The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-derived “civil rights” group, “repeated its defense of freedom of speech” in a baffling January 7 press release that “condemned” the Paris jihadist Charlie Hebdo massacre. A trip down a bad memory lane, though, is necessary in order to evaluate critically CAIR’s commitment to free speech rights with proverbial grains of salt equivalent to the Dead Sea’s renowned salinity.
CAIR, an unindicted terrorism coconspirator, and “defense of freedom of speech” simply do not match. CAIR, for example, has unsuccessfully tried to stop critical commentary on Islam in an American public library and school. CAIR has also harassed a Michigan individual who opposed a mosque construction with frivolous subpoenas, ultimately quashed. One 2012 article on the CAIR-Chicago affiliate website discussed how the First Amendment has “been manipulated to make America the catalyst for unjust hate.”
Accordingly, CAIR executive director Nihad Awad sounded an uncertain free speech trumpet when presenting the press release that noted Charlie Hebdo’s “derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad.” Awad equated “extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions,” placing thereby Charlie Hebdo’s victims on a level with their murderers.
Similar analysis had appeared in a 2006 CAIR press release concerning the Danish cartoons, even as CAIR, the 2015 press release recalled, “rejected the sometimes violent response to Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.”
“We all value freedom of expression,” Awad had written to the Danish ambassador in 2006. “But we should also use good judgment and common sense to avoid actions” that are “intentionally insulting” or “promote hatred”…