On February 1, the Florida House of Representatives sent a strong signal to law enforcement agencies, state agencies and local governments in the Sunshine State to beware of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization whose leader recently expressed satisfaction with the October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas, and whose employees and associates have had questionable ties to organizations linked to terrorism.
Representative Randy Fine of Palm Bay authored HR1209 which calls on all executive agencies of the State of Florida, all law enforcement agencies, and all local governments to suspend contact and outreach activities with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The resolution was adopted by the House with overwhelming support, 98-15.
The resolution text includes extensive details of CAIR’s nefarious ties, particularly noting multiple CAIR directors, employees, and members have been convicted on terrorism and terrorism-related charges over the years. In a press release announcing the resolution Fine warned that CAIR “gaslights” Americans by posing as a civil rights organization despite its terror-linked history.
Most recently CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad expressed his support for the Hamas attack which killed nearly 1,500 Israelis, declaring that Israel has no right to self-defense. Those remarks were condemned by Biden Administration officials, who had previously maintained close ties with the group, including inviting CAIR to participate in the formation of the White House strategy for combatting antisemitism.
Founded in 1994, the Council on American Islamic Relations was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, in order to support the terrorist group Hamas and to advance the Islamist organization’s goals in the United States, according to testimony and evidentiary documents introduced by federal prosecutors during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial. CAIR was identified on a list of unindicted co-conspirators during the trial.
The successful prosecution of HLF, together with congressional pressure, resulted in the FBI formally announcing a policy to disassociate from CAIR’s national organization, although a 2013 Office of the Inspector General report revealed the policy had not always been closely followed.
Several states have likewise urged state and local law enforcement to adopt similar policies in distancing themselves from CAIR. The Florida House of Representatives becomes the third state legislature, after Louisiana and Arkansas, to pass such a resolution. Florida’s measure is likely to have a more substantial impact on future efforts in other states, due to CAIR’s extensive history of activism in Florida and because Florida is regularly considered a key battleground state in presidential elections.