IslamismJanuary 27 2023, 8:56 am

CAIR Calls on Biden Administration to Cease Dissemination of FBI’s “Racist” No-Fly List

On Jan­u­ary 24, 2023, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR) pub­lished a state­ment call­ing on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to stop the dis­sem­i­na­tion of two secret ter­ror­ism watch­lists uti­lized by the US gov­ern­ment, alleg­ing they dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly tar­get the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. Accord­ing to the state­ment on the CAIR website:

The Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), the nation’s largest Mus­lim civ­il rights and advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, today called on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to sus­pend the FBI’s dis­sem­i­na­tion of two of their secret lists, which leaked copies show to be “almost entire­ly lists of Ara­bic and Mus­lim names.” On Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 20, a Swiss hack­er that goes by the moniker “maia” report­ed­ly gained access to copies of the No-Fly List and Selectee List.

Read the rest here.

On Jan­u­ary 20, 2023, out­dat­ed ver­sions of the lists were obtained by a Swiss hack­er who exploit­ed secu­ri­ty flaws on the web­site of region­al Amer­i­can air­line Com­muteAir, which had left them on a data serv­er exposed to the pub­lic inter­net. They con­tained 1.5 mil­lion data points on indi­vid­u­als deemed to pose a risk to US nation­al secu­ri­ty. They notably includ­ed mul­ti­ple alias­es of indi­vid­ual per­sons, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced the total num­ber of entries. On the list were sev­er­al promi­nent fig­ures, includ­ing the recent­ly freed Russ­ian arms deal­er Vik­tor Bout, along with over 16 of his poten­tial alias­es. The lists are sent out to gov­ern­ments, law enforce­ment agen­cies, and com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions world­wide facil­i­tat­ing trav­el to the US. CAIR  said that its attor­neys had obtained copies and claimed the names were almost entire­ly of Ara­bic and Mus­lim, com­pris­ing what CAIR calls “a vast Mus­lim reg­istry deployed against Mus­lims all over the world.” Ques­tion­ing the No-Fly List’s effi­ca­cy, CAIR Civ­il Rights Direc­tor Lena Mas­ri said, “This racist list serves no use­ful pur­pose. It has done noth­ing over its two-decade exis­tence to make us safer or stop terrorism.”

CAIR has a his­to­ry of fight­ing the use of the No-Fly List, alleg­ing it deprived peo­ple of their right to trav­el with­out pre­sent­ing con­crete evi­dence against them. In 2017, CAIR suc­cess­ful­ly filed a law­suit against the FBI’s Ter­ror­ist Screen­ing Cen­ter and Trans­porta­tion Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (TSA) on behalf of a Utah imam who had been barred from enter­ing the coun­try. A Jan­u­ary 2023 report lay­ing out CAIR’s leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties demand­ed greater con­gres­sion­al over­sight and com­mit­tee hear­ings focused on the FBI’s Ter­ror­ism Screen­ing Data­base (TSDB), which CAIR incor­rect­ly described as “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.”

CAIR describes itself as “a grass­roots civ­il rights and advo­ca­cy group and as “Amer­i­ca’s largest Islam­ic civ­il lib­er­ties group.” It was found­ed in 1994 by three offi­cers of the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion of Pales­tine, part of the US Hamas infra­struc­ture at that time. Doc­u­ments dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ter­ror­ism tri­al of the Holy Land Foun­da­tion con­firmed that the founders and cur­rent lead­ers of CAIR were part of the Pales­tine Com­mit­tee of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that CAIR itself is part of the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The orga­ni­za­tion is led by Nihad Awad, its long­stand­ing Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and one of the three founders. Recent­ly, CAIR has been gen­er­al­ly por­trayed in the media as a Mus­lim civ­il rights group. CAIR has a his­to­ry of defend­ing indi­vid­u­als accused of ter­ror­ism by the US gov­ern­ment, often label­ing such pros­e­cu­tions a “war on Islam.”

For more on CAIR, go here.




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