Big Government, April 18, 2010
On April 5 the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release urging GOP leaders to “insist” that Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC) withdraw support from the non-profit grassroots advocacy organization ACT! for America. CAIR referred to ACT! for America, one of the largest national security (and pro-American and pro-Israel) citizens organizations in the United States, as an “anti-Islam hate group.”
As we at the Center for Security Policy have reported previously at Big Government, we believe – with the backup evidence to prove it at CAIRObservatory.org – that CAIR has been operating as an unregistered foreign agent, as defined by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). FARA § 611 (o) states that foreign agents who engage in any activity to “influence any agency or official of the Government of the United States or any section of the public within the United States” must register as a foreign agent and report such activity to the Department of Justice. Therefore as Rep. Myrick and GOP leaders are “officials of the government of the United States,” CAIR’s attempt to influence their conduct and associations in this way is a clear violation of the FARA statute.
On April 13 CAIR-Tampa echoed the CAIR national office message with this action alert and directed readers to a petition calling for 5,000 signatures condemning the GOP and Myrick for associating with ACT! for America. CAIR could only find a single spokesperson to prop up their attack on ACT! For America, a certain Reverend Wilifred Allen-Faiella of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove, FL. The CAIR action alert quotes from her letter which echoes, word for word, CAIR’s talking points from their smear campaign:
“As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who preached love for all I am appalled that a Congresswoman can support a hate-filled group such as “Act for America”. Their statements about Muslims constitute hate speech and no responsible leader of this country founded on the principles that all are created equal should associate herself with such an anti-American group.”
Big mistake in spokepersons, CAIR.
The question is open as to whether CAIR bothered to investigate Allen-Faiella’s questionable background before they chose her to be their sole spokeperson, since she is best known for her starring role in a well-publicized 2004 Miami scandal when she allowed a convicted pedophile to volunteer at the thrift shop next to her church’s K-6 elementary school. On November 4, 2004 the Miami New Times reported that the volunteer, church member Steven Sypnieski, told the pastor in a “confidential pastoral setting” that he “had some problems in his past.” Apparently Allen-Faiella didn’t bother to check Sypnieski’s criminal record, easily accessible online. In 1992 Sypnieski was arrested by police for sexual battery on an 8-year-old boy he was babysitting, according to the arrest affidavit. He gave a confession and pleaded guilty to ‘custodial sexual battery.’ Astoundingly, he was sentenced only to ten years probation.
In October, 2003 – 11 years after the confession, just after his probation sentence ended – Sypnieski was brought into the Church School’s thrift shop as a volunteer by Allen-Faiella. Allen-Faiella admitted “I was made aware of his record on the sixteenth of December [a Tuesday in 2003],” but because the Christmas break was to begin Friday, she stated that “I intended to take care of the situation as soon as we got back. In fact I put it on the calendar for January 7 to talk with my priest assistant how we were going to handle the matter.” According to the Miami New Times, “When parents discovered the man’s criminal record, Allen-Faiella failed to take immediate action, so the school’s principal, Carol Shabe, forcefully confronted the pastor, demanding that the man’s school access be revoked at once….” According to the report, the school principal had to ask Allen-Faiella two more times to take Sypnieski’s keys away from him before Allen-Faiella would take action. Parents and donors withdrew support for the school in reaction to the pastor’s behavior; and Pastor Allen-Faiella fired the school principal Carol Shabe later that year for “divisiveness.”
Angry parents described Allen-Faiella as “intransigent and unresponsive.” Indeed, the pastor told the Miami newspaper “I think it’s being blown totally out of proportion… The appropriate people knew about it. No big deal was made about it. And suddenly it became a big issue.” According to the Miami New Times:
“Allen-Faiella also says that following Sypnieski’s dismissal, she’s learned his probation had ended prior to him volunteering, and that she’d read something indicating ‘he was not considered a criminal threat to the community.’ (She can’t recall where she saw the information.) Had she known these things earlier, would she have allowed Sypnieski to work at the parish? ‘That’s a moot point now,’ she responds.”
So let’s sum up. We assert that CAIR is an unregistered foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (see our report here at CAIRObservatory.org). This particular influence operation by CAIR targeted Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC), using a related influence operation to smear a national grassroots organization – ACT! For America, with nearly 80,000 members and 380 chapters – as “hate-filled…anti-American.” And the sole spokesperson that CAIR-Tampa could find to support their smear campaign is best known for her earlier tolerance for a convicted pedophile, for whom she permitted potential access to children in her care, according to news reports in the mainstream newspaper Miami New Times. We’ve sent the Reverend Wilifred Allen-Faiella a letter, posted below, to alert her that when CAIR chose her as a spokesperson, she was being targeted in a possible unreported political influence operation. We urge her in the letter to report the details to FARA.
And who are the foreign principals – individuals, companies, organizations, government offices – bankrolling CAIR’s smear campaign using that most tolerant (of pedophiles at least) Reverend Allen-Faiella? A major one is the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), who gave CAIR $325,000 in 2007 – just part of the $6.6 million in cash and loans given to CAIR by foreign principals based in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iran. The OIC’s Ten Year Plan demands “deterrent punishments” for any alleged acts of so-called “Islamophobia” in non-Muslim countries.
These CAIR smear campaigns – against Congresswoman Myrick, and against ACT! For America – are only two of CAIR’s many political influence operations, targeting critics of CAIR’s Muslim Brotherhood links and critics of CAIR’s attempted enforcement of Shariah Law to silence free speech. Neither of these influence operations has been reported to the FARA office by CAIR as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
And we think that’s against the law.