On 20 November 2021, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hosted this year’s virtual edition of its annual banquet that featured addresses and speeches by a large number of US legislators and high-level government officials, all from the Democratic Party. According to a recap on the CAIR-Chicago website:
This year, our speakers truly showed us how perseverance helps us stay hopeful during a pandemic. Moderated by Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, our speakers led us through a night of dedication and ambition. After some motivating words from our keynote panel, the event closed with some words of faith by Dr. Mazen Kudaimi.
Read the rest here.
The live-streamed event included a keynote speech by Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research at the US Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a group whose Board of Advisors and staff includes prominent figures in the US Muslim Brotherhood. The banquet was also addressed by a large number of Democrat politicians, including:
- Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, serving as the US Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district
- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, serving as the US Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district
- Congressman André Carson, serving as the US Representative for Indiana’s 7th congressional district
- Congressman Jesús G. García, serving as the US Representative for Illinois’s 4th district
- Marie Newman, serving as the US Representative for Illinois’s 3rd congressional district
- JB. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois
- Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota
- Dick Durbin, Democratic Senator for Illinois
According to its 2021 annual report, CAIR-Chicago also received letters of support from multiple state and county officials, including Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Being supported by several local and state Islamic associations and interfaith groups, CAIR-Chicago said it was able to raise more than 272,000 USD. One of the group’s main sponsors was the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, one of the Chicago area’s oldest and largest mosques, and whose imam Kifah Mustapha also delivered a speech as part of the banquet. In 2010, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch reported that the Illinois State Police had revoked the appointment of Kifah Mustapha as its first Muslim chaplain, likely as a result of his ties to the Palestine Committee of the US Muslim Brotherhood. In 2004, the mosque itself was the focus of a Chicago Tribune investigation which revealed that as much as $1 million a year had been raised from mosque members, which was sent to overseas Muslim charities, three of which were involved in financing terrorism.
CAIR is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). It describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group” and was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time. The organization has repeatedly joined other groups with ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood in engaging Muslim citizens to participate in consultative meetings with legislative offices and state senators, highlighting the need to combat Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.