CAIR Officials Convicted of Crimes

If anyone still actually believes that the Council on American Islamic Relations is anything other than a terrorist funding front group, this should help sway your opinion.

The questionable associations and actions by many of its leaders cast serious doubt on CAIR’s claims of moderation and restraint. Some have committed criminal acts themselves; others have ties to organizations with connections to Islamic extremism.

Those convicted of direct criminal activity include Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR-Texas; Randall (Ismail) Royer, once a communications specialist for the national group, and Bassam Khafagi, the organization’s one-time director of community relations.

In the more egregious cases, the organization has tried to distance itself from the individuals, contorting both logic and the English language. As the IPT’s series on CAIR’s history and activities continues, we look at the suspect nature of these examples and others close to the organization.

  • Ghassan Elashi, who attended a 1993 Philadelphia meeting called by Hamas to discuss derailing U.S. peace initiatives, was convicted in 2004 on six criminal counts, including making false statements, conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations and the Libyan Sanctions Regulations, and conspiracy to file false shipper’s export declaration forms. He was a defendant again in the 2007 Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), where jurors were unable to reach unanimous verdicts on the charges against him.

    Elashi served as HLF chairman and treasurer and vice president of Infocom, a computer export company. He was sentenced to 80 months in prison for making illegal computer shipments to Libya and Syria and conspiring to send money to Mousa Abu Marzook, an admitted Hamas leader.

    Seeking to minimize Elashi’s ties to CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad assured U.S. senators in 2003 testimony, “Mr. Elashi was never an employee or officer of our corporation. The fact that he was once associated with one of our almost twenty regional chapters has no legal significance … ”

  • Randall Royer, the former CAIR communications specialist, has a more colorful criminal history. Police who stopped his car for a traffic violation in 2001 found an AK-47-style rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition inside. Then, in 2003, he was indicted on charges stemming from participation in the ongoing jihad in Kashmir — specifically, doing propaganda work for Lashkar-e Taiba, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, and personally firing at Indian positions in Kashmir.

    Pleading guilty to weapons and explosives charges in 2004, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Again, CAIR reacted defensively, seeking to downplay both his ties to the organization and, indeed, the nature of his crimes. “Notwithstanding the fact that any criminal action to which he pleaded guilty was done when Royer was no longer employed with CAIR and not at CAIR’s direction,” the group said, “it is important to note that the only crimes that he pleaded guilty to were weapons charges, not charges of terrorism.”

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