Press Releases

CA: FBI Probes Death Threat Against Muslim Activist


(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/5/07) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that the FBI is investigating a death threat against one of its chapter heads in California.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the threat was contained in an e-mail message sent to Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Washington-based group’s Sacramento Valley chapter.

That threat came a day after a media report indicated that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) had rescinded an award given to Elkarra because she read attacks against CAIR on an anti-Muslim Internet hate site and after a pressure campaign by Joe Kaufman, an anti-Muslim extremist in Florida.

SEE: Boxer Pulls Muslim Award (Sacramento Bee)

Kaufman has a long history of seeking to marginalize and disenfranchise the American Muslim community and its institutions. He has in the past promoted the terrorist organizations Kach and Kahane Chai and praised the Kahane movement and its founder Mier Kahane on a forum of the radical Jewish Defense League in Florida. In another article, Kaufman wrote that “we should nuke Damascus” and “we should have nuked the Afghanistan capital of Kabul.”

Last year, Kaufman joined forces with an anti-Islam preacher in Florida to block the expansion of a mosque in Boca Raton. “This mosque should not exist on American shores,” said Kaufman. (St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/06)

SEE: A Kahane Legacy Lost by Joe Kaufman (Jewish Defense League of Florida)

SEE ALSO: Making Friends with the Enemy. . .The Nuclear Way (Florida Jewish Speakout)

The website Boxer consulted to form her opinions about CAIR,, regularly publishes Kaufman’s writings and articles promoting conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims in America.

An editor with the Sacramento Bee in California today defended CAIR, while describing Kaufman as “a right-wing blogger.”

Ginger Rutland wrote: “For me, CAIR’s efforts to reach out are reminiscent of the efforts of other Americans falsely accused of disloyalty: Japanese, German and Italian Americans during World War II, civil rights activists and Vietnam War opponents casually smeared as communists in the 1950s and ’60s. . .she must understand what her casual withdrawal of a casually awarded tribute means to a Muslim American at this moment in American history. Shame on her.”

SEE: The CAIR Takeaway (Sacramento Bee)

CAIR Board Chairman Dr. Parvez Ahmed today outlined CAIR’s response to Boxer in a commentary published on his personal blog. In that commentary, Ahmed wrote: “By acting on smears, distortions and guilt by association, Sen. Boxer has failed her Muslim constituents and has betrayed the progressive values of her party and state.”

SEE: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer

“Terror threats of the kind sent to CAIR’s Sacramento Valley director must be repudiated by political and religious leaders in California and nationwide,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We thank the FBI for taking action in this case and urge Senator Boxer to examine the agendas of those who seek to marginalize and disenfranchise American Muslims.”

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra at (916) 441-6269 or E-mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:


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