House panel advances resolution urging ‘disassociation’ from CAIR

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This encourages state agencies to 'suspend contact and outreach activities' with the group.

The House is moving toward removing any ambiguity regarding the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The State Affairs Committee moved forward a non-binding House resolution (HR 1209) strongly encouraging “all executive agencies of the State of Florida, all law enforcement agencies, and all local governments in this state to suspend contact and outreach activities” with CAIR. That stop was the measure’s sole committee of reference before the House floor.

The resolution cites decades of actions involving CAIR principals that could be considered supportive of anti-American aims. That includes recent imbroglios ranging from CAIR Florida featuring disgraced former Professor and Jihadist Sami Al-Arian in a Speaker Series, as well as quotes from national leaders likening Israel to Nazi Germany and justifying Hamas attacks against Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, as a move to “break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp” of Gaza.

Rep. Randy Fine, the Brevard County Republican sponsoring the measure, said “as we’ve learned since the horrific terror attacks on Oct. 7, it’s important to call out evil wherever we find it. And one of the things that we’ve seen since that moment is there is something that the FBI has described as an American front for Hamas operating not only in this country but here in the state, the so-called Council on American Islamic Relations.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani acknowledged “incredibly offensive remarks” from members of CAIR, but the Orlando Democrat questioned whether they reflected the entire organization.

Fine argued there was “a pattern of comments by an organization and people affiliated with it going back over two decades.”

“You know, one stupid comment, you can probably forgive. But 20 years of them, that you can’t. In fact, this organization was created in order to be a public front for Hamas in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation ended its relationship with this organization over 10 years ago. The United Arab Emirates ended its relationship with this organization almost 10 years ago.”

Eskamani spoke to the organization’s humanitarian bona fides, saying it’s a “disservice” to ignore the organization’s “good works,” and cautioning against “canceling” CAIR, which she described as a “really thoughtful partner.”

Ranking Democratic member Michele Rayner echoed Eskamani’s take, saying she too had a “problem with canceling folks” and suggested Fine’s resolution was too broad and should have focused on the objectionable remarks.

Rep. Ashley Gantt brought up the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, wondering why the Proud Boys haven’t been subject to the same condemnation that this resolution would show to CAIR.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” the Miami Democrat said.

Fine urged her to file an anti-Proud Boys resolution in his close.

Republicans control the committee, of course, so Democratic dissent didn’t impact the final result, which saw 17 “yes” votes and a smattering of “nays.”

Rep. Dean Black, a Jacksonville Republican, said the fact that “an organization may do something that we think is commendable doesn’t excuse the rot at the heart” of the group itself.

CAIR Florida did not respond to a request for comment made before the bill’s hearing in committee.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


One comment

  • MH/Duuuval

    January 23, 2024 at 11:14 am

    Don’t expect domestic right-wing terrorists to get equal negative treatment.

Comments are closed.


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