Foreign Coordination

Date: June 22, 2006

Description: Unclassified State Department Memo from American Embassy in Riyadh to Secretary of State in Washington, DC

Full Text:

     P 281502Z JUN 06
     FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
     TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9065
     INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
     AMCONSUL JEDDAH

     UNCLAS RIYADH 005172
     SENSITIVE

     E.O. 12958: N/A
     TAGS: SCUL, KDEM, KISL, PGOV, PHUM, SOCI, SA
     SUBJECT: VISIT BY COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS
     (CAIR) TO SAUDI ARABIA
     REF: ABU DHABI 2127

       1.(U) Following up on a similar visit to the UAE in May
     (reftel), a delegation from the U.S.-based Council on
     American Islamic Relations (CAIR) visited the Kingdom of
     Saudi Arabia (KSA) in June. On June 22 the group paid a
     courtesy call on the Embassy to discuss the organization's
     issues and outreach strategies. In the Ambassador's absence,
     DCM received the group, along with the PA Counselor and
     Poloff (notetaker).
       2.(SBU) Prior to coming to Riyadh, the CAIR group visited
     Mecca and Jeddah. Although they apparently were not received
     at the highest levels of the SAG, the group assured the
     Embassy that ``King Abdullah knows CAIR very well'' and
     receives regular updates on the group's projects. After
     recalling the success of their visit to the UAE in May, the
     group predicted that they would be back in the region by fall
     to visit Kuwait and Qatar. The group also mentioned that they
     had been well-received in Washington by senior State
     Department officials, including Secretary Rice and
     Undersecretary Hughes.
       3.(U) The core delegation consisted of CAIR Board Chairman
     Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Executive Director Nihad Awad, and
     Communications Director Cary (Ibrahim) Hooper. Accompanying
     them were former U.S. Representative Paul Findley and Don
     Myers, a former DoD official now with Hill and Knowlton
     public relations.
       4.(U) During their hour-long meeting in the Embassy, the
     group presented various projects that CAIR is working on to
     counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S.
     (``Islamophobia''), linking their work to concern over
     growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. One of the
     current CAIR projects they discussed was the presentation of
     ``accurate books about Islam'' to schools and libraries in
     the U.S.
       5.(SBU) Mr. Don Myers, representing Hill and Knowlton, gave
     a short demonstration of a CAIR-funded media campaign to
     support CAIR's overall information outreach effort. According
     to Myers, this private campaign will emphasize both
     grassroots outreach to improve American non-Muslim
     understanding of Muslims and the encouragement of political
     engagement by American Muslims. The multi-year broadcast and
     print campaign is to be entitled ``Let the Conversation
     Begin'' and is aimed at countering negative stereotypes about
     Muslims within the broad American public.
       6.(SBU) One admitted reason for the group's current visit
     to the KSA was to solicit $50 million in governmental and
     non-governmental contributions. PA Counselor noted that
     private outreach activities can provide valuable support to
     USG efforts to build mutual understanding overseas but
     cautioned that USG Public Diplomacy (PD) funds cannot be used
     or associated with efforts to target American audiences. The
     delegation was interested to hear of the Embassy's PD
     exchange and activities within the KSA and offered to help
     support them in any appropriate way. The group did not share,
     however, any details of their success or lack thereof in
     fundraising within the KSA.
       Oberwetter.

Source(s):

http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/270.pdf

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2009/wolf-sbu.html

Previous post:

Next post: