CAIR urges U.S. government not to investigate Islamophobia News, group accused of ‘espionage’ against Muslims

Washington DC – A prominent Muslim civil rights group in the United States has called on the U.S. government to investigate an organization it owns accused of espionage About members of the Muslim community.


Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), urged the FBI and other agencies on Wednesday to investigate the Terrorism Investigation Project (IPT), which the Southern Poverty Law Center says is run by “anti- Muslim Activist”.

Awad accuses IPT of surveillance muslim american Mosques and organizations, in coordination with Israeli government officials.


“I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Justice Department, the FBI, the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate and detain [IPT Director] Steven Emerson and his terrorism investigation project are in charge,” Awad said in a virtual news conference.

“Why [is he] Allow spies…to serve the state of Israel? Surveillance of American Muslims and legal organizations should not be allowed. “


In a statement to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, IPT denied that the group had ever “accepted any funding from the US government or any foreign source”.

“We are completely independent,” it said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.


‘Espionage’ charges

Awad’s comments come nearly a month after CAIR’s Ohio chapter announced the firing of its Columbus-Cincinnati-area executive and legal director Romin Iqbal, accusing him of passing classified information to IPT over the years . In an email to Al Jazeera last month, Iqbal’s lawyer declined to comment on the allegations.

On Wednesday, CAIR discovered a “spy” who it said was working with IPT and Emerson to spy on a large mosque in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C.


Edward Ahmed Mitchell, CAIR’s deputy director, also forwarded emails the group said showed exchanges between Emerson and Israeli government officials.

CAIR said a screenshot showed an email exchange between Emerson and Israeli government officials asking him to provide information between the Palestinian Student Justice Group, a student-led advocacy group active at U.S. universities, and the Palestinian faction Hamas. may contact. Screenshot showing an Israeli government email address.

Al Jazeera could not verify the authenticity of the screenshots.

CAIR said Wednesday that the emails were obtained through a former IPT employee who was disappointed by the organization’s actions.

“Is this a violation of federal law — a foreign government requesting U.S. nonprofits to provide information about U.S. college students? I don’t know; that’s up to law enforcement,” Mitchell said. “It’s certainly worrying.”

A U.S. law of 1938, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), requires individuals working on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Department of Justice and to regularly disclose their political activities and ties to officials.

The IPT refuses to be characterized as anti-Muslim. It said it was focused on exposing what it called “radical Islamic activity on American soil.”

But the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights group that tracks U.S. hate groups Call Emerson was an “anti-Muslim activist.”

A 2011 report (PDF format) by the Center for American Progress, a liberal U.S. think tank, accused Emerson and his team of promoting the portrayal of Islam as violent.

“This image of extreme radical Islam required some of Emerson’s creativity,” the report reads. “To demonstrate that he can rise to the challenge, Emerson has a history of fabricating evidence that allowed radical Islam to infiltrate through Muslim civil rights and advocacy groups. The conspiracy to America is perpetuated.”

“betray”

Late last year, shortly after CAIR’s Ohio chapter announced Iqbal’s dismissal, the group said another individual had come forward and admitted to receiving money from IPT to spy on American mosques where he volunteered.

The volunteer was Tariq Nelson, a man at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, CAIR said.

in a statement (PDF format) released by CAIR on Wednesday, Nielsen said he thought delivering information to IPT would make him “easy money” while not hurting the community.

Saif Rahman, Dar Al-Hijrah’s director of public affairs, told Al Jazeera, “It is betrayal and insecurity to know that someone might be singled out, stalked or motivated to spy on the community”.

But Rahman said the mosque would “remain open”.

“We maintain that the purpose of the House of Allah will continue to be a place where all are welcome.”

Nihad AwadCAIR’s Nihad Awad calls on FBI, others to investigate IPT [File: Alex Brandon/AP Photo]

Keith Ellison Controversy

Nelson told The Washington Post, which first identified him on Wednesday, that he leaked a controversial recording of Keith Ellison — first muslim Elected to the United States Congress in 2010 at a private fundraiser.

Ellison, now serving as Minnesota’s Attorney GeneralIn 2016, when the IPT released a 36-second audio clip of Ellison speaking at the event, he was vying to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

“America’s foreign policy in the Middle East is determined by the quality of a country of seven million people,” Ellison said in the recording, referring to Israel. “A region of 350 million, all in a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?

“It all changed when Americans going back to those 350 million people got involved.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a pro-Israel Jewish-American advocacy group, called the comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”

At the time, Ellison believed the remarks were taken out of context.he finally lost He narrowly led the Democratic National Committee to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

CAIR said the whistleblower who leaked the IPT emails wrote an anonymous statement, which the advocacy group released Wednesday.

“I came to realize that the main focus of the IPT is not to protect our country from legitimate threats, but to protect foreign governments – Israel – from legitimate criticism. We are basically being used as an Israel lobby,” the whistleblower wrote .

“It’s become a movement to demonize people who just have opinions that we may not agree with, but I make it part of my job.”

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