CAIR Says ADL Seeks to Hinder Legal Rights of U.S. Muslims
Pro-Israel group 'smears' coalition advocating due process for Texas Muslim charity
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today accused the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of seeking to hinder the due process rights of American Muslims by using "smears and exclusionary tactics" that exploit growing Islamophobia in American society.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said those smears appeared in a recent ADL news release targeting members of a coalition defending the legal rights of officials of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Muslim charity currently on trial in Texas. In its release, the ADL falsely claimed that members of the coalition have been "tainted by their own murky associations with radical organizations and individuals."
A CAIR statement issued today in reaction to the ADL's allegations said:
"It is regrettable that the Anti-Defamation League, which claims to defend American civil liberties, would seek to exploit the growing level of Islamophobia in our society by using the same smears and exclusionary tactics that have in the past been used by anti-Semites to target the Jewish community.
"Unfortunately, the ADL has a history of seeking to marginalize and disenfranchise American Muslims in an attempt to stifle an alternative viewpoint on U.S. policy in the Middle East.
"In 2004, the ADL was forced to issue an apology for remarks in another news release that seemed to link the Islamic declaration of faith, or 'shahada,' with terrorism. That news release, distributed by the ADL's Orange County/Long Beach Regional Office, referred to the shahada as an 'expression of hate' that is 'closely identified' with terrorism and is 'offensive to Jewish students.'
"In 2003, CAIR learned that the ADL engaged in a behind-the-scenes smear campaign designed to block speakers from taking part in a Muslim event in Florida. CAIR's Florida office, the sponsor of the event, said speakers disregarded an ADL letter smearing other event participants, including a former U.S. congressman.
"In 2002, the ADL demanded that Muslim groups be denied the right to offer presentations on Islam to public officials at a public event in Southern California. The ADL's campaign of defamation was revealed when the Los Angeles Times wrote: 'Pro-Israel or Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Defense League and [Daniel Pipes'] Middle East Forum think tank have provided news organizations with reams of critical documentation on Muslim leaders in recent weeks.'
"Also in 2002, the ADL allegedly pressured officials to withdraw the appointment of Omar T. Mohammedi, a prominent employment discrimination attorney, to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
"In 2001, the ADL attempted to bar CAIR's Los Angeles office from taking part in a hearing on hate crimes. That same year, the Florida Commission on Human Relations rejected an ADL demand to exclude a Muslim representative from an annual civil rights conference and the State of California Select Committee on Hate Crimes turned down a similar demand to prevent a Muslim leader from offering testimony at a public hearing.
"In 2000, an ADL representative testified before Congress in support of the use of secret evidence against Muslims and Arabs.
"The ADL's smear campaign is not limited to American Muslims.
"In April of 2001, a federal judge upheld a jury's findings that the ADL defamed a Colorado couple by publicly accusing them of being anti-Semitic. U.S. District Court Judge Edward Nottingham said that evidence was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that the ADL 'acted recklessly in its efforts to publicize what it perceived to be anti-Semitic conduct.' (Associated Press, 4/4/2001)
"In 1999, the ADL agreed to pay $25,000 to a community relations fund and said it would not spy on other organizations as part of a settlement with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and other groups. The settlement resolved a class-action lawsuit filed in 1993 that accused the ADL of spying on Arab-American, pro-Palestinian and anti-Apartheid groups and individuals. (AP, 9/28/1999)
"CAIR and other American Muslim organizations have consistently condemned terrorism, including attacks on Israeli civilians, while the ADL has remained silent about the abuses suffered by the Palestinian people under occupation. CAIR has also repeatedly called for a peaceful and just resolution to the Middle East conflict that takes into account the rights and responsibilities of all parties.
"For too long, the ADL has allowed its blind support for Israel's brutal policies toward the Palestinians and its zero-sum approach to public debate on the Middle East conflict to unnecessarily poison relations between the Jewish and American Muslim communities.
"We call on the ADL to end its campaign of exclusion and to join with American Muslims in seeking to make our nation one that is both safe and free of intolerance and hatred."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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