For years, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been the nation’s most effective Islamic group, and its list of accomplishments is long: it has normalized the term “Islamophobia” and the stigmatization and silencing of honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence. It has helped solidify an alliance between the left and Muslim Brotherhood groups in the U.S. and has been instrumental in turning the left against Israel to the extent that leftists will demonstrate for a bloodthirsty jihad terror group. Recently, however, CAIR has hit an unprecedented bad patch that could even mean its downfall. What a shame.
First, CAIR top dog Nihad Awad, apparently feeling (with good reason) untouchable, declared that Hamas’ Oct. 7 jihad massacres in Israel made him “happy.” That was too much even for the Biden regime, which summarily dropped CAIR from the groups that were helping it craft “a national antisemitism strategy.”
It was absurd that CAIR was part of a group supposedly dedicated to combating antisemitism in the first place, but it was downright shocking that the Biden regime, which is worried about the breakdown of its coalition with far-left groups over its show of support for Israel, would risk increasing the ire of those groups by doing something so “Islamophobic” as severing ties with CAIR.
And now CAIR is facing other troubles as well: it is being sued by one of its own former employees, and in the course of a bitter, protracted dispute, its toxic institutional subculture has been revealed. The Star Tribune reported Friday that CAIR and Lori Saroya, who was the head of its Minnesota chapter for nine years and is now a city council member in Blaine, Minn., are “locked in an ongoing, bitter legal dispute that has seen accusations lobbed ranging from defamation to cyberstalking and Islamophobic extremism.”
“Islamophobic extremism” from the former head of a CAIR chapter? It seems unbelievable, and that’s only because it is. But CAIR went all in on accusing the hijab-wearing Saroya of being “Islamophobic.” The Star Tribune adds that CAIR issued a press release in Jan. 2022 in which they “accused Saroya of using anonymous email and social media accounts to harass CAIR employees and spread ‘Islamophobic tropes and conspiracy theories’ about the organization.”
Countering all this in her civil complaint, Saroya maintains that CAIR’s accusations are “outrageously false,” and that certainly seems to be the case. The “Islamophobia” accusations against a Sharia-adherent Muslim woman appear to be a smokescreen for what Saroya called CAIR’s “unfortunate record of sanctioning and indulging serious allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination within its organization, retaliating against women who raise these issues and engaging in profoundly dishonest conduct vis a vis the public, the Muslim-American Community and even its own Board.” She added, “CAIR’s defamatory statements about me were intended to intimidate not just me but others like me.”
All this comes in the wake of Saroya’s earlier allegations that CAIR “maintains a culture of misogyny” and “has been dishonest and misleading with its donors, whose contributions it has frequently misused for the purpose of silencing critics.” She also stated that CAIR’s “leadership has been dishonest with and breached its fiduciary duties to the CAIR Board, that it has violated basic rules of good governance and mismanaged the enterprise, all to the detriment of the causes about which it professes to care.”
As if that weren’t enough, Saroya also charged that CAIR’s national Executive Director Nihad Awad engaged in “a pattern of unwelcome and highly inappropriate conduct” toward her. Even after she rejected him, “Days later he continued this conduct, following her around the site of a conference, insisting on sitting next to her every time she moved to a different seat, and pursuing her at the conference.” For Saroya, this was part of a “toxic culture at the highest levels of the organization and at certain CAIR chapters overseen by CAIR, a culture which was exacerbated by a culture of impunity.”
Explaining why all this hadn’t come out before, Saroya said that CAIR “spends substantial amounts of donors’ money in order to threaten, intimidate, and sue those who have the courage to speak about CAIR’s culture of discrimination and misogyny.” Hard to believe? Not in the slightest degree.
Saroya’s legal filing contains a great deal more that should worry Awad and company. At last, this sinister gang that traffics so freely in intimidation appears to have encountered someone who refuses to be intimidated. It could mean, at long last, the definitive end of its baneful influence.