Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR’s (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Los Angeles branch, said CAIR does not regret helping the Farook family of the terrorists in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
LA Times Farhan Khan told Hussam Ayloush that his brother-in-law, Syed Rizwan Farook, could not be accounted for after someone barged into a meeting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino and opened fire, killing and wounding scores of people. Khan feared that his wife’s brother was among the dead.
Less than an hour later, after Ayloush had urged him to remain calm, Khan called back. Farook was not a victim of the mass shooting, but the suspected perpetrator of it, Khan said.
Later that day, Ayloush and CAIR decided to advise the family of a suspected mass shooter and terrorist. Soon, Khan spoke to a ring of reporters at a news conference organized by CAIR.
The organization received angry calls and critical coverage from conservative media, including Breitbart, which ran a headline asking, “Why is CAIR helping San Bernardino terrorists after the fact?” Others wondered why CAIR was getting involved before it was clear whether others — possibly even other family members — had known of the attacks before they occurred.
Almost half a year after the deadliest attack on American soil since 9/11, Ayloush said CAIR does not regret the decision. For years, CAIR, which has 30 chapters in the U.S., has been a polarizing organization, reviled by critics who accuse it of being linked with radical Islam, terrorism and groups such as Hamas.
In 2007, CAIR, along with hundreds of other organizations and individuals, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, a charity prosecutors accused of supporting Hamas. The Holy Land Foundation and several of its officers were convicted in November 2008.
Eventually, CAIR began receiving threatening comments and calls, Ayloush said. He asked the organization’s civil rights department to report those calls to authorities.
CAIR’s legal department also made sure the Khans were being treated fairly and not being discriminated against because of their faith, as they sought custody of Farook and Malik’s then 6-month-old daughter.
Ayloush said the legacy of San Bernardino still lives with the group, especially in the way it handles the threat of terrorism and the fear it can spark. CAIR should “be honest about everything: more honest within the community about the fact that we cannot discount the threat of barbaric Muslim groups like ISIS,” he said. “We must not say it’s tiny and it will disappear.” (That’s the first honest statement about Muslim terrorists I ever heard from anyone at CAIR)
However, in the CAIR press conference, Muslims deny that Islamic terrorism has anything to do with Islam: