CAIR seeking DHS Grant Money “to protect U.S. mosques, Islamic centers from terrorists”

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

CAIR eyes share of $24 million of DHS grant moneyThe Council on American Islamic Relations to use “hate crime data” to have U.S. taxpayers fund security and “target hardening” at U.S. Mosques and Islamic Centers, all of which are considered “vulnerable to terrorist attack,” according to CAIR.

BACKGROUND1 May 2007: For the last several years, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been working overtime to obtain “protected victim status” for American Muslims, citing numerous incidents of dubious validity as examples of “hate crimes” against Muslims. Renowned author Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch addressed this very issue in an article dated May 18, 2005, citing the research of Dr. Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha that suggests a deliberate misrepresentation and exaggeration of CAIR’s statistics. A brief audit of CAIR’S annual report by Dr. Pipes and Ms. Chadha found instances of “bogus” entries, or inclusions of incidents that were distorted, thus causing it to appear that “anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States” have risen dramatically. In 2005, consequently, headlines in the mainstream media screamed “Muslims Report 50% Increase in Bias Crimes.”

Based on my recent review of CAIR’S latest incidents and figures that are compiled to suggest that American Muslims are targets of “hate crimes,” violence and attacks because of their religious beliefs, it appears that CAIR is continuing their practice of including unsubstantiated and highly questionable incidents that cause an inflation of these “hate-crime” statistics.

My review of CAIR’S civil right’s report the Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States (2006) found a number of incidents of questionable veracity that appear to serve only to inflate the bottom-line number of “attacks” against American Muslims. One such incident is prominently featured on page 43 of the report, and includes a reprint of an article that appeared in the May 5, 2006 edition of the Arizona Daily Star. This article was published in response to a CAIR press release dated May 2, 2006 titled “CAIR-AZ Muslims Accosted By ‘United 93? Viewers.”

Using my experience as a veteran investigator, I personally conducted an investigation into this incident, finding no tangible evidence to support the claims asserted by the purported victims.*

In addition to questionable or unsubstantiated “threats,” closer inspection of the report also found that the statistics are further inflated by publicly made “Islamophobic” remarks and various forms of perceived discrimination that hardly rise to the level of “attacks,” or by definition, criminal activity against Muslims, mosques or Islamic Centers located inside the United States. Unfortunately, it is common practice for the media – and even our own government to accept the information contained in CAIR’S reports as being factually accurate without independent verification.

Now, it appears that the recording of such purported incidents will be used to secure taxpayer money furnished by the United States Department of Homeland Security under the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). CAIR is working to insure that all 501(c)(3) mosques and related Islamic properties in the U.S. are actively pursuing funding from the U.S. government (in other words, from the U.S. taxpayers) “for target hardening activities… that are deemed at high risk of a potential terrorist attack.” In other words, CAIR is asserting that mosques and Islamic centers in the U.S. are at risk of sustaining a terrorist attack and therefore, qualify for grant money offered by the Department of Homeland Security to prevent against such terrorist attacks.

DHS SECURITY GRANT MONEYIn a press release dated April 27, 2007, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funds as part of the Fiscal Year 2007 Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). This grant program will provide over $24 million to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations who are deemed “high-risk of a potential international terrorist attack.”

On April 29, 2007, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent an announcement to all of its chapters, urging “all eligible 501(c)(3) American mosques and other Islamic institutions to begin the application process to receive training and to purchase equipment such as video cameras, alarm systems and other security enhancements” through the grant program offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to the DHS announcement, this grant is “an important component of the Administration’s larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the Nation’s overall level of preparedness [against terrorist attacks].” The grant process is intended to provide funding to strengthen the security of nonprofit organizations that are deemed at high risk of a potential international terrorist attack. According to the DHS security grant program, the criteria for determining eligible applicants who are at high risk of terrorist attack include, but are not limited to:

- Identification and substantiation (e.g. police reports or insurance claims) of prior threats or attacks against the nonprofit organization or closely related organizations (within or outside the U.S.) by a terrorist organization, network, or cell;

- Symbolic value of the site(s) as a highly recognized national or historical institution that renders the site a possible target of terrorism;

- Role of the applicant nonprofit organization in responding to or recovering from terrorist attacks;

- Findings from previously conducted risk assessments including threat, vulnerability or consequence.

Based on the above criteria, it would seem unlikely that the developers of this program had mosques and Islamic Centers inside the U.S. in mind when considering potential targets of international terrorists. Nonetheless, CAIR is actively promoting mosques to apply for such funding, using the statistics of anti-Muslim bias compiled by CAIR to obtain the grant money.

If left unchecked, it is a good possibility that U.S. taxpayers will soon be paying for security enhancements at mosques and Islamic centers.

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CAIR ANNOUNCEMENT - 04/29/07

DHS ANNOUNCES $24 MILLION AVAILABLE TO NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS TO STRENGTHEN SECURITY THROUGH UASI PROGRAM

The following information was released by the Department of Homeland Security:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that nonprofit organizations in the 46 designated UASI areas are eligible to apply for funds as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2007 Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). This grant program will provide more than $24 million to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations who are deemed high-risk for a potential international terrorist attack.

Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations through their eligible State Administrative Agency (SAA) according to criteria that includes:

Prior identified and substantiated threats or attacks toward the nonprofit or closely-related organization, either within or outside the U.S., by a terrorist organization; Symbolic value of a site as a highly recognized national or historical institution that renders it a possible terrorist target; Organization’s role in responding to or recovering from terrorist attacks; and Organization’s credible threat or vulnerability, as well as the potential consequences of an attack, as determined by a previously conducted risk assessment.

The federal grant funds must be used for target-hardening activities, which can be accomplished through training or the purchase or installation of security equipment on real property owned or leased by the nonprofit organization. Allowable equipment is limited to physical security enhancements (e.g. alarm systems, bulletproof doors or windows) or inspection and screening systems (e.g. walk-through magnetometers and conveyor-belt x-ray systems used to screen personnel and packages for hazardous materials or devices).

Additionally, nonprofit organization security personnel may use NSGP funds to attend security-related training courses and programs. Allowable training-related costs under NSGP are limited to attendance fees for the training, and related expenses, such as materials, supplies, or equipment. Allowable training topics are limited to the protection of Critical Infrastructure/ Key Resources, including physical and cyber security, target-hardening, and terrorism awareness/employee preparedness. Not all eligible nonprofit organizations and UASI communities are guaranteed to receive funding under the FY 2007 NSGP. Allocation decisions will be made based on risk and how well applicants address program requirements through their investment justifications.

Nonprofit organizations must submit applications through their SAA to be considered eligible for an award of up to $100,000. Nonprofit organizations must agree to match 25 percent of federal grant funds in cash or through equivalent, related training. In the case of training projects, awardees must meet the matching requirement through cash. For example, the costs of training security guards on new screening equipment purchased under the grant would meet the match requirement.

In FY 2005, DHS awarded $25 million to 18 high-risk urban areas to support security improvements for nonprofit organizations in their jurisdictions. Together with the FY 2007 grants, DHS direct support to safeguard nonprofit organizations now totals over $49 million.
SAAs must submit applications for the FY 2007 UASI NSGP online at www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 22, 2007.

For more information on the FY 2007 UASI NSGP and other DHS grant programs, visit www.dhs.gov.

ACTION REQUESTED:

All eligible 501(c)(3) American mosques and other Islamic institutions are urged to begin the application process to receive training and to purchase equipment such as video cameras, alarm systems and other security enhancements.

Program Guidance and Application Kit:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/docs/FY07_UASI_Guidance.pdfFact Sheet:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/docs/FY07_UASI_factsheet.pdf

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*An investigation of the incident at the Desert Ridge Marketplace

15 May 2006: The press release states that “several young Muslim women were verbally abused by two people” at the Desert Ridge Marketplace in Scottsdale, Arizona, allegedly after the offending couple watched the Movie “United 93.” Later in the article, it was noted that the purported “victims” were three females attired in traditional Muslim garb, one who happened to be Bushra KHAN, the office manager of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter. According to the report of the incident, all three women “feared for their safety” and felt very threatened by this unidentified middle-aged couple. Following this alleged incident, CAIR issued a nationwide press release about the potential backlash from the movie, using this alleged event at the Desert Ridge Marketplace as an example of the anti-Muslim bias that United 93 would create.

As a veteran investigator and the director of the Northeast Intelligence Network, I noted a couple of “red flags” pertaining to the alleged incident at the Desert Ridge Marketplace, and chose to investigate the matter myself to verify the details as provided by CAIR. To that end, on 10 May, 2006, I contacted the police department responsible for the protection of the citizens who visit this upscale mall to obtain a copy of the police report of this incident. As Ms. Khan and her companions expressed a genuine fear for their safety, it would not only be reasonable, but prudent to request police assistance when confronted in such a manner. Further, a review of the police report would provide additional avenues of investigation into this alleged verbal assault reportedly caused by the film “United 93.”

It was discovered that despite the level of fear expressed by the three young women, no police report exists. Thinking that the women at least requested assistance from the security employed by the Desert Ridge Marketplace, I contacted that office on two occasions to inquire about the incident.

“This is the first I’ve heard about it,” stated the officer answering the telephone on May 10, 2006. “If something like that did happen, we would probably know about it, most definitely,” he added. At his urging, however, I contacted the officer in charge on the following day to see if any report of the incident was on file.

“We have no record of the incident. No one from our security detail responded to any complaint as you described,” he stated. “I can’t say that it didn’t happen, but if it did, we were never notified or called for assistance,” added the officer in charge.

In summary, it appears that the incident of verbal abuse that allegedly took place on or about April 29, 2006 was not reported to anyone outside of the CAIR organization despite the level of fear the victims expressed and the concern this incident has caused on a national level. My investigation also failed to find any independent corroborating evidence that the verbal assault alleged by these three young Muslim women, one who is a CAIR employee, occurred in the manner in which it has been publicly reported. Given the attention this incident caused at the time and the genuine fear expressed by the purported victims, I found it unusual and suspect that no police report was filed, no incident report was filed with mall security, no request for assistance was made to mall security who, according to the operators at the upscale mall, have a “visible presence” on the property. Furthermore, additional investigation failed to find any independent confirmation of this incident of verbal assault - an incident (or its aftermath) that if it occurred as described, should have been witnessed by others. Again, no such evidence was found during the course of my investigation. From a professional investigative viewpoint, absent of any additional evidence, I must question whether the incident took place as described and as included in CAIR’S annual report of anti-Muslim bias.