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IPT Exclusive: Witnesses Say CAIR's Hamas and MB Links

Cemented From Start

IPT News
December 14, 2015
Like a good politician, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) repeatedly proves
adept at inserting itself into national debates.
When presidential candidate Ben Carson said he could not support a Muslim president,
CAIR gathered reporters to express outrage and call on Carson to drop out of the race. When
a 14-year-old Texas boy was detained for bringing what he said was a homemade clock to
school that a teacher feared might be a bomb, a CAIR official expressed outrage and sat by
the boy's side during news conferences and interviews.
And in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 2 mass killings in San Bernardino by a radicalized
Muslim man and his wife, CAIR called a news conference where its top Los Angeles official
"unequivocally" condemned the killings.
CAIR's aggressive approach, and a combination of media ignorance or laziness, generates
uncritical television and newspaper stories throughout the country. This helps the
organization reinforce its self-anointed and incorrect reputation as the voice for America's
roughly 2 million Muslims. CAIR is presented as a responsible, moderate organization.
But when cracks appear in that faade, journalists rarely rise to the occasion. Less than two
days later, the same CAIR official who unequivocally condemned the San Bernardino
killings appeared on CNN to blame "our foreign policy" for fueling radicalization that leads to
such violence.
In blaming the United States for an attack by radical Islamists, CAIR- Los Angeles director
Hussam Ayloush picked up talking points CAIR officials pushed in the wake of last month's
ISIS massacres in Paris. The aim is to keep the killers' religious motivations out of any
"We are partly responsible," Ayloush said about the United States. "Terrorism is a global
problem, not a Muslim problem. And the solution has to be global. Everyone has a role in it."
Anchor Chris Cuomo did not challenge this statement.
Such uncritical news coverage comes despite a well-documented record establishing CAIR's
own ties to terrorists. Internal Muslim Brotherhood records obtained by the FBI place CAIR
and its founders at the core of a Brotherhood-created Hamas support network in the United
States. It is a history so checkered that formal FBI policy since 2008 bars interaction with its
officials except in criminal investigations.
On Thursday, CAIR legislative director Corey Saylor told the Wall Street Journal that the
alleged Hamas ties were "put to rest by the Department of Justice in 2011 and now exists as
an Internet story."
This is a lie. Saylor knows that the FBI policy toward CAIR remains in effect, and it
was publicly reaffirmed in 2013. And there simply is no way to "put to rest" the internal
records admitted into evidence in 2008.
FBI records recently obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism further illustrate why
CAIR merits closer scrutiny, rather than free air time, from the mainstream media. The
records cement CAIR's connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas from its very

foundation, including disclosures about the only executive director CAIR has ever had
Nihad Awad.
Before he helped create CAIR 21 years ago, Awad moved from Dallas to Washington, D.C. "in
order to represent Hamas," an acquaintance said.
Awad's co-founder Omar Ahmad sought the blessing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to
proceed with the new political start-up. That approval went as far as getting the global
Islamist movement's blessing over CAIR's bylaws.
These accounts came from separate sources, each of whom ran in the same Islamist circles
as Awad and Ahmad, during interviews with the FBI in 2005 and in 2009-10. They were among
more than 1,000 pages of FBI records released to the IPT, via a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request. The IPT sought records from the 2010deportation of another CAIR official,
former national board member Nabil Sadoun.
Sadoun's deportation resulted at least in part from his "connections to HAMAS, HAMAS
leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and HAMAS front organizations," papers filed in Immigration
Court show. Sadoun was a longtime CAIR national board member and served as president of
the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), the 1,013-page FOIA response shows.
"MAYA served as a conduit for money to HAMAS, through the HLF [Holy Land Foundation],
and served as a forum where HAMAS could promote its ideology and recruit new members,"
a February 2010 declaration filed in Sadoun's deportation case said. He also made antiSemitic statements and advocated for violent jihad during an interview in a MAYA publication.
(For more on Sadoun, click here)
CAIR was uncharacteristically reticent when asked about Sadoun's case in 2010. The
group promotes itself as "arguably the most visible and public representative of the
American Muslim community." But questions about its connections to Hamas have dogged

the organization for years.

questions led the FBI to break off outreach contact with the group in 2008, with an associate
director explaining, "until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection
between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate
liaison partner."
CAIR's Hamas connection is established by evidence FBI agents uncovered while
investigating a Muslim Brotherhood controlled Hamas-support network in the United States.
One document, coinciding with the group's 1994 creation, places CAIRamong the
Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee" branches. A 1992 internal memo, "Islamic Action for
Palestine," explains that the Brotherhood's guidance office and international Shura Council
(governing board) created Palestine Committees throughout the world "whose job it is to
make the Palestinian cause victorious and to support it with what it needs of media, money,
men and all of that."
Lest there be any confusion over who benefits from the committees' efforts, the next
paragraph is devoted to Hamas. "This Movement which was bred in the bosom of the
mother movement, 'The Muslim Brotherhood' restored hope and life to the Muslim nation
and the notion that the flare of Jihad has not died out and that the banner of Islamic Jihad is
still raised."

CAIR officials have tried to ignore or minimize attention given to the evidence establishing
the Hamas connections, or to dismiss critics who call attention to them including the IPT
as anti-Muslim smear merchants.
Disclosures in the FOIA records the IPT obtained should be more difficult for CAIR to brush
aside. They come from two former activists, both of whom were deeply involved in the same
Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas-support network.
Omar Ahmad and the Muslim Brotherhood

Omar Ahmad's CAIR bio

The FOIA records include prosecution evidence accepted by the Immigration Court and used
to find Sadoun deportable on a 21-count charging document. Among the records, an FBI
agent's sworn statement from February 2010 just days before Sadoun's scheduled
deportation hearing which described CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad (also known as Omar
Yehia) as "one of the leaders of HAMAS."
An FBI report from January 2005 summarizes an interview with a man who said he was "part
of the Brotherhood for many years" in the United States. The FBI describes him in
immigration court papers as "a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood."
He provided a history of the Brotherhood in America, including a power strugglepitting
members who wanted more autonomy from the International Muslim Brotherhood against
those who favored "a direct and official relationship."
During the mid-1980s, the FBI source became a member of the U.S. Brotherhood's Majlis al
Shura, or governing board, and he described its structure and operation during the 2005
interview. "The Palestine Committee was the largest and most powerful nationalistic
committee within the Brotherhood at that time," the FBI summary of the interview said.
The U.S. Palestine Committee, like all national chapters throughout the world, "report directly
to the IMB [international Brotherhood]'s leadership," an FBI declaration in the Sadoun case
said. A chart included in the file shows Sadoun's connections within the network, including
According to the witness, the U.S. Brotherhood's estimated 1,500 to 2,000 members
unanimously supported the Palestinian intifada and saw Hamas as its leader. The group then
created the Holy Land Foundation to be "the Brotherhood's primary organization to support
the Intifadah," the FBI report of the 2005 interview said.
Other branches included a think tank called the United Association for Studies and
Research (UASR) and a propaganda outfit called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).
UASR was created by Mousa Abu Marzook, a longtime Hamas political leader, along with
Ahmed Yousef later a Hamas spokesman in Gaza and Nabil Sadoun, the longtime CAIR
national board member.
UASR "published papers and books about Hamas," the Fifth Circuit Court of Appealswrote in
denying the Holy Land Foundation's appeal.
The IAP served as the Palestine Committee's media outlet, promoting Hamas attacks and
even publishing the terrorist group's anti-Semitic charter which calls for Israel's annihilation.

The IAP worked with the Holy Land Foundation and other groups on fundraising events with
the money being routed to charities controlled by Hamas. In addition, Marzook routed more
than $750,000 to the IAP between 1985 and 1992.
IAP published a booklet, "America's Greatest Enemy: The Jew! and an Unholy Alliance!"
CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad worked for the IAP immediately before
launching CAIR.
Ahmad became Palestine Committee president after Marzook was deported from the United
States, the FBI source said. He knew this because Ahmad "approached [name redacted] and
asked the Brotherhood's permission to start the CAIR organization." Ahmad "requested the
Brotherhood's approval for CAIR's by-laws, etc. YEHIA [Ahmad] wanted CAIR to work for all
Muslim causes in the United States. The Brotherhood authorized the opening of CAIR
because, unlike the HLF, it was not an organization that was concerned only about activities
taking place in the Eastern part of the world."
In 2010, reports surfaced that, after the successful prosecution of five former Holy Land
Foundation officials for Hamas support, investigators proposed indicting Ahmad, the CAIR
co-founder. That request was rejected by the Justice Department.
Information in the FOIA records, including the witness statements, offers new insight into
why the investigators pushed for more.
During the Holy Land trial, evidence showed that Ahmad played a key role in organizing and
leading a secret 1994 meeting of Hamas supporters in Philadelphia. It was called in response
to the 1993 Oslo Accords, which offered the potential for a peace agreement between Israelis
and Palestinians.
The FBI recorded the weekend-long meeting. Transcripts entered into evidence show that the
group opposed the deal for two reasons: They, like Hamas, opposed any peaceful settlement
to the conflict. And, the agreement empowered the secular Palestine Liberation Organization
to lead the newly created Palestinian Authority, diminishing the influence and power of the
Islamist Hamas movement.
Ahmad helped determine who should attend the meeting and called it to order. At one point,
he acknowledged that the group cannot afford to be honest with the public about their true
"We've always demanded the 1948 territories," he said, referring to all of Israel and not just
the West Bank and Gaza.
"Yes, but we don't say that publicly," an unidentified speaker said. "You cannot say it
publicly, in front of the Americans."
"No," Ahmad replied. "We didn't say that to the Americans."
Nihad Awad and Hamas
Awad participated in that 1994 meeting, too, and joined the others in following instructions to
refer to Hamas only in code. Those in the meeting were admonished not to say "Hamas," but
refer instead to "sister Samah" or Hamas spelled backward.
"If there is a political issue, a Samah's input, for instance, about this or that, we inform people
to contact their representatives," Awad said during the Philadelphia meeting.
Awad's true mission was spelled out during a 2010 interview FBI officials had with Mohamed
Shorbagi, a former Rome, Ga. imam who pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material

support to Hamas through donations and service to the Holy Land Foundation, and agreed to
cooperate with federal prosecutors, testifying twice for the government in Hamas-support
Shorbagi remembered attending the 1994 Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) conference
in Chicago where the Palestine Committee organized break-out sessions. Shorbagi attended
a political group discussion with Nihad Awad. Awad, he was told, had been sent by the IAP to
Washington "in order to educate and inform U.S. political leaders about the Palestinian
cause. His job was to influence the leaders of the U.S. government in favor of the Palestinian
cause," an FBI memo summarizing the interview said.
Shorbagi had a different take: "The IAP's only purpose was to support Hamas through media
work. [Name redacted]'s job within the IAP was to work for and support Hamas and nothing
else," an FBI report from his 2009 interview said.
The head of the IAP in Dallas told Shorbagi that Awad "went to Washington, D.C. for the IAP
in order to represent Hamas." But then the idea to start CAIR came to fruition and Awad was
tasked with running the new organization. "It was known in the community that CAIR was
under or influenced by the IAP because its (CAIR) leadership had come from the IAP."
The timing and the claim that Ahmad sent Awad to Washington fits with other information
already in the public domain.

Awad's own account of his move

to Washington, in an article he wrote in 2000, offers a more benign motivation, but matches

Shorbagi in saying it was Ahmad who "proposed that I move to Washington, D.C., where any
effective national effort would have to be based."
During a 2003 deposition in a civil lawsuit, Awad said he served as public relations chief for
the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) in 1993, then moved to Washington "to work for
CAIR." As mentioned, the IAP was the Palestine Committee's media arm, publishing the
Hamas charter and reproducing Hamas communiques. Awad denied knowledge of this fact
and claimed he had never read the Hamas charter.
In the deposition, Awad described IAP merely as a "cultural association" and denied ever
seeing or reading the Hamas charter. But Shorbagi told federal investigators that "IAP
'festivals' championed the cause of Hamas exclusively" after the intifada. This point is clearly
established by video exhibits entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial.
In March 1994, Awad was part of a panel discussion at Miami's Barry University. Hesaid he
used to support the PLO, but "after I researched the situation inside Palestine and outside, I
am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO." In the 2003 deposition, he
claimed this was due to Hamas social services and not because of its violent attacks against
But in a November 1994 interview with "60 Minutes," Mike Wallace asked Awad for his views
of the "military undertakings of Hamas."
"Well, I think that's for people to judge there," Awad said.
Wallace asked again.
"The United Nations Charter grants people who are under occupation to defend themselves
against illegal occupation," Awad said.
In addition to being the only executive director CAIR has had, Awad also serves as a national
board member.
On social media posts a year ago, Awad argued that "Israel is the biggest threat to world
peace and security," making the statement between unrelated posts about acts of brutality
committed by ISIS terrorists. Since then, other senior CAIR officials have issued their own
Twitter posts arguing Israel is on par with ISIS.
Hamas officials in Gaza have taken notice of Shorbagi's cooperation with the government.
They were holding his passport, his father told him, "because the Holy Land Foundation
received stiff prison sentences because of [Shorbagi]'s testimony on behalf of the U.S.
Government. [Shorbagi]'s family warned him not to return to Gaza even for a few minutes."