Political Influence Operations
Date: June 28, 2002
COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS
Governmental Affairs Department
Semiannual Report – June 2002
Note: The title of the report is mislabeled “June 2001” but it is clear by the subject matter and the submission date that the report refers to the first half of 2002.
“Objective 1: Influence the formulation and execution of American domestic and international policy based on the concerns and values of the American Muslim community.
The first six months of 2002 saw a rise in the number of meetings and contact with government agencies and congressional offices. In January CAIR delivered testimony on racial profiling at a ‘rump’ hearing called by Rep. John Conyers, and meetings and calls to offices of members of the House Judiciary Committee on this and related issues. We continued to highlight the concerns about the treatment of detainees and their due process rights and the effect of ‘voluntary’ interviews on the American Muslim community and its relation with government officials.
During this period we met with Frank Boyd, head of the DOJ Civil Rights Department, and Frank Mueller, Director of the FBI and the Inspector General of the Office of Inspector General for DOJ, an independent auditing body that is currently investigating charges of mistreatment of detainees at the Passaic and Brooklyn INS detention centers. We also met with members ofthe DOT Transportation Security Agency to discuss the issues of watch lists and racial profiling of American Muslims. Finally, we met with the head ofthe Civil Rights Unit and other staff in the USDA to discuss denial of food stamp privileges among a number of Somali grocery stores…
We met with a number of congressional offices, especially in the senate, to discuss the Treasury Department raids on American Muslim homes, businesses and institutions. In these meetings we argued that the targets ofthe raids had not been afforded basic due process protections, especially the right to learn the nature of accusations and suspicions leveled against them. We tied these raids into the pattern of due process denial for detainees, interviewees, and the three Muslim charities whose assets have been frozen and asked for greater congressional oversight of Administration actions against the American Muslim community. On international issues, CAIR weighed in heavily regarding American policy in the Middle East, meeting with representatives ofthe State Department on a number of occasions and corresponding with State, the White House Office and Congressional offices to argue for a more balanced US policy in the Middle East. This contact increased during the major Israeli offensive in the West Bank. We also began to develop ties and resources to begin a major effort to highlight the threat of fundamentalist Hindu nationalism in India, especially in the state of Gujarat. We compiled information and began contacting congressional offices, especially senators of the Foreign Relations subcomitte on South Asian affairs.”
“In the first three months of this year CAIR, AMC and MP AC governmental relations staff regularly met or spoke by phone about issues and priorities, in an effort to better coordinate the activities of these organizations. These meetings ended when Ray Busch left AMC and Mahdi Bray left MPAC. We plan to revive these conversations, but have not yet done so. I also frequently talked with Majed Jafari of AAI on lobbying issues, and we have coordinated our lobbying efforts on Palestine and Syria, shared information and consulted each other frequently. CAIR also organized three meetings of governmental relations staff from American Muslim and Arab organizations in order to share information and establish better working relationships between the organizations.
“Finally, CAIR was approached by Conoco Oil about working together on the issue of sanctions against Iran. Discussions were formal (ed: “informal”?) until the introduction of the Syrian Accountability Act of 2002, when a joint interest in opposing these sanctions helped CAIR and Conoco to begin consulting more regularly on the status of this bill and efforts to defeat it. This bill is an AIPAC inspired resolution that is part of a strategy that aims to keep Arab states off-balance and on the defensive, and thereby strengthen the position of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians.”
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