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by Chuck DeVore | Irvine An interesting kerfuffle has arisen in my hometown of Irvine over Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and city council candidate, Todd Gallinger, who provides legal immigration counsel to the California Chapter of CAIR. In a September 23 blog entitled “Choi’s Shameful Smear” on the liberal Democrat blogger Dan Chmielewski takes Republican Irvine City Councilman Dr. Steven Choi to task for calling CAIR an “Islamic terrorist group.” Mr. Chmielewski then cuts and pastes a large portion of CAIR’s Orange County website to bolster his claim that CAIR is not a terrorist organization, including, “CAIR condemns all acts of violence against civilians by any individual, group or state.” Chmielewski then writes of Choi, “This is the sort of divide the community approach the people on this side of the ticket have tried to do the past few elections in Irvine. It’s hate speech coming from elected officials and candidates for office against Muslims…” I have a different view – perhaps one a little more nuanced than Dr. Choi’s – but then, Councilmember Choi is running for reelection against CAIR-affiliated Mr. Gallinger and election season does tend to produce bold, black and white statements for public consumption. I spent 24 years in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer with a top secret clearance. I also studied Arabic and spent half a year at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. I’ve been to Israel four times, been shot at in Lebanon, and have traveled the West Bank. As such, I know a few things about Islam, CAIR, HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. I have no doubt that the local chapter of CAIR is filled with many caring people and diligent citizens – that said, I also have no doubt that CAIR has had its share of members who have supported terrorism and have raised money for terror (not too dissimilar to Irish-American groups in Boston who raised money for the IRA to attack the British in Northern Ireland). In this light, it is very interesting to examine the recent interview on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website “Amlolammah” as reported by the BBC of Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Executive Director. Of 9/11, Awad said, “…we should not blame the United States alone for the 11 September 2001 attacks, but we should also blame the perpetrators.” That Awad levels any blame on America for the terror attacks of 9/11 is revealing as such is the beginning of a moral equivalency argument, “Al-Qaeda and America are both at fault…” And moral equivalency can lead to all kinds of rationalizations. With this in mind, it is not surprising that just after 9/11 CAIR’s website was asking for money for Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). HLS is a HAMAS-front group. HAMAS is the Palestinian terror group that now runs the Gaza Strip. Mohammed Habib, the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy chief, acknowledged recently that there is a link between the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR. Federal prosecutors have been saying this for sometime in the HAMAS financial support case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) when they named CAIR as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee.” The “Palestine Committee” is another name for HAMAS. Federal prosecutors clearly see CAIR as part of the HAMAS financial support umbrella. As with HAMAS, CAIR’s Awad denies the right of the state of Israel to exist. Now, one can argue that this is a legitimate political view to hold in the context of American political discourse – not, however, when acting upon that view leads one to donate money to armed groups seeking to make the view a bloody and genocidal reality. About the Presidential election, Awad revealingly told his Egyptian interviewers that he favors Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain – of course, Awad wants more than Obama appears willing to give, saying, “Public opinion polls among American Muslims point out that they support Obama more than they support McCain although Obama’s recent statements were unsatisfying. The Democrats should be more careful and should not sacrifice the votes of the Muslims.” Awad’s equivocation on Sen. Obama was based on Obama’s early June speech to the members of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in which he supported Israel and voiced approval of a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Obama later flip-flopped after his speech was panned by Muslim critics. Lastly, whatever one thinks of Mr. Chmielewski’s assertion that Dr. Choi was improperly injecting religion into politics in his critique of Mr. Gallinger and CAIR, it is relevant to note in this discussion that none other than CAIR’s own Chairman Emeritus, Omar Ahmed, said the Muslim holy book, the Koran, should be the “highest authority in America, and the Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” One can only imagine Mr. Chmielewski’s outrage at council candidate Choi if Choi uttered such about the Christian faith. If you are still not convinced about the connections between CAIR and HAMAS, then don’t take my word for it, believe liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer who, in late 2006, took back an award she gave to CAIR official Basim Elkarra after she learned about Mr. Elkarra’s CAIR involvement. Sen. Boxer herself “expressed concern” about CAIR’s actions and past statements while her press secretary said that CAIR “gives aid to international terrorist groups.” So, could Councilman Choi and Sen. Boxer be right and Mr. Chmielewski be wrong about CAIR and whether Mr. Gallinger’s close connection with them should be a matter of public discourse? It looks like it will be up to the voters of Irvine to decide on November 4. CRO Chuck DeVore represents 450,000 people in the California State Assembly in coastal Orange County. He retired from the Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. From 1986 to 1988 he was a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon. DeVore co-authored China Attacks with Steven Mosher. The book was translated into Chinese for sale in Taiwan. See:

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