Four Republican lawmakers have accused the most prominent Islamic advocacy group in Washington of trying to plant "spies" as interns on Capitol Hill.
The claim was quickly denounced as "racist" and "insidious" by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the effort appears to have little support from GOP leaders.
In an unusual announcement this morning, four conservative Republicans — Reps. John Shadegg (Ariz.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Sue Myrick (N.C.) — formally asked the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the Center for American-Islamic Relations. They accused CAIR, a non profit group, of trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill with interns and staffers.
And the response from CAIR?
"We would love to help people find jobs on Capitol Hill," said Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for CAIR. "There's a Muslim Staffer Association. Should they be investigated?"
The proclamation from the four Republicans came in advance of a book, entitled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America," which includes a forward by Myrick. The author of the book, Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islam activist who wrote last year that “a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law.”
The lawmakers also released a one page "strategy" document they said they obtained from CAIR. But the document basically lays out a fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy and indeed, one of the goals is "placing Muslim interns in congressional offices" and registering people to vote…
Hooper pointed out that there are indeed many Muslim staffers on Capitol Hill, CAIR is a lobbying organization, and its executive director is on Capitol Hill today -- speaking at an interfaith forum on health care with other religious groups in the Rayburn building. (More)