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Just Who Does CAIR Represent?

Filed under: Middle East

The Washington Times reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which purports to be the strongest liason between the Islamic and Western worlds, is losing membership fast. In fact, it's membership has dropped so precipitously that it's barely making $50,000 in grassroots contributions a year now. It stays afloat entirely due to large contributions from wealthy donors afar.
Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Audrey Hudson will report in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Times.

According to tax documents obtained by The Times, the number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006, a loss of membership that caused the Muslim rights group's annual income from dues to drop from $732,765 in 2000, when yearly dues cost $25, to $58,750 last year, when the group charged $35.

The organization instead is relying on about two dozen individual donors a year to contribute the majority of the money for CAIR's budget, which reached nearly $3 million last year.

Asked about the decline, Parvez Ahmed, CAIR board chairman, pointed to the number of individual donors to the organization.

"We are proud that our grass-roots support in the American Muslim community has allowed CAIR to grow from having eight chapters and offices in 2001 to having 33 today," Mr. Ahmed said.

The self-described civil liberties organization for Muslims seeks to portray "a positive image of Islam" through public relations and the media, but has instead alienated some by defending questionable accusations of discrimination.

Critics of the organization say they are not surprised membership is sagging, and that a recent decision by the Justice Department to name CAIR as "unindicted co-conspirators" in a federal case against another foundation charged with providing funds to a terrorist group could discourage new members.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, says the sharp decline in membership calls into question whether the organization speaks for 7 million American Muslims, as the group has claimed.

"This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR represents the American Muslim population. They only represent their membership and donors," Mr. Jasser said.
CAIR is by far the favorite organization of the media to go to whenever there is some Islam-related issue to talk about. They're the point men. You see them all over the place making untruthful, asinine comments because they are constantly stuck in front of TV cameras simply because they claim to represent the American-Muslim community.

This could never have been true in the first place, and even less so now. Most of CAIR's couple dozen donors are rich, royally-affiliated Saudi Arabs such as Prince Alwaleed, who donate millions of dollars to keep it afloat. In this sense, it is not even a grassroots organization, but just a plain old lobbyist firm that knows how to work the media. It represents Saudi interests in America; that alone should set off an alarm.

But say we continue to evaluate CAIR based on the premise that it is a grassroots organization. We would have to dismiss the fact that it only has 1700 members -- mostly based in California where, heck, there are mosques that have more members than that! We would also have to completely forget that only 25% of American Muslims are ethnic Arabs, even though most of CAIR's money comes from Saudi Arabia. In fact, the majority of American-Muslims are South Asian and African-America, with absolutely no ties to the world of Saudi oil money. According to CAIR:

Speaking of which, most Arab-Americans aren't even Muslim, but Christian.

The short end of it is that CAIR does not represent anyone but those who give it big bags full of cash. It's membership dues could barely sustain a family for a year, not to mention an entire organization! So the next time you see CAIR on the TV -- which it really shouldn't be after all these revelations -- just think about the money trail left behind it. Think to yourself: who is supposed to benefit from this garbage? And then change the channel.

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