CAIR And Tax-Exempt Status
Is CAIR in violation of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code? That portion of the code reads as follows:
"To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates."American Crusader has posted a link to an October 24, 2006 article dealing with the above. The entire article is posted below (emphases mine):
WASHINGTON - Alarmed by the furor surrounding Muslim Fifth Congressional District candidate Keith Ellison, a national Islamic group is targeting Minnesota with an "anti-terror TV ad" blitz disavowing ties between Islam and terrorism.American Crusader asks the following questions about certain portions of the above article:
The campaign, "Not in the Name of Islam," will begin airing today on cable networks statewide and during Monday night's Vikings game.
The new Minnesota ad is meant to distance Islam from terrorism, but it has added fuel to the fire over Ellison's ties to some Muslim figures, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The 30-second spot (on the Web at www.cair.com/video/psa.rm) is sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based group with strong ties to Minnesota.
The group's leader, Nihad Awad, says Ellison's predicted election to the U.S. Congress from the heavily DFL district centered on Minneapolis has electrified Muslims around the world, some of whom have asked him, "Is it true?"
But Awad, a former Minnesotan, has himself been the subject of an acrimonious nationwide debate over his alleged support for terrorist groups in the Middle East -- which he denies. Both of Ellison's opponents in the race, Republican Alan Fine and Independence Party candidate Tammy Lee, accuse CAIR of secret ties to Hamas, and question Ellison's support from the organization. The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
"CAIR is to Muslims as the Ku Klux Klan is to Christians," Fine said Tuesday. "I don't think that we can say that CAIR truly represents Muslims in America."
Said Lee: "One positive political ad is not going to sanitize a group that has known ties to terrorist groups."
A host of national political and Jewish leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, have made statements both in support of and against CAIR and Awad, who appeared with President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Ellison's campaign declined to make him available for an interview. His spokeswoman, Bridget Cusick, noted that Ellison has no formal organizational support from CAIR, other than personal contributions from Awad and others.
Ellison, who could become the first black Minnesotan and the first Muslim elected to Congress, traveled to Florida earlier this month on a fundraising tour that included a party hosted by Altaf Ali, CAIR's state director there.
The ad campaign, which is intended to counter what the group says is anti-Muslim stereotyping, also is being coordinated by a CAIR official in Florida, Ahmed Bedier.
"The focus is not on the election," Bedier said, "but to send the message that American Muslims do not condone terrorism."
The ad has run in other states as a free public service announcement, but is now running only in Minnesota as a paid advertisement. That is a first for CAIR, according to Washington spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
The reason, Hooper said, is the attacks by Fine and others against Ellison over CAIR and his past ties to Farrakhan, a controversial figure with a long record of anti-Semitic statements.
Ellison has disassociated himself from Farrakhan's anti-Semitic positions, although he says he remains proud of his work on the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
"With all the anti-Muslim stereotyping that's coming out of that race, we thought it necessary to set the record straight, particularly with regards to terrorism," Hooper said.
The ad features an American Muslim stating, "We often hear claims Muslims don't condemn terrorism. ... As Muslims, we want to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are betraying the teachings of the Qur'an and the prophet Mohammed."
It is slated to run more than 50 times over the next week on CNN, Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC, and ESPN. CAIR has not disclosed the cost of the cable media buy.
Fine and Lee, however, said that their criticism has not focused on Ellison's faith, but rather on his association with CAIR and its alleged support for Hamas.
"This isn't about religion," Fine said. "It's about an organization that promotes hatred and violence toward others."
Allegations of CAIR's sympathies for Hamas, which have been made by a former FBI official, among others, are based in part on a widely distributed statement by Awad in 1994 expressing support for the Palestinian group for helping "respond to the daily needs of the people."
The United States did not designate Hamas as a terrorist organization until the next year.
Bedier dismissed any allegations of the group's terrorist ties, including ones made in lawsuits brought by families of 9/11 victims. "After 9/11, there were families that sued every Muslim under the sun," he said.
He also said that CAIR's critics are indirectly taking aim at Muslims: "We are to the American Muslim community what the NAACP is to blacks in America. If you attack us, you are attacking the Muslim community and the religion of Islam in this country."
Speaking for Ellison, Cusick said: "Whether some of the things that have been said are based on anti-Muslim bigotry, or whether they're campaign tactics designed to mislead, the result is the same: They've taken the focus away from the issues."
This campaign has been shown in other states in the past, but now will target Minnesota exclusively. Should CAIR be allowed to openly support a candidate and maintain its tax-free status?Steve Harkonnen has posted "A Letter to My Congressional Representative," portions of which suggest a possible model for writing to others who might be interested in what American Crusader has found. Go read what Steve has posted. Then see the list below for those who might be interested in receiving notification
Why is a representative of CAIR from Florida [Ahmed Bedier] coordinating the ad campaign in a Minnesota congressional race?
Is Mr. Bedier actually stating that criticism of CAIR is an attack on all Muslims?
Copy and Paste into an Email
Jamie Glazov, Frontpage Magazine:
Bill Koenig's International News:
Ben Johnson, Frontpage Magazine:
Newsbusters/Mattew Sheffield, also has a blog:
Contact via the Web
Newhouse Newspapers (26):
HERE and HERE
Jihad Watch/Dhimmi Watch
Scroll down to contact section
Contact Congress in your state
If you decide to post a comment to a blog--a CAIR member's or otherwise--please review this warning.