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CAIR's cops

The FBI won't work with a controversial Islamic group, but the LAPD is fostering close ties

Issue: "Back to School," Aug. 27, 2011

The FBI severed ties with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) several years ago, citing connections to terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is charting a decidedly different course-embracing and commending CAIR-and several Christian leaders in southern California are blowing the whistle.

L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca praised CAIR during a video message sent to the organization, thanking its members for their friendship and commending them for their exceptional representation of the Muslim community in America. The Los Angeles Police Department followed suit during an event at the Islamic Center of Southern California in May when Deputy Chief Michael Downing told a reporter that Americans shouldn't "demonize" the Muslim Brotherhood since the group has evolved and changed since its inception.

The FBI, however, has refused to work directly with CAIR's national office in Washington or any of its 30-plus local chapters across the nation since the group was named an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2007. During testimony on Capitol Hill in March, FBI Director Robert Mueller explained that the agency has "no formal relationship with CAIR because of concerns with the national leadership."

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Steven Klein, founder of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, and Coptic Christian activist Joseph Nasralla joined forces on July 29 for a demonstration in Los Angeles against Sheriff Baca, calling on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to fire Baca. "I fled to America with my family because of the violence directed against me because of my Christian faith," said Nasralla, founder of The Way TV satellite network. "Sheriff Baca must be fired and the County should apologize to all of us who have suffered at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood."

This isn't the first time that critics have questioned Baca's unequivocal support of CAIR. Baca testified before Congress at a Muslim radicalization hearing in March and was challenged by U.S. Rep. Peter Cravaack, R-Minn., to explain his cozy association with CAIR. "Basically, you're dealing with a terrorist organization. I'm trying to get you to understand that they might be using you, sir, to try to implement their goals," Cravaack said. Baca replied by challenging the FBI to bring any charges to court.

"Baca and the LAPD have allowed themselves to become brainwashed, thinking that these folks have evolved into Mr. Rogers, into a kinder and gentler people," Klein told me.

Since 2006, Baca has created two Muslim outreach programs (one is funded by taxpayers) designed to create trust within the local Muslim community and hire law enforcement officers Muslims can identity with. He was elected to a fourth term as sheriff last year and has been criticized for accepting gifts, adding friends to the payroll, and releasing inmates from the Los Angeles County Jail.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman and co-founder of CAIR, stated in 2003 that if Muslims were to become a majority in the United States they would endeavor to replace the Constitution with Islamic law.

Listen to Jill Nelson discuss the L.A. county sheriff's relationship with CAIR on The World and Everything in It.


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