Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Terror-tied Group Gets Major Cash Infusion from Dubai.



UAE, which formally recognized the Taliban and acted as a launching point for the 9-11 hijackers, has already taken a nearly $1 million stake in CAIR's existing headquarters near the U.S. Capitol.


An Arab nation with ties to 9-11 has pledged a major endowment to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, even as the Washington-based nonprofit group insists it receives no foreign support.

The United Arab Emirates recently announced that it has set up an endowment serving as a source of income for CAIR. The amount of the funding is undisclosed, but sources say it will be enough to help CAIR finance the construction of a new $24 million office building and a planned $50 million public-relations campaign aimed at repairing Islam's -- and the UAE's -- image in America.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll found that a majority of Americans think Muslims are more prone to resort to violence, and more Americans now have a negative view of Islam than right after the 9-11 terror attacks.Americans also have a lower opinion of the UAE now, thanks to its recent bid to take over U.S. port operations. The political storm over the deal drew increased attention to the Arab country's ties to terrorism.

CAIR -- Washington's biggest Muslim lobbying group -- is quoted in the UAE statement, but has not released its own statement. It is not commenting publicly about the size of the endowment or other details.But the UAE, which formally recognized the Taliban and acted as a launching point for the 9-11 hijackers, has already taken a nearly $1 million stake in CAIR's existing headquarters near the U.S. Capitol. As first reported in the book, Infiltration, Dubai holds the deed to the building. The transaction took place in 2002, according to local property records.
The strengthened financial partnership comes at a critical time for both parties.The UAE is still reeling from a spate of bad press following its controversial bid to take over control of shipping terminals at major U.S. ports. Partnering with CAIR gives it a voice in U.S. politics and media, which it hopes will help repair its image and protect its business interests.UAE's minister of finance, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, personally approved the deal with CAIR. After meeting with Sheikh Hamdan in Dubai, CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmad was quoted in the Arab press saying: "If the image of Islam and Muslims is not repaired in America, Muslim and Arab business interests will continue to be on a downward slide in the U.S."CAIR, meanwhile, has suffered its own image problems and has lost some of its political clout in Washington. The group recently was dealt a series of legal setbacks in civil court. Its image has also been damaged by counterterrorism investigations of several of its officials, some of whom have been convicted of felonies.

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