Also breaking: the Federal Bureau of Investigation has broken off contact with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
It is a stunning rebuke to the organization which promotes itself as "arguably the most visible and public American Muslim organization." The decision to end contacts with CAIR was made quietly last summer as federal prosecutors prepared for a second trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), an Islamic charity convicted in November for illegally routing money to Hamas. CAIR was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case.
Its name appears on a roster of "Palestine Committee" members. Evidence in the case shows the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas's parent organization, created the Palestine Committee to help Hamas politically and financially. CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, who remains the executive director, also appear on a telephone list of Palestine Committee members. The men also participated in a secret 1993 gathering of Hamas members and supporters called to discuss ways to "derail" U.S.-led peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.
The IPT obtained a letter from the FBI's Oklahoma City field office, which explained that a meeting with local Muslim groups had to be postponed due to restrictions on CAIR's access. For that to change, wrote James E. Finch, special agent in charge of the FBI's Oklahoma City field office, "certain issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the FBI. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be addressed at the local level and must be addressed by the CAIR National Office in Washington, D.C."