All too often, talking heads take to the tube a disturbing willingness to tell a heck of a whopper, apparently never believing their bluffs will be called.
Take, for example, Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Appearing on Fox News recently, Hooper, said that in twenty years' worth of trips to mosques, "I've never heard violence preached; I've never heard anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism preached."
When asked in a subsequent phone interview with this columnist if his statement also holds true for any Muslim events, conferences, and rallies he has attended, Hooper said it did and added, "In fact, if I had heard that I would have called them on the carpet and asked them why they're saying such hate-filled, divisive things."
Unfortunately for Hooper, his bluff can be called.
At a now-infamous Washington, D.C. rally on October 28, 2000, then-president of the American Muslim Federation Abdurahman Alamoudi shouted to a cheering crowd, "We are all supporters of Hamas!" Hooper acknowledged being there, but claims he did not hear Alamoudi.
In the media frenzy that followed, though, neither CAIR nor Hooper publicly criticized Alamoudi's avowed support of the terrorist organization.
Less than a year later, Hooper joined a handful of various Muslim groups in staging a "sit in" in front of the State Department in June 2001. During the event, American Muslim Council Director Ali Ramadan Abu Zakouk labeled the mass murder of innocent civilians in suicide bombing attacks as a "G-d-given right."
"The question of resistance to occupation is a G-d-given right. And the occupied people can use any means possible for them. They have no limitation," Zakouk explained. Hooper was the contact person on the press release announcing the "sit in," though he first claimed he "did not remember" and later that he "did not hear" Zakouk's defense of suicide bombings.
Videotape footage of the event (provided by the Investigative Project), however, clearly shows Hooper standing barely a few feet behind Zakouk as the comments were made.
Without video or a published record noting his participation, it is impossible to know what other pro-violence, anti-American, or anti-Semitic propaganda Hooper has personally witnessed. But there are plenty of examples of reprehensible rhetoric spouted either by CAIR officials or at CAIR co-sponsored events any of which Hooper, as longtime CAIR spokesman, would almost surely be aware of.
At the Islamic Association of Palestine's third annual convention in Chicago in November 1999, CAIR President Omar Ahmad gave a speech at a youth session praising suicide bombers who "kill themselves for Islam": "Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam - that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam."
The Executive Director of CAIR's New York chapter has made similar comments that would likewise fall under the heading of "violence preached." At an interfaith event shortly after 9/11, CAIR-NY's Ghazi Khankan started with the obligatory disclaimer that "those who attack civilians are wrong," but then he explained that any Israeli adult was a "soldier" and thus not a civilian.
Khankan rationalized, "Anyone over eighteen is automatically inducted into the service and they are all reserves. Therefore, Hamas in my opinion looks at them as part of the military." Driving home the point that it's ok to blow up any Israeli adult, Khankan added, "Those who are below 18 should not be attacked." (When asked about this speech but not being told who gave it Hooper said, "I condemn it.")
CAIR co-sponsored a May 1998 New York conference titled, "Palestine: 50 Years of Occupation," where one of the guest speakers taught participants a song that included lyrics: "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."
Hooper insists that CAIR was not a co-sponsor of the event and added, "I don't even know if that happened." But an e-mail sent out to a Muslim e-mail list the day before the event clearly identifies CAIR as one of the eleven co-sponsors and audiotape of the conference (provided by the Investigative Project) recorded the anti-Semitic song.
Hooper must have thought he could get away with his deception. His record, however, leaves little doubt he has heard or directly knows of plenty of violence and anti-Semitism preached by Muslim leaders.
Consider his bluff called.