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CAIR Teaches Mosques How To Obtain Taxpayer-Funded Grants Meant To Protect Against Terrorist Attacks

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), known for its ties to the terrorist group Hamas, is teaching mosques and Islamic groups how to rake in taxpayer funds through a grant program aimed at protecting houses of worship against terrorist attacks.

CAIR, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator of Hamas in a 2008 terrorism case, issued guidance this week to applicants to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which the Department of Homeland Security operates through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agencies award $150,000 to religious institutions and nonprofits to protect against terrorist attacks through fortification of their buildings, security training, and other measures.

In a 21-page “preparation guide,” CAIR walks applicants through the grant process, provides language to include on grant applications, and offers to review denied applications in order to “enhance” the odds of success in future applications.

CAIR’s advocacy for the program could raise fresh concerns about the initiative, which has already sent taxpayer money to Islamic groups that defend terrorists and demonize Israel. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Homeland Security awarded grants under the program in 2021 and 2022 to a San Diego mosque whose imam said Hamas’s attack on Israel was “justified,” a Detroit mosque whose leader prayed that “Allah eradicate [Zionists] from the earth,” and another in Anaheim, Calif., whose cleric called Jews a “bigoted and arrogant breed of people” who should “be annihilated.”

And then there are concerns about CAIR, which has received DHS grants for both its national office and several chapters. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad, whose photo is prominently featured on CAIR’s preparation guide, said in November that he was “happy to see” Hamas attack Israel. The White House condemned Awad’s remarks as anti-Semitic and scrubbed references to CAIR from its “National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism,” an initiative to which the Biden White House appointed the controversial group in May 2023.

The Biden administration has helped CAIR navigate the grant process in the past, raising questions about whether it will continue to do so in the wake of recent controversies.

“We really have benefited substantially from the resources you offer,” CAIR official Megan Fair said in a February 2022 webinar with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Fair said CAIR’s national office was awarded a grant in 2019, and a “number of our chapters” and “dozens” of mosques had received grants totaling more than $3.5 million.

Marcus Coleman, the director of DHS’s center for faith-based partnerships, said during the webinar he was “thrilled” to help CAIR navigate the grant process. Awad, the CAIR executive director, also spoke during the webinar. He praised the grant program for helping mosques beef up security but criticized the Department of Homeland Security’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program.

One CAIR chapter that has received grants has defended the Hamas attacks. Hussam Ayloush, the director of the CAIR chapter in Los Angeles, said in a sermon in November that it is a “lie” that Hamas’s invasion of Israel was an “unprovoked attack.” In December he said “Israel does not have a right to defend itself” and that Hamas had a “legitimate right” to attack Israel, which he called an “occupier” of Palestinian land.

The Department of Homeland Security and CAIR did not respond to requests for comment.

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