Influence: The Muslim Brotherhood in America

Hamas-Linked CAIR Lawyers-Up Orlando Terrorist’s Family, Mosque Suspects

Even as the FBI has suspended formal ties to CAIR over its association with terrorist groups, CAIR reps are sitting in on FBI interviews with suspects at Mateen's Fort Pierce mosque.

BY Paul Sperry · @paulsperry_ | June 23, 2016

If you are a member of the media or even an investigator with the FBI seeking to question members of the Orlando terrorist’s family or mosque, you will now have to go through a federally listed terrorist front group — the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Calls to Omar Mateen’s father and other relatives are now redirected to a phone number for a CAIR attorney, and another CAIR lawyer is sitting in on FBI interviews with suspects at Mateen’s radical mosque in Fort Pierce, Fla. — even though the FBI has suspended formal ties to CAIR over the group’s association with terrorist groups.

CAIR lawyered up a suspect who was interviewed by two FBI agents at the mosque for about 30 minutes on Friday. The CAIR lawyer, Omar Saleh, also happens to be a longstanding member of that same mosque — the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce — as well as a friend of the Mateen family. Mateen’s sisters, who work at the mosque and own property on the same street, follow local CAIR coordinators on social media.

The small Islamic center has now graduated two deadly terrorists in the past two years, including a worshiper who became the first American suicide bomber in Syria. Local law enforcement authorities call it “a breeding ground” for terrorists.

Saleh, who isn’t charging mosque suspects for his legal help, is now in charge of fielding questions from investigators interested in questioning other suspects in the June 12 terrorist attack. In fact, CAIR is now offering free legal aid to the entire Muslim community in which Mateen lived.

What’s more, CAIR’s legal counsel and communications director for its Florida chapter is acting as the official spokesman for the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. The CAIR official, Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, has minimized Mateen’s involvement in the mosque, claiming he was a fringe member who was quiet and kept to himself.

“He was very unusual,” Ruiz told the local press. “After Friday noon prayers, the older people stay and socialize. He did so very few times.”

CAIR’s Saleh agreed: “He was just a person who came in and out. Most people didn’t know him at all … There’s no way anyone would know” he sought to carry out violent jihad against fellow Americans.

But that doesn’t square with accounts from co-workers and classmates who describe Mateen as an opinionated loudmouth with violently anti-American and homophobic views. And Mateen was hardly on the fringes of the mosque community. As CounterJihad.com first reported, mosque records show his father helped lead the Islamic center as a top officer and board member.

Ruiz, who’s also worked for a Florida-based Islamist group that demonizes homosexuals, additionally claimed Mateen’s attendance at the mosque was “sporadic,” even though others said he regularly prayed there three to four times a week for the past 13 years. In fact, he was seen praying at the Islamic center the night before the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Mateen’s father, who has been placed on a federal terror watch list, is referring calls to Ruiz, claiming the CAIR lawyer is the family’s attorney.

Running interference in terrorism investigations is a familiar pattern for CAIR, which remains on a federal terrorist co-conspirators blacklist.

Last year, CAIR intervened on behalf of the family and mosque of the San Bernardino terrorists, even holding a press conference for family members to help spin their story before investigators had a chance to talk to them. Within hours of the attack, CAIR swooped in and lawyered up key witnesses and suspected co-conspirators in the plot, including relatives and friends of the shooters along with leaders of their mosque.

CAIR officials defended the parents of the lead shooter even as they were placed on a federal terrorist watchlist.

“Those family members would have been key (persons of interest) for those FBI agents and other law enforcement agencies to interview after the immediate fact, to try to find out what the motives were and why this attack took place,” former FBI agent Chad Jenkins said at the time. “Instead, they’re doing public appearances with that organization.”

CAIR officials characterized the San Bernardino terrorist attack as “workplace violence,” adding “This is not a Muslim problem.”

After it became clear that the attack was Islamic jihad, the CAIR official who organized the press conference — Hussam Ayloush of Los Angeles — claimed America was “partly responsible” because of its support of “oppressive regimes around the world that push people over on the edge.”

In a lesser known case, CAIR actually coached a Muslim leader of a Maryland mosque on how to mislead FBI agents interviewing him about suspicious activity related to terrorism at the mosque. The 2004 case was detailed in the book, “Muslim Mafia,” citing internal CAIR records marked “DO NOT RELEASE OUTSIDE CAIR.” As a result of CAIR’s obstruction, the witness withheld critical information from the agents, who were attached to the bureau’s Pittsburgh field office.

Though CAIR publicly claims to cooperate with law enforcement, it privately advises the Muslim community to clam up when FBI agents ask questions — and to even slam the door in their face. In 2011, a California chapter of CAIR distributed a poster to area Muslims advising them to “Build a Wall of Resistance; Don’t Talk to the FBI.” An accompanying graphic showed homeowners slamming the door on federal agents, who were depicted as evil spies.

The FBI says it will no longer conduct outreach with CAIR until “we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS,” a U.S.-designated terrorist group. In 2007, the Justice Department implicated CAIR and one of its co-founders in a Hamas fund-raising case. The courts have denied CAIR’s repeated motions for removal from the federal unindicted co-conspirators list.

When CAIR demanded the U.S. Justice Department remove it from the list, a federal judge wrote in an unsealed ruling: “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR … with Hamas.”  The case was sent to an appellate court which ruled unanimously to keep CAIR on the co-conspirator list because of the overwhelming evidence against it.

Washington-based CAIR is not “an appropriate liaison partner” for the FBI because of evidence linking the organization and its leaders to Hamas, an FBI assistant director said in a letter to the U.S. Senate.

“In light of that evidence, the FBI suspended all formal contacts between CAIR and the FBI,” Richard C. Powers, an assistant director in the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs, explained in the letter.

Yet because the Obama administration has scuttled the ongoing prosecution of CAIR, the group is now free to intervene in terrorism cases and effectively dictate the terms of the FBI’s terrorism investigations.


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