Wednesday, 9 November 2011

CAIR Claims 2 Metro Somali Leaders are Anti-Muslim Read more: CAIR Claims 2 Metro Somali Leaders are Anti-Muslim

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Uploaded by YouCruising on Nov 9, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is blasting two high-profile leaders in the metro Somali community as anti-Muslim ahead of a conference with police departments to discuss Somali culture -- and the public spat is testing the limits of tolerance.

The controversial claim comes from a group that is no stranger to controversy itself, and the conflict centers over who speaks for the local Somali community, which is a complicated mesh of 15 separate groups with deep cultural and religious divides.

"I'm not anti-Muslim," said Omar Jamal. "I'm anti-Islamic terrorism."

Omar Jamal and Abdi Bihi were the first to blow the whistle on the effort to recruit Minnesotan Somalis for terrorism in Somalia. Three of the young men who disappeared from Minneapolis would later become suicide bombers in Kenya and Somalia for the terror group al-Shabaab.

That stance earned them a seat on CAIR's bad side, and the group recently sent a letter attacking both men's education and experience while asking local police departments to boycott a Thursday conference where the two will be keynote speakers.

"These individuals, who have no credibility in the Somali community, are going to be educating law enforcement," the letter read in part.

Yet, both men have been consulted by government leaders in the past. Jamal is now a United Nations representative of the Somali government. Jamal has also spoken before the National Press Club and has been sought after as a spokesman for the Somali community.

Bihi testified before Congress after his nephew was recruited by al-Shabaab and later died in Somalia, and was featured in a glowing profile by the Washington Post.

In an effort to appease CAIR, former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher -- who organized the event -- said he invited the group to speak at the conference as well, but they declined.

"They refused and said they would not share the stage with Mr. Bihi and Mr. Jamal," Fletcher said. "I said, 'Well, that's what America is. Sharing the stage, sharing of ideas.'"

In a way, that invitation in light of the controversy is ironic because up until a few years ago, the FBI wouldn't even have contact with CAIR because it was considered by some to be a front for Hamas -- and in regards to the radicalization of young Minnesota men, the group's has never taken a public stance.

Fletcher said CAIR is still welcome at the conference, and will save seats for the group.

"It's amazing that a group that preaches tolerance would be so intolerant of others -- especially about a conference that hasn't happened," Fletcher said.

It's also worth noting that there is not a single Somali man or woman on CAIR's board, but they still are trying to speak for the community -- and influence who else can.

CAIR spokesperson Munazza Humayun told FOX 9 News not a single Minnesota CAIR board member is Somali, although the board is currently considering a Somali member. But subsequently, CAIR President Lori Saroya later called FOX 9 to dispute that, but offered no specifics.

Read more: CAIR Claims 2 Metro Somali Leaders are Anti-Muslim

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