Ohio’s political leaders met with delegates from the Council on American-Islamic Relations Cleveland Chapter (CAIR-Cleveland) on Halloween. I wonder if they were able to see through the group’s disguises, or if policymakers fell prey to another clever trick perpetuated by this diabolical Islamist influence operation.
The day of lobbying looked innocent enough when Isam Zaiem posted it on Facebook early in September:
And the influence operation doesn’t stop there. In 2009 and 2010 he made two donations, $250 to Jennifer Bruner, former Ohio Secretary of State, and $500 to Senator Sherrod Brown (OH-D). This summer, he appeared in a campaign ad to endorse Tristan Rader for Lakewood City council. In the ad, he says, “my name is Isam Zaiem. I am from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, better known as CAIR, and I am honored to support Tristan who is really what I consider a person of integrity.”
So, one might think, what’s wrong with supporting candidates for elective office?
Well, there’s nothing wrong with the individual contributions, but CAIR-Cleveland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. That means donations to the organization are tax-deductible for individuals and businesses. It makes raising money substantially easier because it reduces the cost for donors.
But tax-exempt status comes with certain restrictions. For example, under federal law, “501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
The penalty for violating this prohibition? It’s denial or revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status. It’s unclear whether the IRS will take action against CAIR-Cleveland, but this is a very clear violation of the law.
Zaiem has used social media for more than just invites to events and improper support for electoral candidates, though. See this joke that he “couldn’t resistive [sic]” sharing on April 28:
Zaiem and his national CAIR colleagues would have no tolerance were the shoe on the other foot and these profanities were being hurled at Muslims by politicians. They’d demand that public servants with such poor judgment lose their jobs. CAIR’s New York Chapter blasted General John Kelly’s appointment as White House Chief of Staff and labeled him “Islamophobic” without any further explanation, and they’ve demanded resignations from elected officials for failed jokes in Facebook posts in the past.
Or what if a CAIR intern had used such language while engaging the public in the organization’s name? Surely, they would lose their position – it’s happened at companies and organizations around the world many times. Why do the same standards not apply to senior leaders like Zaiem?
CAIR, like most other groups in the nation, was quick to condemn the radical neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville this summer. Zaiem was quick to compare the far-right rally goers to ISIS.
And he’s right. Terrorism is bad and those who support it should be shamed and shunned. They have no place in our society.
But Zaiem and his ilk don’t always oppose terrorism.
In fact, CAIR has long-established ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and has been designated a terrorist organization by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
What does their support for terrorism and the radical Islamism that drives it look like? The most tested method is to obscure the hatred they post by typing it in a foreign language. In May of 2013, Zaiem used his Facebook feed to share a Hamas propaganda video.
And on July 22 of this year, he posted a video captioned (in Arabic, of course), “soldier of the Israeli occupation attacks a Palestinian while he was praying! A scene that sums up what Israel is and who is its Nazi army.” What’s more, Zaeim uses his profile picture (seen above) to further equate Islamists with the victims of the Holocaust by juxtaposing the phrase “stop Islamophobia” with a yellow Star of David.
So what did they talk about in their October meetings with elected officials? What issues did CAIR-Cleveland lobby for or against? And how can our politicians - who are, according to Zaiem, full of shit, meet with people who spew such hateful rhetoric while taxpayers subsidize their operations?
I’m stumped. Our politicians don’t meet with the KKK. They don’t meet with Hamas or Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Hopefully one day the vile racism that CAIR spreads will mean our politicians don’t meet with them, either.