A federal judge’s rebuke of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations supports claims that the Muslim lobby group is abusing the court system in an attempt to silence opposition, says a lawyer for defendants in the case.
CAIR, which was tied to a major terrorist-financing scheme, “has a long history of filing lawsuits that cost millions of dollars to its victims,” Daniel Horowitz told WND.
CAIR filed suit in 2009 against former federal investigator Dave Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gabatz, after the two carried out an undercover investigation of the Islamic group. The Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and three of its employees were later added to the suit for their part in commissioning a documentary.
Evidence from the investigation was published in the WND Books expose “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” The book documents CAIR’s support of radical jihad, recounting its origin as a front group for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the worldwide movement that has stated its intent to transform the U.S. into a Saudi-style Islamic state.
CAIR alleges it suffered damage after the younger Gaubatz, posing as an intern, obtained access to some 12,000 pages of CAIR internal documents under false pretenses and made recordings of officials and employees without consent.
On Friday, federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied CAIR’s motion to extend discovery of the Center for Security Policy and several of its employees.
The court agreed with a brief by the American Freedom Law Center, which is defending CSP, and will soon set a schedule for motions that could end the case.
Kollar-Kotelly rebuked CAIR and its in-house legal counsel for their “inability to efficiently manage their discovery in this matter and to comply with the court’s scheduling and procedures order.”
Horowitz said the ruling “underscores how this process has to come to an end.”
“We are looking forward to trial so that this attack on the First Amendment can be ended,” he said.
Horowitz said the “glaring weakness” in CAIR’s case has always been a lack of damages.
“CAIR can’t sue for being exposed for its Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas founding. That is what ‘Muslim Mafia’ was about,” he said.
“If they sued for this, the judge would throw the case out of court,” he explained. ‘Instead, it is suing for minor points that caused no harm.”
Nevertheless, he said, “the cost of defending is still in the millions, so CAIR abuses the judicial system to silence its opposition.”
Horowitz pointed out that in a complaint by talk-host Michael Savage against CAIR several years ago, his team prepared a RICO complaint that alleged the Muslim group was engaging in a deliberate tactic to silence opposition.
Kollar-Kotelly also denied CAIR’s request to depose two non-party witnesses in the case, ruling the request was untimely, without cause, and would disrupt the court’s management of its schedule and prejudice defendants by delaying resolution of the case.
The court said even CAIR’s motion seeking more time for discovery was itself untimely and substantively deficient.
CSP attorney David Yerushalmi called CAIR’s motion “a blatant and patently false presentation of the discovery record in this case.”
“Indeed, this misrepresentation is just a part of CAIR’s pattern of taking a troubling and seemingly abusive approach to civil litigation,” he said.
In its motion to extend the discovery period, which had been ongoing for more than 13 months, CAIR requested to depose “Muslim Mafia” co-author Paul Sperry.
In the lawsuit, CAIR, a self-described Muslim civil-rights group, does not defend itself against the book’s claims, and the FBI seized the CAIR material from the Washington law office of one of the Gaubtazes’ three high-profile lawyers. A previous filing in the case revealed a federal grand jury is investigating CAIR for possible violation of laws that ban financial dealings with terrorist groups or countries under U.S. sanctions.
In her opinion in June 2011, Judge Kollar-Kotelly granted part of the Gaubatzes’ motion to dismiss the case, throwing out the count pertaining to the audio and video recordings but maintaining other counts, including theft of physical documents.
Gaubatz attorney Martin Garbus told WND at the time that he “would rather have seen the entire case dismissed at this point, but I believe it will be dismissed at the next point.”
Garbus, a renowned First Amendment lawyer who has handled many high-profile cases over the past four decades, said he thinks the Gaubatzes have a valid First Amendment argument and that CAIR didn’t suffer any financial damage.
“They haven’t shown that they have been damaged by those documents,” he said.
CAIR previously attempted to file its initial amended complaint without court approval. Kollar-Kotelly reversed the filing and ordered CAIR to file a motion to explain why it should be allowed to amend.
As WND reported, CAIR’s complaint seeks to expunge all copies of “Muslim Mafia,” in an attempt, according to Horowitz, to eliminate evidence that could lead to criminal prosecution of the group.
In May 2007, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s terror-finance case against the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted of funneling more than $12 million to Hamas.
As “Muslim Mafia” recounts, FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. CAIR was born out of a need to give a “media twinkle” to the Muslim leaders’ agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law at home.
Rogues gallery of terror-tied CAIR leaders
As former FBI agent Mike Rolf acknowledges in “Muslim Mafia,” “CAIR has had a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country.” According to another FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials, “Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters.”
A review of the public record, including federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations, reveals that CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations. The list is long and includes:
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR’s founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
- Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director’s home was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C.Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided in September 2006. In 2004, LIFE’s Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers. Al-Hanooti is related to Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.“Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,” according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in 1993 at a Philadelphia hotel. Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.Although Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, he has praised Palestinian suicide bombers as “martyrs” who are “alive in the eyes of Allah.”
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn’t killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida’s top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR’s board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.“Muslim Mafia,” citing co-author’s Sperry’s previous book “Infiltration” as well as terror expert Steven Emerson’s research, reports that Wahhaj, a black convert to Islam, is converting gang members to Islam and holding “jihad camps” for them. With a combination of Islam and Uzis, he has said, the street thugs will be a powerful force for Islam the day America “will crumble.”Wahhaj was a key speaker at CAIR’s 15th annual fund-raising banquet in Arlington, Va., in 2009.
- Randall “Ismail” Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, was among those who trained with Royer’s Northern Virginia cell.
- Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR’s director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counter-terror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.
- Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, is a target of the still-active probe.Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, “Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media.”Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit’s group.In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors say is a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR’s executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in 1993 that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving.During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Hamas front. Both were IAP officers. Dahduli’s name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation. (An April 28, 2009, letter from FBI assistant director Richard C. Powers to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. – which singles out CAIR chief Awad for suspicion – explains how the group’s many Hamas connections caused the FBI to sever ties with CAIR.)Awad’s and Dahduli’s phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing “important phone numbers” for the “Palestine Section” of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit showed Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.
- Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR’s founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad, too, was placed at the Philadelphia meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is ethnic-Palestinian.(Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR’s website mentions their IAP past.)
- Nabil Sadoun: A CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. In fact, Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case. UPDATE: In 2010, Sadoun was ordered deported to his native Jordan. An immigration judge referenced Sadoun’s relationship with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation during a deportation hearing.
- Mohamed Nimer: CAIR’s research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. CAIR neglects to mention Nimer’s and Sadoun’s roles in UASR in their bios.
- Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that “the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas.” In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.
- Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fundraiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.
- Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience.”This country is facing a terrible fate, and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned,” Yusuf warned. “It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.”
CAIR’s founder Ahmad, while claiming to be a moderate and patriotic American, reportedly told a group of Muslims in Northern California in 1998 that they are in America not to assimilate, but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant,” a local reporter paraphrased him as saying. “The Quran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Ahmad insists he was misquoted. However, the reporter stands by her story, and an FBI wiretap transcript quotes Ahmad agreeing with terrorist suspects gathered at the secret Philadelphia meeting to “camouflage” their true intentions.
He compared it to the head fake in basketball.
“This is like one who plays basketball: He makes a player believe that he is doing this, while he does something else,” Ahmad said. “I agree with you. Like they say, politics is a completion of war.”
Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, also has expressed a desire to overturn the U.S. system of government in favor of an Islamic state.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”