comment by Jerry Gordon
Pervez Ahmed, announced his resignation of the Chairmanship of CAIR earlier this week. This interview and story in the Jacksonville Times Union perhaps gives the misimpression that whoever succeeds him will deal with the Muslim Brotherhood front group's aggressive stance in anti-American propaganda and 'appeal' to younger Muslims here in America. From our experience, CAIR has run roughshod over our Constitution and was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy land Foundation retrial, about to begin this September in the Federal District Court in Dallas. Further, CAIR has formed a strategic relationship with the ACLU to combat alleged 'racial/religious' profiling by local law enforcement agencies all across this country. It has demanded and been given the opening to present so-called cultural diversity courses to these same law enforcement agencies. And, it has aggressively sought high visibility 'dialogues' with local law enforcement and national groups like the FBI and DHS, all to intimidate them. CAIR has raised the threshold of controversy by pushing "Islamophobia" in a thinly disguised attempt to muzzle 'free speech'.
If the Pew Trust survey of younger American Muslims is any indication, we can expect more, not less extremism. Remember the finding that 26% of the critical age group in the Pew survey aged 18 to 30 indicated for suicide bombing. Sources tell us to look for changes in the CAIR leadership that might see current executive director Nihad Awad leave and ,that 'great Minnesotan' convert to Islam and arch 'spinmeister' Ibrahim Hooper, have his role diminished. We suspect that whoever follows Ahmed will embolden the CAIR extremist Muslim Brotherhood agenda and message.
By Jeff Brumley, The Jacksonville Times-Union, July 8, 2008
Jacksonville resident Parvez Ahmed has resigned as chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), saying he's frustrated about the national organization's failure to be more proactive and positive in its promotion of Muslim civil rights.
The nation's most well-known Muslim advocacy group, which he has led as board chairman since 2005, also needs to be more inclusive of younger, less-religious Muslims and encourage regular turnover of leadership ranks to ensure an infusion of new ideas, he told the Times-Union on Monday, a day after resigning.
These and other goals have been agreed to in principle by the organization's board and professional leadership, Ahmed said, but "an old guard mentality" among some of those leaders has kept elements of the strategic plan from being realized.
"And I got a little bit burned out pushing so hard" for the organization to be more open and transparent, he said.
The Washington, D.C.-based council declined to answer specific questions about Ahmed's comments. Instead, it e-mailed a four-sentence statement thanking Ahmed, 44, for his contributions and acknowledging differences in vision.
"Ultimately, the majority of organizational stakeholders supported a vision for implementing change and growth that differed from that of Dr. Ahmed," the statement said.
Two board members did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.
An outspoken critic of the group said Ahmed did not capitalize on a golden opportunity to transform the organization.
The council was the only Muslim agency in the United States experiencing growth when Ahmed assumed its leadership, said Muqtedar Khan, director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware. But its continued foray into political and foreign-policy matters - such as seeking rights for foreign combatants held at Guantanamo Bay - has detracted from its mission of promoting Muslim-American rights, he said.
"He had an opportunity to take it to the next level and I think he failed," Khan said.
Ahmed said one of his unrealized goals was to transform the council into an organization that doesn't sound anti-American when it's criticizing government policies.
An example would be racial profiling, he said. In such cases the organization rightly criticizes the practice but routinely fails to work behind the scenes with government agencies to ultimately eliminate the practice.
Ahmed, a business professor at the University of North Florida, said his resignation has as much to do with a busy personal and professional life as it does with the council's sluggish movement. He's in the process of writing two books. And he said his children - a daughter, 11, and son, 7 - are beginning to require more of his time and energy for home schooling.
"I also wanted to send a message that a change in leadership is needed at the highest level, that we need some new blood at the board and executive levels," he said.
Ahmed has been a member of the council since 1991 but got actively involved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Before that I was a very studious, quiet academic," he said.
By October of that year he had formed Pennsylvania's first council chapter and was named state chairman. In 2002 he had moved to Jacksonville to teach at UNF and was named chairman of Florida's council. At the time it boasted a $70,000 annual budget, one small office and a single part-time staffer. Today, he said, the council has additional offices in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, 10 full-time employees and an annual budget of $900,000.
Although he will no longer be involved with the national council, Ahmed said he hopes it will devote more resources to demonstrating that Americans and Muslims share the values of peace, justice, understanding and inclusiveness. "The values of Islam and the values of America are complimentary."