Middle East studies in the News
Judge Disallows References to CAIR-Hamas Ties in Suit
by Meira Svirsky
In a dangerous and bizarre precedent, a federal judge disallowed references to the Council on American Islamic Relations' (CAIR) ties to Hamas in a lawsuit brought by a civil liberty group against the San Diego Unified School District, reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
However, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant did allow references to CAIR's hostility towards Israel and allegations that CAIR "promotes discriminatory bias against non-Muslim students on the basis of their religion."
The case involves a suit brought by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) against the school district for instituting an anti-Islamophobia/anti-bullying program designed by CAIR.
The suit charges that the program is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.
Since the program is solely about Muslims students, the FCDF charges that it establishes them "as a privileged group within the school community." Moreover, the suit contends that CAIR, the designers of the program, is an organization that is "intrinsically religious in nature." In addition, the suit charges that CAIR has "prioritized public schools as ground zero to advance its religious mission."
This means, according to the FCDF, that the school district has given "a divisive religious group ... unprecedented decision-making authority" in a public school program – a violation, they claim, of the Establishment Clause.
The FCDF was right to make reference to CAIR's well-documented ties to Hamas to prove their case. Hamas is not "just" a terrorist organization, but rather it is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamistorganization.
Islamist organizations by definition discriminate against non-Muslims by promoting a world governing by an Islamic caliphate and ruled by sharia law – laws which make non-Muslims second-class citizens.
Yet the judge ruled that references to CAIR's ties with Hamas were not pertinent to the case and were "likely intended to 'besmirch'" the school district for their ties with CAIR. (In fact, she called the references "impertinent, immaterial and scandalous.")
It is bizarre, however, that the judge did allow references to CAIR's hostility towards Israel (ostensibly because that could be coming from anti-Semitism) and allegations that CAIR "promotes discriminatory bias against non-Muslim students on the basis of their religion."
While the ruling is a setback for the FCDF, to prove the above allegations – that CAIR promotes discriminatory bias against non-Muslim students on the basis of their religion – the FCDF's lawyers need only prove that CAIR is an Islamist organization, which should not be difficult.
For example, in the fall of 2014, CAIR's founder and executive director Nihad Awad signed a letter to ISISrebutting the theological arguments behind their actions. However, the letter, which was also signed by 126 international Muslim leaders and scholars (including other top American Muslim leaders), endorsed the goal of the Islamic State of rebuilding the caliphate and instituting sharia governance, including its brutal hudud punishments.
That goal – which is the definition of Islamism – is discriminatory because of how such a society would treat non-Muslims.
Many other examples of CAIR's support of Islamist goals and leaders exist (a slew can be found by simply searching for the worlds "CAIR Islamist" on the Clarion Project's website).
The FBI and the Justice Department have both banned CAIR as an outreach partner because of their Islamist agenda and ties to Hamas and terror funding. The San Diego Unified School District should also not be partnering with them.
It is a scandalous waste of time and resources of civil liberties groups and the American court system to have to bring suits like this to dissolve such partnerships. It is even more unfortunate that a group like CAIR has been able to push its agenda on impressionable, young American students.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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