Has the Council On American Islamic Relations — also known as CAIR — declared a fatwah on presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson? If so, I think it just backfired BIG TIME.
You may recall that CAIR was decidedly not pleased by Carson’s pointing out Sharia law’s incompatibility with the U.S. Constitution and even going so far as to say he couldn’t endorse a Muslim president who supports Sharia law. So, in response to Carson’s comments, CAIR called on him to withdraw from the presidential race. (Meanwhile, as we reported here, Dr. Carson saw fundraising surge in the wake of his comments.)
Unfortunately for CAIR, this strategy seems to have backfired. As BizPacReview reports:
Presidential contender Ben Carson‘s conflict with CAIR is getting hotter since Carson’s headline-making interview about a potential Muslim president.
The retired neurosurgeon on Saturday demanded that the IRS crack down on the Council on American-Islamic Relations for violating regulations that restrict the political involvement by groups that claim non-profit status.
The IRS has shown no problem with attacking conservative groups on much flimsier grounds during the Obama era.
It’s largely faded from the headlines, but the IRS targeting of conservative groups is one of the many “phony scandals” that have dogged the Obama administration. In an email on Saturday, Carson demanded that the IRS treat CAIR the way it treated conservative groups — with much less reason.
“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a public press conference demanding that I withdraw from the presidential race,” Carson observed in an email announcing a petition to remove CAIR’s tax-exempt status, according to The Hill.
“Here’s the catch – CAIR is a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the IRS rules explicitly prohibit such groups from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of – or in opposition to – a candidate,” the email continues.
After Carson observed during a Sept. 20 NBC News “Meet the Press” interview that Sharia law is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, he said that he couldn’t endorse a Muslim president who supports Sharia law.
CAIR immediately sent out this statement:
On Monday, September 21, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, will hold a news conference at its Capitol Hill headquarters to call on Republican candidate Ben Carson to withdraw from the presidential race for saying today that Islam is “inconsistent” with the Constitution and that a Muslim should not be elected president.
The Hill reported that CAIR describes itself as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, and that it lost that status in 2011 for failure to file tax returns for three years. The group’s tax-exempt status was restored the following year.
CAIR is fighting back, however.
“We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president,” CAIR responded.
“CAIR is not in violation of any IRS regulation in that we did not ‘participate in’ or ‘intervene in’ any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office.”
This dust-up leaves me wondering: how is it that CAIR — described by government prosecutors as a “present or past member of ‘the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations'” and the “unindicted co-conspirator” in an investigation of organizations funneling money to terrorist organizations — could even get a fishing license, let alone a 501C non-profit status from the IRS? Even more perplexing considering how conservative organizations were denied their status for months and years!
In fact, how is it that CAIR — some of whose former officials have been convicted or deported after being charged with fraud, embargo violations or aiding terrorist training — is even still allowed to do business in the U.S. ? We can only hope that the IRS can put its interest in conservative and pro-Israel groups on the back burner and look into this truly SERIOUS matter.