The Interfaith Action Group of Southwest Florida, like most interfaith groups, holds events with participants from different religions. It seems, though, when it comes to Islam, the group favors representatives from the radical Muslim organization CAIR. That was the case last month, as Interfaith Action featured, as one of its participants, the Communications Director of CAIR-Florida and someone who has actively spread anti-Semitism, Wilfredo Amr Ruiz.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR was established, in June 1994, as a key component of then-global head of Hamas Mousa Abu Marzook’s Palestine Committee, a now-defunct US-based Hamas support network. Former CAIR representatives have been convicted of terror-related crimes, and in 2008, the US government named CAIR a party to the financing of Hamas. Following the September 11th attacks, CAIR used its official website to solicit funds for charities associated with Hamas and al-Qaeda.
The Florida chapter of CAIR has consistently reflected the violent extremism of its parent organization. A prime example of this is the pro-Hamas rally CAIR-Florida co-sponsored, in July 2014, outside the Israeli Consulate in Miami….After the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, posted photos from the event with the caption, “Thank God, every day, we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
In October 2017, the Interfaith Action Group of Southwest Florida held an event with the title asking, ‘Violence In the Name of Religion?’ Representing the Jewish faith for the function was Rabbi Stephen Fuchs of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands. There is no questioning Fuchs devotion toward Israel. This past August, he wrote the following, “Yes, you can be against this or that Israeli policy or the current government which I often am. But if you are against the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state, when there are more than 20 Arab-Islamic States where a Jew cannot safely set foot, then you are an anti-Semite. Make no mistake!”
Yet, representing the Muslim faith for this event was CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who is fervently against Israel’s existence. In August 2014, Shibly tweeted that “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.” In April 2017, Shibly promoted a video on social media lauding convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a “hero.” In November 2006, Shibly described Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement.” This past May, he met at his Tampa CAIR headquarters with convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Hatem Naji Fariz. And on top of all this, Shibly himself has spent years on the US government’s terrorist watch list.
When the Interfaith Action Group asks, “Violence in the Name of Religion?” Hassan Shibly’s entire existence screams, “Yes!” So why allow a rabbi or pastor to share a panel with such a fanatic? Maybe it is because the Interfaith Action Group is working with the fanatic.
Last month, following the event with CAIR’s Wilfredo Ruiz, the Interfaith Action Group co-sponsored a CAIR event, held in Fort Myers, discussing the issue of legal immigration. This means that not only are CAIR officials participating at Interfaith Action events, but Interfaith Action is sponsoring CAIR’s events. You have an organization based on interfaith and diversity partnering with a group that targets Jews and Israel with the worst manifestations of anti-Semitism. It is an insidious conflict of interests, and it makes the Interfaith Action Group appear to be illegitimate, while at the same time legitimizing CAIR and its extremist leaders.