A curfew has been imposed in riot-torn Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is enraged. You see, it’s the first night of Ramadan, and city leaders put the curfew in place, according to a CAIR press release, “without consulting Muslim community leaders.” Now CAIR is calling on city officials to add an exception for religious purposes. And for the first time in its nearly thirty-year history, CAIR is right: let the Muslims go to mosque, let the Christians go to church, let the Jews go to synagogue, and so on, and stop the endless totalitarian overreach. But in one of the biggest jokes of these unhappy days, CAIR is suddenly manifesting a newfound respect for the First Amendment, which it has been trying to render a dead letter for years.
Yes, there is rioting in Minneapolis. The curfew, however, is yet another in an ever-lengthening series of examples of American public officials penalizing law-abiding citizens for their own abject incompetence. Yes, it’s risky to go out when there is rioting going on. But Minneapolis police forces (such as they are after the left got its way and actually defunded the department, only to reverse course after the inevitable crime wave began), should be directing their energies toward arresting the rioters, not ordinary people who happen to be out after the designated beginning of the curfew. If people want to assume the risk of being out in the city while the riots continue, they should not be prevented from doing so, and if they are attacked, those who attack them should be prosecuted.
CAIR, meanwhile, is arguing for its religious exemption on religious freedom grounds. CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a press release: “By imposing a city-wide curfew on the very first night of Ramadan without consulting Minneapolis Muslim leaders, our leaders have undermined the community’s trust and violated the Constitution. Public officials must amend the curfew in order to respect freedom of religion, including the right to gather and worship during Ramadan.”
Amend “public safety” rules to respect the freedom of religion? Great idea. While you’re at it, amend the “public health” rules also, for the same reason.
CAIR wouldn’t be CAIR, of course, if it didn’t claim victim status, imply solidarity with the rioters, and do its bit to further the left’s narrative that America is a racist hellhole in which minorities are routinely harassed, discriminated against, and persecuted. CAIR-Minnesota Deputy Director Mohamed Ibrahim said in the statement: “On the eve of Ramadan, our community has been traumatized by the trial of Derik [sic] Chauvin and now the murder of Dante [sic] Wright. Nothing can bring solace and hope tonight better than gathering with our fellow Muslim community members in prayer. Denying Minnesota Muslims this right violates our First Amendment rights. The order must be amended.”
We must protect First Amendment rights, eh? Great idea, Mohamed! Interesting that CAIR made no mention of the First Amendment when it demanded in March that the Baltimore County School system remove what it claimed was an “Islamophobic” image from its curriculum, or when it praised the censure of a New Jersey school board member for criticizing Islam, or when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) funneled $325,000 through CAIR to Georgetown University to support restrictions on the freedom of speech and the criminalization of criticism of Islam.
Nor did CAIR seem all that concerned about the First Amendment last February, when it demanded that CPAC cancel one of its featured speakers, Scott Presler, for supposedly being “anti-Muslim” (which usually means opposing jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others). The First Amendment appears to be the farthest thing from the Hamas-linked minds of CAIR officials in their ongoing persecution of Nicholas Damask, the Arizona professor who dared to observe in his classes that Islamic jihadis justify their actions by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. CAIR sued, lost on First Amendment grounds, and is appealing.
CAIR wasn’t nearly as interested in upholding the First Amendment as it is now back in December, when it applauded Congressman Debbie Dingell for demanding that Facebook remove “anti-Muslim content.” This wouldn’t be simply the removal of hateful material; for years, CAIR and its allies have insisted that any and all honest analysis of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence is “anti-Muslim,” and must therefore be silenced. This became newly clear just days ago when a CAIR ally, Muslim Advocates, sued Facebook for its “anti-Muslim content,” including sites that simply oppose jihad terror.
So CAIR, a longtime foe of First Amendment rights, has suddenly become a strict constructionist when it comes to Ramadan in Minneapolis-St. Paul. And they’re right: let people make their own decisions. Risk is unavoidable in life. But those who are targeted by CAIR in the future for exercising their First Amendment rights should remember this day, when this self-proclaimed “civil rights” group’s sinister hypocrisy became obvious to the world.