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Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > CAIR joins Bin Laden admirer Paul Findley and the 'Council for the National Interest' to endorse candidate Ralph Nader

CAIR joins Bin Laden admirer Paul Findley and the 'Council for the National Interest' to endorse candidate Ralph Nader

July 11, 2004

Paul Findley's Council for the National Interest - aka the " Council to Nuke Israel"

On June 28th the CNI held a conference together with CAIR promoting and endorsing Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate.

Findley's virulent hatred for Israel is evident in this video he made together with Bin Laden funded protege' Ahmed Deedat at the Islamic Propagation Center International in South Africa . The ICPI is based in a building named "The Bin Laden Centre" as a gesture of thanks to Osama and his family.

The title of the "Great Symposium" was billed as " Is Israel Set Up For Destruction?"

61 Is Israel set up for Destruction?pad61 Is Israel set up for Destruction?


MIM readers will recall that Ralph Nader was scheduled to speak at a Florida event together with Sheik Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, the Saudi cleric who advocated the killing of "Jews and Americans worshippers of the cross"

As a result of pressure brought by the director of MIM and an associate Nader was a "no show" at the event and Al Sudais was not able to come to the United States.

Nader's recent 'gig' at the CNI proves his close Saudi connections via CAIR .

Paul Findley's close ties to Bin Laden funded Ahmed Deedat and the Islamic Propagation Center International and endorsement by CAIR should raise questions about campaign funding.



The Muslim Vote in Election 2004

Ralph Nader

Part of the Middle East in Election 2004 series

Council for the National Interest

June 28th, 2004

10:00 am – Noon
2168 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC

"Thank you very much. I'd like to thank the sponsors, CAIR and CNI for making this event possible. The subject of the Muslim vote in the election of 2004 is one that is itself subject to stereotype. Stereotyped because the urgency of the times has to focus attention on issues related to civil liberties, on issues related to war in Iraq, on issues related to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

But before I make comments on those areas, it is important to know that there are many others that are all Americans issues. These include increased costs of higher education, lack of health care, growth of poverty in American society, the devastation of the environment, the unfairness of the tax system, which is shifting from wealth to work, and avoiding taxes on that which we like the least, such as pollution, stock regulations, or the addictive industry."



Panelists included:

Ralph Nader, Independent Candidate for U.S. President

Amb. Edward Peck, Former Iraq Chief of Mission and CEO of Foreign Service International, Middle East policy issues in the next presidency

Eugene Bird, President, CNI, The Muslim Vote in 2000

Nihad Awad, Executive Director, CAIR, Current polling of American Muslims

Hassan Ibrahim, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), 2004 Agenda for American Muslims

Imad Ad-Deen Ahmad, President, Minaret of Freedom Institute, Muslim Outreach Plans of Campaign of Michael Badnarik, Liberatarian Candidate for President


Paul Findley's love affair with Islamists goes back to 1978 when he met Yasir Arafat and acted as a "courier" for A letter from Arafat which Findley termed a "peace settlement" . According to wealthy Chicago Islamist 'activist' Ray Hanania, who wrote a gushing tribute on his website in 1998 (replete with a flapping 'dove of peace') entitled "What Paul Findley Means to Me" . http://www.hanania.com/pfindley.htm

"But it was his strong feelings of fairness, and his refusal to bow to the pressure of the terrible Israeli lobby in Washington, that made him a target of haters in this country and cost him his re-election bid. In fact, his efforts were always dedicated to the peace process, and brining peace to the war-ravaged Middle East.

"It was his meeting in 1978 with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat that began the campaign that saw his eventual ouster from congress by an opponent, Dick Durbin, who used his ties to fanatic members of the country's pro-Israeli lobby and their unending "dirty money" funds, to win. Durbin later became Illinois' US Senator, waffling between often hypocritical roles in his defense of Israel."

Hanania claims that his idol Paul Findley was the inspiration for his own 'peace pursuits' on behalf of the Muslim Community;

"His book, They Dare to Speak Out, published in 1985 (Lawrence Hill & Company, Westport, Connecticut) inspired me to pursue fairness for Arab American causes.

It would have been so easy to ignore my community and instead focus on my career as a political consultant. But I couldn't do that, especially not after having read the horrible experiences that Findley, an American, was forced to endure as detailed in his book.

Working for the Arab American community has cost me many jobs. Many politicians refuse to hire a Palestinian Arab consultant to manage their campaigns, fearful of the many hazards outlined and detailed in Findley's book involving retribution from the Israeli lobby.

But I feel better. And I oftentimes reread Findley's book, when there are moments when I need encouragement."



The Real Ground Zero
Findley deplored the thinking of the Bush administration and its advisers in combating terrorism. He warned that they failed to recognize what "is vivid to most of the world – the real ground zero of terrorism is in Palestine, not Manhattan."


In a Front Page Magazine Article : Nader is the Unchallenged Hero of the Muslims" Paul Sperry wrote that:

Muslims of Arab ancestry feel a close kinship with Nader,the first candidate of that heritage to run for higher office ." said Findley, who's been on Saudi's payroll since leaving Congress.

How touching ... and scary.


Findley's endorsement of Ralph Nader shows that they share the same views about terrorism

In July 2002, at another Washington-area Islamic convention, he accused the FBI of using McCarthyite tactics to question Arab immigrants -- the new American bogeymen, according to Nader. "They used to be called communists," he said. "Now they are called terrorists." http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12737


There is hope for Ray Hanania who wants to follow in Findley's footsteps.

His financing of Islamists causes and individuals in Chicago puts him in like minded company.

Several of the people indicted with Al Arian had ties to Chicago and the community is vigorously defending them .


In 2000 at an IAP/Hamas event together with several people who were all jailed on terrorism related charges by the end of 2003.

Sami Al Arian,Ismail Royer, Ali Tamimi and Sheik Ra'ed Salah the head of the Islamic Movement . http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/levitt/levitt102003.htm


To subscribe to IAP-NET, send a message: "subscribe IAP-NET" in
the body of your email to <majordomo@i...>. To unsubscribe,
send a message: "unsubscribe IAP-NET" to <majordomo@i...>


You are invited to the Islamic Association For Palestine (IAP) Fourth
Annual Convention in Chicago. The date of the conference is November
23-26, 2000. Speakers include: Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, Abdul Jawad Saleh,
Tarik Sweidan, Assad Harmoush, Mohammad Hanooty, Jawad Al Hamad, Abdullah
Adhami, Jamal Badawi, Ali Tamimi, Azmi Tamimi, Abdul Sattar Qassem, Anisa
Abdul Fattah, Sami Al-Aryan, Paul Findley, and Ismail Royer.

Please visit our website AT HTTP://WWW.IAP.ORG for more details or call
1 877-NOW IAP3.

Paul Findley is Chairman of the Council for the National Interest




Council for Islamist Interests - "September 11 would not have occurred if the US government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society."

This, according to former Illinois Congressman Paul Findley, founding chairman of the Council for the National Interest Foundation (CNIF), a Washington D.C. non-profit organization that claims "to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values." While the U.S. has committed itself to crushing the terrorist networks which organize and finance the slaughter of innocents, CNIF and its sister organization, the Council for National Interest (CNI), have repeatedly subverted our national interest through seditious propaganda and associations with individuals who support and preach terror.

One such individual is Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi sits in a Virginia jail cell facing a 19-count indictment, including federal charges of money laundering and illegal financial transactions with Libya. In addition, he has allegedly provided financial assistance to both Hamas and al-Qaeda and recently revealed his role in Moammar Gadhafi's alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Yet, Mr. Alamoudi still serves as a member of the CNIF board of directors and has done so since 1998, according to the group's website (www.rescuemideastpolicy.com).

CNIF had to have been aware of Alamoudi's radical views, even before his arrest. Alamoudi made national news when he publicly praised Hamas and Hezbollah at an October 2000 rally in front of the White House: "I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas…Anybody support Hamas here? Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah." Both Hamas and Hezbollah were designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States in 1995.

One would think that an organization claiming to represent America's national interests would distance itself from such reckless extremism. However, CNIF has a long record of cozying up to fanatics. A 1999 CNIF press release shows that during a tour of the Middle East, a delegation which included CNIF and CNI's president, Eugene Bird, met with several incendiary figures, including Nabih Berri (the former head of Lebanon's notorious Amal terrorist movement), an unnamed "leader in Hizbollah," and Mahmoud Al-Zahar (a senior official in Hamas). Also in 1999, Richard Curtiss, co-founder of CNI, was the featured speaker at an Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) Jerusalem Festival. IAP has publicly sent out Hamas communiqués, including a Hamas charter calling for jihad against Jews. more>


MIM:Besides speaking at IAP events, and writing pamphlets for Islamic propagation, Findley has written books which are distributed by CAIR such as "Images of Islam"

All the Hate That's Fit to Print see article by Stephen Schwartz

... Images of Islam,".a wretched book by professional Israel-basher Paul Findley, a former Republican congressman from Illinois. Findley's book came out in the summer of 2001, which did not prove a propitious moment for a work that gushes over Osama bin Laden. Findley writes, "Outsiders do not seem to recognize that bin Laden is one of the pre-eminent heroes of Afghans, occupying a role similar to the Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who fought at the side of the Colonials during America's Revolutionary War." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/464ijlvz.asp


Ralph Nader has called Findley's Saudi backed book "Silent No More" confronting America's false images of Islam, "a sensitive, groundbreaking presentation on behalf of interfaith understanding." http://www.mountaintimes.com/mtweekly/2003/0529/findley_book.php3


Paul Findley wrote glowingly of his encounters with Ahmed Deedat , a personal friend of Bin Laden who funds his Islamic Propagation Center International in Durban South Africa (see article below).

Deedat and his son Yusuf proudly declared that they have met Bin Laden several times.

Deedat declared that Bin Laden had "moved me to tears" and said that "whether he was guilty or not -the U.S. would always use him as a scapegoat."

On the ICPI website the "Welcome to Islam " webpage has an order list for Ahmed Deedat's favorite tomes :

They are listed as "Three books which have changed the Amir of the ICPI's life"

"Crucifiction or Cruxifiction?"

"I am Muslim"

"Suicide Bomber"




Unlike his friend Deedat, who met with Bin Laden abroad , Findley's CNI could not bring him as a guest to the U.S.

Of course one assumes that as a good Muslim Deedat is "sharing the wealth" with his friends .

Small wonder that Findley decided to further the cause of Islam and show his appreciation for Deedat's hospitality by helping Muslims win converts in America .

He authored a pamphlet for Muslims to wave as they as they descend on their neighbors entitled:

"A Friendly Note from Your Muslim Neighbor".

According to Da' wa net "the distribution will most likely spark conversation and lead to better relationships in the neighborhood.


This is the HTML for the pdf above:

Findley's "A Friendly Note from Your Muslim Neighbor" stresses that we are all the same but glosses over some pesky details which could clash with the objective of interfaith harmony, such as having Osama Bin Laden as a friend and funder and propagating Islam in one's spare time.

PDF] "A Friendly Note From your Muslim Neighbor.." Muslims have ...

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
... From the book, Silent No More: Confronting America's False Image of Islam. By Paul Findley Amana Publications, 800-660-1777 or Amazon.com Page 2.
www.iagd.net/pdf/PaulFindleyLetter.pdf - Similar pages


Know Your Neighbor Campaign

This simple idea connects Muslims to their neighbors

. It has been tested in several neighborhoods and it works beautifully, breaking the ice and allowing a better understanding and communication in the neighborhood.

Muslims distribute a flyer entitled, "A Friendly Note From Your Muslim Neighbor" to houses in their neighborhoods. Mr. Paul Findley originally wrote this copyright-free flyer.

Since then, many versions have appeared throughout America. Individuals and Masjids can either order preprinted pamphlets from DawaNet or download it from the internet and print it on their own. The distribution will most likely spark conversation and may lead to better relationships in the neighborhood. If an opportunity arises, you can propose a neighborhood watch program if none exist at this time. Download a pdf version of the flyer.


Information on Findley's friend Ahmed Deedat's Islamic Propagation Center International and Bin Laden funding.

Bin Laden funding for terror and Da'wa :

SA activist's Bin Laden ties

War on America

Buddy Naidu

A SA Islamic activist has forged strong ties with the Bin Laden family, receiving substantial funding from them and, in the process, meeting Osama bin Laden, the man named as prime suspect in this week's terror attacks.

Yousuf Deedat, 45, who triggered a storm when he distributed thousands of anti-Semitic handbills featuring a picture of Adolf Hitler during the World Conference Against Racism in Durban last week, said he first met Bin Laden in 1989.

Deedat and his father, Muslim scholar Ahmed Deedat, met Bin Laden on several other occasions in Saudi Arabia that year and in the 1990s while they were drumming up support for the Islamic Propagation Centre International in Durban.

"He was quiet-spoken, respectful and humble. When he met my father, he did not look him in the eye. That is the greatest honour an Arab can bestow on an elder," said Deedat.

The Deedats have had close links with the Bin Laden family since first meeting Osama's elder brother, Sheikh Bakr bin Laden, in 1986. Since then, many of the 27 Bin Laden brothers have contributed generously to the centre. Sheikh Bakr alone gave the centre $3.1-million over eight years to buy a building, print the Koran in English and Zulu, and print and distribute Islamic literature.

In appreciation, the Deedats named their building in Durban's Victoria Street after the family in 1988.

During his tenure as secretary-general of the propagation centre, the Bin Ladens reportedly paid Yousuf Deedat a monthly salary of R900 000.

Deedat said Bin Laden had invited him on a number of occasions to attend his lectures in Saudi Arabia. "He moved me to tears. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke in public, he had this magnetic effect on all who listened to him." Whether he was guilty or not, Deedat said, the US would always use him as a scapegoat".



The Council for the National Interests unabashedly Islamist agenda is also evident on their website petition for Peace in the Middle East:

" We strongly urge you President Bush to support our four pillars for peace in the Middle East", an allusion to the' Five Pillars' of Islam .

The Petition is signed Eugene Bird President of the Council for the National Interests ". http://www.cnionline.org/petitions/fourpillars.html


MIM: In 2003 Paul Findley was the keynote speaker at a CAIR banquet at which at proclamation from Mayor Rubin was read, declaring 'August 2, 2003 CAIR Appreciation Day' :

Former Congressman Calls on Muslims to Help Set America on Right Course

By Edwin Ali


By Edwin Ali

Former Congressman and world renowned author Paul Findley has lamented the bias against Muslims in America following 9/11 and made a stirring appeal to the followers of Islam to help set this country back on the right course.

"We, each of us, ought to do something to set America back on the right course, because America is on a gravely mistaken course Muslims have to do more to set the record straight in so far as Islam is concerned. First, go to church, speak to the preacher, and offer to answer questions. There will be literally thousands of people who will be better informed," he told participants to the second annual South Florida Banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) at the Hilton Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.

His call was echoed by Founder and Chairman of CAIR, Omar Ahmad, who spoke on the theme "I am American, I am Muslim".

The welcome address was given by Altaf Ali, Executive Director of CAIR-FL who referred to the changes that followed 9/11 adding that the changes have in some way affected "all of us, in some way, shape or form. Many of us have begun to question the phrase Liberty and Justice which is a corner stone of this great society. Some of us have become so disheartened by some of the atrocities that have taken place, that they have returned to their homeland. I am encouraging and imploring all of you to be steadfast and recognize and understand that every immigrant group who came to this great land, had to strive and struggle to achieve a foothold in this great nation."

In this current struggle, he added, "we will feel pain, we will suffer in some way and some of us will be victimized, but with the permission of Allah, we will prevail and in the end success will be shared with those friends who supported us and forgiveness will be given to those who stood against us."

In his address, Mr. Findley noted that the theme of the dinner was "Liberty & Justice for All", he expressed the hope that President George Bush "who says he reads the Bible, I hope that one day he would go to Deuteronomy and read about God's injunction to Moses. Seek justice, only justice, seek Justice, Only Justice."

Mr. Findley, who spoke on the theme, "They Dare To Speak Out", added that 9/11 led to our Government's terrible over reaction in my opinion, with the curtailment of civil liberties that have been so important in our national life, that we have striven for over the centuries to bring into being and in strength. In violation of the Constitution, a frightened congress gave the president and the president alone the right to make war any place he deems it necessary. He alone will be the judge. War making has become in violation of the spirit of the constitution and the President will be given the personal opportunity to alter pubic policy, today's doctrines that have been important to personal life."

He challenged Muslims to take steps to end the bias against Islam and speak about Islam and suggested that Muslims attend church and talk to their neighbors about Islam which is not a vengeful faith, with a vengeful god. He expressed alarm over the fact that his neighbors believe Muslims condone terrorism, and that Muslims have a vengeful God and that "Muslims want to alter, if not to abolish the constitution. He added that the level of ignorance and misinformation of Islam is enormous.

He said it was this ‘false image of Islam which allows Israel to defend its position, using some of the examples being perpetuated as a reason for its treatment of the Palestinians."

The world knows that Israel has made a puppet of the United States government., and quoted a great Israeli citizen who said America rules the world and Israel rules America.

Against a background of repeated cheers from the audience, Mr. Findley observed that there was goodwill for America among the Muslim community world-wide. "A few years ago, the Muslim world adored America and the Government. Then came disappointment, then came outrage, and then came fury and even hatred. For 35 years, with unconditional backing from the U.S. Government, Israel has humiliated and brutalized the Palestinians and the mistreatment today is worse than ever before. For 35 years, the U.S. Government has been hand in glove with Israel.

"Most Americans seem unaware of this guilt, this complicity on the part of the U.S. Government but believe me, most of the rest of the world knows exactly what is happening. Believe me when Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians are dehumanized, the 1.2 billion Muslims world wide, have a similar pain because they are brothers and sisters," he said.

"When Palestinians are being fenced off like a bunch of camels, as they are now, and are subject to endless curfews, it hurts Muslims world wide and many other non Muslims like myself," Mr. Findley said.

He referred to the President's recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon but (the President) says nothing about bringing justice to the Palestinians, "he seems not to realize that the agony of the Palestinians is a world wide problem, recognized as such, but seems oblivious to the fact that the US government, not just Israel, but the US government is blamed for this sad state of affairs."

He had hoped that America would have emerged from the Vietnam experience in good spirit and true to its expressions. "Look at America today. I strived to liberate America from subservience. For 35 years its subservience has led America astray. It has proved to be a corrupting influence on Judaism, Israel and America. The people who defend Israel with every twist and turn with policies and activities should realize the humiliation that they have brought upon the Palestinian people."

The former Congressman said "the consequences of our bias towards Israel and against Arabs and Muslims has had horrific consequences already. The first casualty which began almost 35 years ago, was free speech on the development of Middle East policy."

"I know, I was in Congress for 22 years, I was on the Committee that developed the policy for the Middle East and I can say that there has never been anything that can truly be called free speech, free expression, free exchange of ideas. All Congress has done during that time and still does is to consider what Israel wants, and what Israel wants from Washington, Israel gets."

Mr. Findley observed that there have been many casualties over the years, another one of which is the end to fairness and balance in Middle East policy. He noted also that there has been the stifling of free speech on Middle East policy as well as the absence of Civil liberties here at home which followed 9/11.

He urged the participants to bring out the truth about Islam to the American people adding that wonderful things will happen at every turn of the road "as you remove false images and as you do, you will help Muslims to enjoy their lives and who will help all of America. Never give up.

Mr. served for 22 years as a Member of the U.S. Congress from Illinois and is author of such best sellers as "They Dare to Speak," and "Silent No More" and is the author of numerous humanitarian awards. He was later presented with a plaque in recognition of his support for CAIR.

In his remarks, Mr. Ahmad spoke of the efforts by CAIR to reach out to non Muslims, giving Mr. Findley as one example,. He said that there are many people who are working in association with CAIR to improve relations with the American people and cautioned that two years after Sept. 11, Muslims are now beginning to discover themselves and are beginning to find their place in this country and to define "who we are and what we stand for."

He referred to the challenges facing Muslims in America and added that "we are beginning to understand what is our role in this country. Muslims are not about to become millionaires or have 50 or 60 members in the U.S. Congress, but have to go back to basics and should draw a lesson from the Prophet Muhammad (OWBP) when he was forced to flee Mecca, returning some 10 years later victorious.

"Despite the challenges facing us today, I am optimistic. As a community, we are improving, we are fighting back, we are defending our fundamental rights and we are starting to open up to others. There are many people who are willing to open their hearts to us and we have encouraged Muslims to open their Mosques to non Muslims who can come and visit", he added.

He lamented the fact that Muslims are not taking advantage of the opportunities before them to explain their religion to others, and should ask themselves "How can we help America, instead of what we can benefit from America" We have to become the bridge between America and the Muslim world and should not be afraid to criticize those Muslim countries which have dictatorships, where women have no rights and where some rule without democracy and no freedom of religion."

Mr. Ahmad criticized those professed scholars and writers who have misled the nation on the religion of Islam, adding that some of their comments and articles were not only baseless, but totally inaccurate and false.

Mr. Parvez Ahmad, CAIR-FL Board Chairman told the audience that the relationship forged today will "help us through some of the difficult times and help us enjoy the good time ahead as throughout America's rich history, there has been no constant, striking in its simplicity but profound in its impact." He added that the struggle to define America's liberty and citizenship rights and freedom continues and CAIR recognizes that it is part of a distinguished tradition of Americans. "Our aim is to provide a moral, ethical and legal framework to prevent the incursions of our liberty. We do not underestimate the urgency for securing our country against terrorism and do take seriously, our responsibilities towards our freedom. The price of freedom remains eternal vigilance, and vigilant we are today'.

He outlined some of the activities of CAIR over the past year and highlighted the challenges the organization faced following the arrest of three Medical students and the arrest and detention of Tampa Podiatrist Dr. Harold Goldstein, and lamented the fact that even though the Podiatrist was held with enough arms and ammunition to blow up 50 Islamic Mosques and Centers he was not charged as a terrorist.

A proclamation from the Mayor of Broward, Diana Wesserman-Rubin, was read by Mr. Robert Foulkes , Chair, Multi-Ethnic Advisory Board, Broward County Commission. Declaring August 2, 2003, As CAIR Appreciation Day in Broward County, Florida.

The proclamation read: "Whereas, the Florida Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations is a non profit grass-roots membership organization with its local office in Broward County Florida, and whereas

The Council on American Islamic Relations is the largest Muslim Civil Rights organization in the country with 18 offices across the country, and whereas the mission of CAIR-Florida, is to present an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to to the American public, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida seeks to empower the Muslim community in America through political and social activism and whereas:

CAIR-Florida advocates dialogue between different faiths and encourages substantive inter-action between faith-based communities both in America and across the world, and whereas

CAIR-Florida seeks to educate Muslims about their responsibilities of citizenship and about their rights as citizens and residents of the United States of America, and their responsibilities of civic duties, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida supports freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida supports domestic policies that promotes civil rights and accommodates diversities which reflect America's diverse population and whereas:

CAIR-Florida is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith, and advocates on behalf of those who are discriminated against because of their beliefs, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida opposes domestic policies that limits civil rights, prevent Ethnic Organizations profiling, infringe on due process, or that prevents Muslims from full participation in American civic rights, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida, is the national ally of groups, religious or secular, that advocates justice and human rights in America and around the world, and whereas:

CAIR –Florida believes that Islam, with its emphasis on self-sufficiency, charity and community service, strengthen America's social and religious fabric, and whereas:

CAIR-Florida rejects and condemns all forms of terrorism, of any individual, group or State, NOW therefore:

Be It Proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County Board, that the Board decree Saturday, August 2nd, 2003, As Council on American Islamic Relations Appreciation Day in Broward County, Florida.

Master of Ceremonies Ahmed Bedier, who is CAIR's Communication Director noted that CAIR can never repay some of the individuals who have supported and helped the organization in its work and therefore was showing its appreciation by the presentation of a number of awards.

He called on CAIR-Florida Director Altaf Ali to make the first presentation to Michael Mayo News Columnist for the Sun Sentinel. Ali said it was an honor and privilege to read some of the columns written by Mr. Mayo and handed over a plaque to him.

Mr. Mayo expressed appreciation to CAIR and Altaf for the gift which he felt he did not deserve as he was only doing his job and paid tribute to the organization as well as Ali for the work they are doing. "I have nothing but positive experiences and respect for the work of CAIR and Altaf", he said. Mr. Mayo lamented the situation in South Florida where there were bickering, divisiveness and hate, adding "I try to rise above this, as I am for open and constructive dialogue.

"I am bothered as an American and I think everybody here who is American and who love their country, watched with shock and horror the events of Sept. 11 and then the aftermath also has brought other events, some of which are understandable, others incomprehensible and I think it is the role and duty of the Press to question and look into what we are doing as a country and what we are doing within the country."

Mr. Mayo noted that the theme of the Banquet was "Liberty and Justice for All" and added that "right now I am troubled by the things going on, secret evidence, secret detentions, secret reports and that is not the America that I grew up with, and I love this country but am troubled with some of the things happening".

He referred to the case of Jose Padilla, an American, who the Government claimed is an Al Qaeda member and who was planning a number of activities, was taken into detention 15 months ago and "I want justice for him."

Mr. Mayo added that if Padilla was a member of Al Qaeda and was planning to heap violence and destruction on this country, I want justice but in my world, justice means the rule of law. "Justice means you charge him, he should have access to a lawyer, and you bring him into open court, and have him judged by a jury of his peers" Mayo said to the cheers of the audience. "Justice does not mean locking him up and throwing away the keys, so I am troubled by that. So again, I do not know if he is guilty or not, all I know is that her has not been charged with anything and I think it is about time that we get to the bottom of it.", he added.

He called for open dialogue with members of the Muslim community, adding that he wants to hear from them and to talk with them.

Before the Community Service Award was presented to Mr. Foulkes, Altaf Ali paid tribute to him as a "friend of the Muslim community.". "This individual, brothers and sisters and friends, is an honorable man and if there is one voice for the Muslims, it is Roland Foulkes".

In accepting the award Mr. Foulkes began by saying…"In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" which was part of the inscription in the Plaque. In a short address, he referred to a move by some members of the School Board in Broward to exclude CAIR and all Muslim Organizations from being involved in any activities in the school district.

The move, Mr. Foulkes said, arose from a video which Altaf Ali prepared for schools in Broward, highlighting some of the concerns which students may be having during this time of conflict, "and I felt that was wrong and still feel so."

"On the night of July 10, the meeting at which the motion was to be considered, was packed by Muslims and it was not surprising that it was withdrawn, but the motion can be brought up again, and therefore I urge you to be vigilant, as the motion can be brought up again," Mr. Foulkes said.

CAIR-FL Director Altaf Ali then presented Robert Steinback, Editorial Columnist of the Miami Herald, with an Excellence of Journalism Award.

In accepting the award, Mr. Steinback said since 9/11 it has been a difficult time for all Americans and while thee has been a lot of change of "our perceptions, I am not sure that this has changed us for the better."

"Sept. 11 should have been a time for us to reaffirm our faith in the principles that have made us a great nation over the years, for example, commitment to justice and freedom, the rule of law and the value of life and liberty," adding that "we have to be sure that our fear does not change who we are, but that we have to be stronger about being who we already are."

Throughout his short speech, Mr. Steinback stressed the need for upholding principles, adding that sometimes the principle is even more important than self. "I would rather die first for my country than kill first" he continued. "We are all on this mission together to expand and enhance the principles which must guide our actions, and the only thing to fear is fear itself".

Mr. Mark Schlakman, of the Center for Advancement of Human Rights also spoke at the function urging understanding and commitment to justice and peace, a point echoed by the Master of Ceremonies, Ahmed Bedier, who is the Communications Director of CAIR.

He urged members of the Muslim community to respond to inaccuracies in the press and not allow such reports to go unanswered.

During the dinner, a video presentation was shown and was well received by the audience, many of whom expressed satisfaction with the contents. Some aspects were devoted to CAIR's activities and highlighting some of the challenges which the organization faced during this year.

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