Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Al - Bustan Seeds Of Culture Funded By Saudi And Public Endowments Among Sponsors Of CAIR Philly Banquet With Siraj Wahhaj
Al - Bustan Seeds Of Culture Funded By Saudi And Public Endowments Among Sponsors Of CAIR Philly Banquet With Siraj Wahhaj
February 19, 2013
MIM: The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Saudi funded front group for Hamas. Al- Bustan Seeds of Culture receives funding from "public agencies,local and national foundations" and is one of the sponsors of the upcoming CAIR banquet in Philadelphia on March 13th which features Siraj Wahhaj,a radical cleric who is an unindicted co conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing . He "Invited Omar Abdel-Rahman, leader of a terrorist organization known as the Islamic Group, to address his congregation several times Advocates the replacement of the U.S. government with an Islamic Caliphate.Supports violent Islamic jihad". http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=716 Wahhaj is listed on the poster below as the CAIR banquet's "motivational speaker".
Among the funders of Al Bustan Seeds of Culture is the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Saudi Aramco, and the Embassy of the state of Qatar in Washington, DC.
February 19, 2013
For more on Al Bustan see: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2978
In addition, Al-Bustan has received generous individual contributions from many in the Philadelphia area and beyond. All donations made to the organization are tax-deductible. To find out how you can donate, click here.
MIM: This is not the first time Al Bustan has worked with CAIR. In 2010 they brought Moustafa Bayoumi to speak in Philadelphia.
The University of Pennsylvania, Al-Bustan, and CAIR-Pennsylvania are pleased to present MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI in a talk about his book
How Does it Feel to be a Problem?
This event is co-presented by:
Al-Bustan has facilitated Mr. Bayoumi's visit to Philadelphia. During the day he will give talks and lead workshops with high school students at Germantown Friends School and Northeast High School. His visit to NEHS is sponsored by The Middle East Center at UPenn.
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Profile
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as a "non-profit, grassroots membership organization…established to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America,"  and to protect Muslims from hate crimes and discrimination. According to the council's spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, "We are similar to a Muslim NAACP." CAIR has further explained that it is "dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public."
Although CAIR's main activities are on the national political scene and not directly on campuses, it does support pro-Palestinian groups and frequently participates in anti-Israel and peace rallies. CAIR presents itself as a legitimate Congressional lobby, attempting to function within the context of American values. Since CAIR promotes itself as an organization that protects rights of oppressed Muslims, many people consider it a respectable group (Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich even attended a recent CAIR fundraiser.) It supports Muslim civic participation, civil rights and is a hate-crime watchdog. CAIR even had a series of pro-American-Muslim ads on American television. Despite its attempt to portray itself as a champion of Muslim civil rights, CAIR espouses radical views and has publicly endorsed radical militant Islamic groups around the world. According to many terrorism experts, CAIR is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism. Consider some of CAIR's positions:
CAIR has strong ties to the terrorist group Hamas:
CAIR promotes extremist views and a radical Islamic vision:
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper equates Christian leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart with Osama bin Laden because he claims that given the chance, they would commit mass murder against Muslims. "They're the equivalent of our Osama bin Laden," Hooper told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg. When asked to clarify if Osama bin Laden's goal was to kill Christians, Jews and Westerners, Hooper responded, "Yes, that's one of his goals. And I'm sure that, given the right circumstance, [Falwell, Robertson and Swaggart] would do the same in the opposite direction."
CAIR is reluctant to condemn terrorists and terrorism:
CAIR supports organizations that fund terrorism:
The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Washington D.C. based, nationally active Muslim advocacy organization. Founded in 1994, its stated goal is to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America" and to present an "Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public." According to national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR is "similar to a Muslim NAACP." 
Initially, CAIR succeeded. It formed 24 chapters in the US and one in Canada, and it seemed to be accepted in mainstream politics. It became a frequent guest at official State Department and White House events.  When the Clinton White House began actively reaching out to the Muslim community in 1996, it often included CAIR in its guest list, along with MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council), AMC (the American Muslim Council) and AMA (the American Muslim Alliance). Just after 9/11, when the Bush administration hurried to reassure American Muslims that Islam was not the target of the war on terrorism, it included CAIR in its invitation to the White House.
Despite this recognition, CAIR's mainstream image had begun to crack within a few years of its founding. When terrorism expert Steve Emerson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1998, he warned that CAIR was a radical Islamist group. Reports also surfaced that CAIR received funding from Saudi Arabia-in 1999, the Saudi's Islamic Development Bank granted CAIR $250,000 to buy land in Washington DC to build its headquarters.
According to Muslim moderates and many terrorism experts, CAIR often rallies behind radical Islamic organizations and uses fundamentalist rhetoric. Muslim scholar and author Khalid Durán charged that CAIR is "an Islamic front" and that it did not represent American Muslims: "scarcely 10 percent of American Muslims can be classified as Islamists-the extremist fringe of contemporary Islam. An additional 5 percent are sympathizers, and another 5 percent agree with Islamists on certain issues."
According to Durán, CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) and "the principle front organization of a coalition of Islamist (or fundamentalist Muslim) groups that have taken root in America over the past two decades" (see MPAC). Many of these IAP spin-off groups have come under federal investigation due to their close ties to terrorist organizations. Former FBI counter terrorism chief Oliver "Buck" Revell called the Islamic Association For Palestine, "a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants."  On Sep 17, 2003, U.S. Senator Schumer publicly stated that prominent members of CAIR- specifically Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed-have "intimate links with Hamas." Later, he remarked that, "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism." 
CAIR's most prominent leaders are Ibrahim Hooper, an African-American convert to Islam, and Nihad Awad, a Palestinian and former employee of IAP.
Founded a mere decade ago, CAIR has already come under legal scrutiny. Federal prosecutors began investigating it and its leaders for illegal operations and suspected ties to terrorist groups. For example, CAIR's former community affairs director, Bassem K. Khafagi, was arrested January 2003 and pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud. Federal investigators said a group Khafagi founded, the Islamic Assembly of North America,had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States. (At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was still Community Affairs director with CAIR. ) Furthermore, Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of the Texas chapter of CAIR, was indicted Dec. 17, 2002, in the northern district of Texas for engaging in financial transactions with Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook.
Although CAIR's agenda seems to focus predominantly on spreading Islam within the United States, it nonetheless relentlessly opposes the existence of the state of Israel, calling it a "racist country and state." CAIR's official position on terrorism remains ambivalent at best, as spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in a Pittsburg Post-Gazette interview refused to denounce the terrorist actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, stating, "we're not in the business of condemning." However, CAIR was quick to condemn Israel's assassination of Hamas leader and terrorist mastermind Sheik Yassin, saying it "condemned the assassination of a wheelchair-bound Palestinian Muslim religious leader," calling the operation "an act of state terror."
Even during the optimistic years of the Oslo Accords, CAIR's anti-Semitic and anti-Israel positions were highly pronounced. In 1994, CAIR founder and executive director, Nihad Awad declared that before the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority he "used to support the PLO," but that now he was "in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO;"  implying that he supports the destruction of Israel by force alone, and rejects negotiations aimed at peaceful coexistence. In 1998, CAIR also co-hosted a rally at Brooklyn College where Islamic militants exhorted the attendees to carry out "jihad" and described Jews as "pigs and monkeys." The crowd reportedly chanted: "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes." Ironically, CAIR called the conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who planned to blow up New York City landmarks, a "hate crime" against Muslims, yet graciously coordinated a series of meetings for Bassam Alamoush, a Jordanian Islamic militant who told a Chicago audience in December of that year that killing Jews was "a good deed."
Furthermore, outspoken advocates of moderate Islam and critics of militant Islam such as Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Khalid Durán have also come under ferocious attack from the group as being enemies of Islam or Islamophobes. In fact, as a result of CAIR's bitter attack on Durán, a militant Islamic leader in Jordan put out an edict calling for his death, one which CAIR denied ever occurred-- let alone refused to condemn. The group also relentlessly opposed noted Islamic expert Daniel Pipes' appointment to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. CAIR spearheaded the efforts that labeled Pipes a bigot and an extremist. Pipes was later personally appointed by the Bush administration.
While CAIR members are not frequent guest speakers on campus, they do help organize rallies and on occasion receive invitations to speak. The Muslim Student Association of Rensselaer University in New York invited CAIR's executive director in Canada, Riad Saloojee, to speak at their Muslim Awareness Week event in February 2004. The student Republicans threatened to demonstrate and expose CAIR's positions. The lecture was subsequently cancelled.