It was a spectacular case of bad timing: the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has demanded that former New York City mayor and new presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg apologize for a counterterror program that operated on his watch – just as a Muslim was arrested for plotting a jihad massacre on the city’s subway system.
Farhana Khera, the leader of Muslim Advocates, demanded that Bloomberg “disavow this program.” CAIR’s Ahmed Mohamed sounded a religious note, saying that Bloomberg must “see the error of his ways and apologize.”
What did this terrible program do? The New York Post explains: “Basically, cops (mainly Muslims themselves) merely went to Muslim areas to become more familiar with them and gain background info for future investigations or leads on possible attacks.” As if that weren’t innocuous enough, the Post adds that “despite three lawsuits, no court ever found fault with the program, and the NYPD never admitted to any wrongdoing, even in settlements pushed by Mayor Bill de Blasio after he won on a cop-bashing platform.”
The judge in one of those lawsuits said that the plaintiffs had not proven that “they were targeted solely because of their religion.” He said that the “more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.”
Who could object to that? CAIR, of course. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements about how Islamic law should be imposed in the U.S. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story.) CAIR chapters frequently distribute pamphlets telling Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. CAIR has been declared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush in 2017 called for the overthrow of the U.S. government. CAIR’s national outreach manager is an open supporter of Hamas.
The group’s outrage at the NYPD program isn’t singular, either: CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented. Just the sort of group that ought to be directing our counterterror efforts, no?
While this controversy has been raging, according to the Epoch Times, there has been other trouble in New York City: “a Brooklyn man has been arrested and charged for attempting to provide material support to Islamic State.” A convert to Islam named Zachary Clark “was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and one count of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction, and faces up to 40 years in prison.”
Clark pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last summer. Then, showing that he was a true believer to the bitter end, Clark pledged allegiance to the new caliph last month, after al-Baghdadi was killed. The zealous new convert called on Muslims to commit jihad massacres in New York, and even posted instructions online about how to go about doing this most efficiently: he posted a manual, “Knife Attacks,” which reminded jihadists that their feelings of revulsion at “the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh” was “never an excuse for abandoning jihad.” It added: “Knives, though certainly not the only weapon for inflicting harm upon the kuffar [non-believers] are widely available in every land and thus readily accessible.”
Clark also posted information about how to pick the best target (the New York subways would be good, he said, as the trains are full of people who have nowhere to run), and how to avoid unwanted police attention. And what better way to ensure that such police attention would never come than to stigmatize and demonize counterterror efforts to such a degree that police would be intimidated into dropping them altogether? Then jihadis such as Zachary Clark would have a free hand to plot the mass murder of unbelievers without worrying about any interference in their great work for Allah.
Is that what Muslim Advocates and CAIR want? Whether it is or not, that will be the effect of their pressure on Bloomberg. Those who uncritically accept the “moderate” pretensions of both groups should take notice. But they won’t.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.