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CAIR vs. the NYPD

The Wahhabi lobby attacks.

12:00 AM, Apr 11, 2008 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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This month, the Wahhabi lobby plans to drop its manifesto of grievances on Commissioner Kelly, on April 17. In minutes of a meeting held in New York on March 3, officials of CAIR present included Faiza Ali, Aliya Latif, and Omar Mohammadi, joined by Islamist agitator Syed Z. Sayeed, religious adviser to the Saudi-backed Muslim Students Association at Columbia University. They noted that the NYPD had asked for a detailed reply to the report. The participants at the March 3 get-together also observed that while they would prepare such a response, CAIR itself has financed and is working on a more thorough text designated its "long-term analysis/alternative model of radicalization."

Perhaps the most remarkable detail about the March 3 conclave was the leading role taken in it by Debbie Almontaser, a New York resident who last attracted attention as the front-person for a middle-and-high magnet school to be established in New York, the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). KGIA was intended as a special institution emphasizing an Arabic language curriculum and related studies, but its proponents were accused of trying to establish an "intifada academy." Nevertheless, when Almontaser came under scrutiny as the project head she was defended by many in New York as a faultless moderate. Her involvement in CAIR's counter-attack on the NYPD demonstrates otherwise: her assignment in dealing with NYPD was to organize an online discussion group for input into the Community Statement.

Such would not be a minor responsibility, and shows that she enjoyed the full confidence of the CAIR commissars. Debbie Almontaser appears to be a classic "stealth Islamist," and KGIA looks like just the kind of radicalizing effort it was said to be by its critics. Almontaser resigned from her position as head of KGIA last August, but now claims she was forced out, and is pursuing a legal complaint to regain her place at the school. KGIA has been promised housing in an elementary school in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, but its future is little more certain than that of Almontaser's own career.

On April 8, 2008, Aisha H.L. Al-Adawiya of a New York group calling itself Women in Islam Inc. called for signatures, due April 14, on the complaining screed to be presented to Commissioner Kelly next week. Shia Muslim community leaders in New York have expressed their opposition to the campaign and their support for the police, and have refused to sign the letter.

Here is a preferred outcome for this absurd contretemps:

* The New York Police Department should be congratulated, not assailed, for publishing a serious analysis of radical Islam in the West.

* The Islamist organizations should accept that if they disagree with the views in the NYPD document they should do so in a polite, respectful manner, without issuing self-righteous demands or irresponsible charges. Of course, they won't agree to such a thing. One might even argue that the NYPD and the anti-Islamists, not the Islamists, have been "profiled"--by the radicals.

* Debbie Almontaser should quit her masquerade as a moderate and her non-Muslim enablers should end their naïve defense of her alleged mainstream outlook.

* And, finally, New York police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly should inform the aggrieved extremists, with maximum politeness, that he will spend a minimum of time listening to them. He should then file their laborious plea in favor of extremist ideology where it belongs.

Stephen Schwartz's latest book, The Other Islam: Sufism And the Road to Global Harmony, will be published by Doubleday this summer.