By Leonard Getz
In his blog, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender, expresses his sadness over the murder of the 11 Jewish Tree of Life victims in Pittsburgh and the murder of two African-American victims in Kentucky, both at the hands of white supremacists. He concludes that these are “uniquely American tragedies that elucidate the country’s sadistic embrace of hatred and the violence it often induces.”
He blames the media for trying to “humanize” the murderers, the gun lobby for the gun violence epidemic and the president for enabling it all. He reminds us that his organization is doing its part fighting Islamophobia, which he says has risen over the last three years.
Missing from this mix of perpetrators of hate is any mention of Islamic extremists and the violence they have caused in this country. In fact, Bender goes out of his way to deny any linkage between violence in the name of Islam and Islamist attackers who admit attacking in the name of Islam.
Case in point was the point-blank shooting of Philadelphia officer Jesse Hartnett at the hands of Edward Archer, who fired 11 rounds at his victim in January 2016. In custody, Archer admitted that he targeted Hartnett because the Philadelphia Police Department was enforcing laws that were not compliant with Islam.
“He believes the police defend laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Koran,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at the time.
But eager to administer damage control, Bender made many phone calls to local imams and concluded that “it does not appear that he was an observant or mosque-going Muslim.”
Except that he was.
Edward Archer’s Muslim name was Abdul Shaheed and for five years he attended Masjid Mujahideen, a mosque in West Philadelphia. Imam Asim Abdur Rashid said he saw Archer as recently as a week before the shooting and added that Archer regularly attended morning and evening prayers, in addition to midday Friday prayers.
“He was intelligent, and he was a regular dude,” Imam Rashid said.
FBI Special Agent Eric Ruona said Archer had traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and Egypt in 2012, a trip that a family friend said had changed him.
And, unlike Bender’s grievances over the lack of gun control following the Tree of Life shooting, there was no complaint from him about gun control after Archer fired 11 rounds at Hartnett.
Then, in an effort to cover up its own activities, in July of this year, CAIR requested a judge not to allow into court an investigator’s finding about CAIR’s own ties to terrorist groups Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
If Bender and CAIR are truly concerned about hatred, gun control and violence caused by extremist groups in America, they should acknowledge the existence of Islamic extremism and condemn it when the evidence requires them to do so instead of covering it up.
Leonard Getz is a writer whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Algemeiner and other outlets. He is the treasurer of the Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. The views expressed in this piece are his own.