The prisons have become the best breeding grounds for jihad recruits. What is incompetent and flagrantly dangerous is that CAIR and its recently retired chairman emeritus, Omar Ahmad, were named unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land trial.
These people should be fired. Sloppy and stupid.
Both Ahmad and CAIR's current executive director, Nihad Awad, were revealed as having been active participants in Hamas-related meetings in the United States. But Washington State prison officials have given no indication thus far that CAIR's questionable record will disqualify it from sending volunteers into state prisons.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) chapter in Washington State is seeking religious Muslim volunteers to work with state prison inmates. That has veteran corrections official Patrick Dunleavy concerned that the program could result in the radicalization of prisoners and create security problems.
It's not the presence of Muslim volunteers, but the track record of the people and organization involved.
Syed Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington CAIR chapter, issued an Internet call last week saying that "Muslim volunteers" are "direly needed in the 20 or so state institutions across our state to lead study/discussion/halaqah sessions for inmates, lead prayers and just generally insure that inmates are receiving the services they need."
CAIR's ties to Hamas and its chronic support for alleged terrorists and their financiers might give corrections officials pause about the wisdom of such a relationship with the organization. Those ties appear to be the focus of a federal grand jury investigation in Washington, D.C. Bukhari's own statements might add to that concern:
- In December 2009, the Seattle Weekly reported that Bukhari was discouraging Seattle-area Muslims from cooperating with the FBI's efforts to investigate Al-Shabaab terrorist recruitment. "There's nothing to gain from talking to law enforcement," he said. "I can't emphasize enough…you have the right to remain silent, so use it."
- In May 2009, Bukhari objected to a racial awareness program produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, claiming the group has "an anti-Muslim agenda." Bukhari and CAIR said the Wiesenthal Center should be disqualified from training Seattle police because of the organization's role in producing "Ever Again," a film on anti-Semitism and European Jihadists.
- At a CAIR-Washington January 24, 2009 banquet, Bukhari refused to condemn terrorism:
"How many of you are asked, 'why don't you condemn, I won't use the 'T' word. I call it 'political violence.' I assure you that every Muslim organization has condemned 'political violence.'"
- In May 2008, Bukhari and other CAIR officials met with the chief of the Port of Seattle to express their concerns about a course entitled "The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World," conducted by Security Solutions International. They complained that the course, which claimed to be based on "Israeli experience" fighting terrorism, would "promote stereotypes and religious and ethnic profiling."
Such statements set off alarm bells with Dunleavy, who spent 26 years working in New York State's Department of Correctional Services. In that role, he witnessed first-hand the radicalization of inmates. Radical Islamists like Warith Deen Umar were placed in charge of hiring prison imams, and terrorists like Rashid Baz and El Sayyid Nosair were given privileged positions as Muslim religious leaders. Dunleavy, who served as Deputy Inspector General of the New York State Department of Corrections, was part of a special investigation called Operation Hades that monitored radical Islamist recruitment inside prisons.
Dunleavy (who now lives in Washington State) said he has two major problems with the regulations instituted by the Washington Department of Corrections: As written they contain inadequate vetting procedures for volunteers and insufficient security safeguards, and the role of CAIR in the state program.
In New York, corrections officials have been fighting a difficult uphill battle to maintain security and prevent radicalization of Muslim inmates for close to 30 years. Essential to this effort are limits on the ability of volunteers to interact with inmates, he said.
As a result, volunteers are barred from being on an inmate's visitor list and may not correspond with an offender. They are also prohibited from accepting telephone calls from inmates or allowing a released offender to live in their homes. But the Washington State regulations, Dunleavy pointed out, expressly permit volunteers to engage in these activities.
These restrictions (which apply to correctional officers in Washington and virtually every state) are necessary "for the protection of the volunteer, the inmate and the facility," Dunleavy told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
"Inmates are always looking for a way around the rules," he added. If an inmate is able to say, "Take a letter for me; make a phone call for me" and a sympathetic volunteer complies, "that raises significant security problems." A volunteer could easily find himself or herself "bringing a package to an inmate not knowing if there are drugs, guns or other contraband in there."
The FBI has cut off communication and cooperation with CAIR that doesn't involve a criminal investigation amid mounting concern about the organization's roots in a Hamas terror-support network.