complaint before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission alleging that the CPD committed employment discrimination by their refusal to allow female Muslim police officers to wear their religiously-sanctioned headgear while on duty.
Local news sources in Columbus seem to be as concerned with attacks that have yet to occur as they are with alleged incidences of hate reported by CAIR. NBC4 reported recently that “Sahra Ahmed, a graduate student at OSU, says she has never been harassed [but] says she does worry a bit more now.”
Many Americans that do not outright identify CAIR as a terrorist group are upset that Islamic voices are not more vocal at condemning instances of international terrorism perpetrated by Muslims.
This is a sentiment that CAIR understands. Iqbal says he agrees that a small minority of extremists have targeted Muslims with threats, though he believes that “the good people have to speak up and say ‘no’ to these perpetrators, that this is not acceptable, that Muslims are your neighbors, your colleagues…”
The irony of this statement appears to be lost on Iqbal and his CAIR associates. Attempts to reach Columbus CAIR for comment regarding this exposé were ignored.
Benjamin Baird is a veteran infantryman with over 1000 days of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated with honors from the American Military University, studying Middle Eastern affairs with a concentration on Iraq. Ben is a freelance journalist, a proven military leader, and conservative super hero, responding to Islamic villainy wherever it rears its ugly head. He is editor-in-chief of crusadeoftruth.com