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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Boxer Rebellion

At least one prominent member of the Left refuses to side with CAIR. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) periodically gives out "certificate of accomplishment" to constituents who engage in worthy activites. She's under the spotlight now for rescinding one of them:

Sen. Barbara Boxer rescinded a certificate honoring a member of a Muslim advocacy group after his national organization was accused on conservative Web sites of supporting terrorism.

"We made a bad mistake not researching the organization," the California Democrat said. "My organization created this problem. I caused people grief, and I feel terrible. Yet I need to set the record straight, and I'm setting the record straight."


Basim Elkarra, executive director of the council's Sacramento chapter, received a certificate from Boxer's office in November "in recognition of (his) outstanding service." Elkarra said the award reflected his group's bridge-building efforts with Christians, Jews, minority groups and the FBI.

But Boxer's communication's director, Natalie Ravitz, sent a letter Dec. 21 withdrawing the certificate after the senator was criticized on conservative Web sites. Ravitz said that former members of the council had been sentenced to prison and that CAIR had refused to label Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

Note that CAIR has a webpage with various condemnations of the 9/11 attacks. Somehow that organization forgot to mention al-Qaeda's pre-9/11 attacks - on US forces in Somalia, the first hit on the WTC, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole. No mention of al-Qaeda's attacks against non-US targets, either.

CAIR has not seen fit to put up such a page addressing terrorist activity on the part of entities other than al-Qaeda. Not even Hezbollah, which committed an act of war against the United States in 1983. Hamas has been at war with our ally Israel since its inception in 1987, and, like Hezbollah, is funded by Iran. (Only the common jihad against Israel can bring a Shi'ite nation and a Sunni terrorist outfit together.)

This absence is a significant PR blunder. American-Islamic relations are affected by more than just recent history, and by more than just stuff that happens to us. If CAIR really opposes all terrorism, it should have an easy-to-find mission statement that explicitly condemns - and names - every single Islamic terror organization. (Including the governments of Syria and Lebanon, BTW.) Instead, it gives the appearance of sweeping the issue under the rug.

CAIR does occasionally issue press releases condeming specific terror attacks. In Joel Mowbray's article on the Boxer-CAIR flap, he mentions one in particular:

While CAIR did condemn one specific attack committed by Hamas -- the particularly gruesome Netanya Passover massacre in March 2002 -- it pointedly omitted any reference to the terrorist organization. (Interestingly, CAIR's press release also avoided acknowledging that the bombing occurred in "Israel," writing instead that the attack happened in "the Middle East.")

And what about Hezbollah?

As for Hezbollah, CAIR has never condemned any of that organization's many terrorist attacks. During the month-long war last summer, CAIR issued at least eight condemnations of Israel and America -- but not one of Hezbollah.

The absence of an expressed condemnation doesn't prove anything, but direct questions do:

Given repeated opportunities to do so by outlets such as The Washington Post and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CAIR has flatly refused to denounce either. Asked point-blank by Newsweek just last month to condemn Hamas, CAIR Executive Director and cofounder Nihad Awad demurred, dismissing the question as "the game of the pro-Israel lobby."

Update: Link to the first cited news source was left out of the original post; this has been corrected.

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