As President Barack Obama comes under intense scrutiny for his meetings with Muslim Brotherhood officials, it turns out a top Republican in Congress has had similar interactions with Muslim leaders who have made questionable statements.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) was photographed with—and wrote a personal note in silver sharpie to—an Islamic leader who said practicing Muslims in the United States are “above the law of the land.”
On May 13, 2013, McCaul held an open house at a district office in Katy, Texas. While McCaul’s Facebook posting announcing the open house said an RSVP was required, a spokeswoman for McCaul told Breitbart News that Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Houston branch executive director Mustafa Carroll showed up without notice.
During the open house, McCaul and Carroll were photographed speaking to one another. On top of the photograph, in silver sharpie, McCaul wrote to Carroll: “To Mustafa and the Council on American Islamic Relations, the moderate Muslim is our most effective weapon—Michael McCaul, TX-10.”
In January 2013, Carroll was videotaped at “Muslim Capitol Day” in Austin saying that U.S. Muslims are “above the law of the land.”
“Following the law of the land is part of Sharia,” Carroll said in the video, according to a 2015 article in the Texas Tribune. “And we follow the law of the land. In fact, Muslims, if we’re practicing Muslims, we are above the law of the land. The law doesn’t affect us at all.”
When asked about McCaul’s handwritten note to Carroll about “moderate” Muslims, and his photograph with Carroll from the open house, House Homeland Security Committee spokeswoman Lauren Claffey said McCaul was not calling Carroll or CAIR “moderate.”
“Chairman McCaul’s comments to Mr. Carroll were not a reflection of who Mr. Carroll is, but reinforced the argument McCaul had made to Carroll during a district open house in Katy, Texas – that the moderate Muslim community must combat the extremist wings of their faith,” Claffey said in an email.
Over the course of more than a week, Claffey—on McCaul’s behalf—had refused to answer many times when asked by Breitbart News if McCaul thinks that Carroll is a “moderate” Muslim. She also has refused to answer when asked if McCaul thinks CAIR, as an organization, is a “moderate” Muslim group.
CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, on the other hand, told Breitbart News he and CAIR don’t use the term “moderate Muslim” since—he says—there is no universally accepted definition of the term.
Since taking over as House Homeland Security Committee chairman, McCaul has been less aggressive with CAIR and other Muslim advocacy groups in the United States than his predecessor as chairman, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), had been. King held hearings on radical Islam and its efforts in the United States—hearings for which he was roundly criticized by Muslim groups, the institutional left and the mainstream media.
But, there’s something to be said for King’s efforts. CAIR is an un-indicted co-conspirator, according to the Department of Justice, in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case which saw several top U.S. Muslim leaders go to prison for their support of Hamas.
As King wrote in a 2011 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder:
I have been reliably informed that the decision not to seek indictments of the Council on American Islamic Relations (‘CAIR’) and its co-founder Omar Ahmad, the Islamic Society of North America (‘ISNA’), and the North American Islamic Trust (‘NAIT’), was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case.
King added, “their opposition to this decision raises serious doubt that the decision not to prosecute was a valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”
CAIR has also been officially designated a terrorist organization by the government of the United Arab Emirates, a decision that the U.S. State Department has not supported. “The United States government does not consider these organizations to be terrorist organizations,” a state Department spokesman said in late 2014 after the United Arab Emirates designation of CAIR and other U.S. Muslim groups as terrorist groups.
A CAIR official, on its Facebook page after the Boston Marathon bombing in a posting announcing testimony it planned to submit to McCaul’s hearing on that matter, actually praised McCaul for not being as aggressive as King was in his chairmanship.
“We appreciate Rep. McCaul’s sober and objective chairing of the hearing,” CAIR’s Government Affairs Manager Robert McGraw said. “Such a hearing contributes to protecting all Americans from violent extremists. This responsible approach is a welcome shift from Rep. Peter King’s tenure, which was characterized by unsubstantiated allegations and biased attacks on the Muslim community.”
In that written testimony, CAIR praised McCaul again. “Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member [Bennie] Thompson, and other distinguished committee members of the House Homeland Security Committee, the Council on American Islamic-Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, appreciates the committee’s ongoing oversight of the Boston Marathon attacks and respectfully submits this written testimony for your consideration,” the group wrote in its testimony.
The testimony never actually made it into the official record for the hearing, as a Homeland Security Committee aide noted to Breitbart News. The official hearing record from the Government Printing Office for the Boston hearing does not have that testimony in it.