By: Corey Walker | The Center Square
An organization tied to the terrorist group Hamas works with Chicago Public Schools to combat alleged Islamophobia.
The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), offers a program called, “The Chicago Public Schools Project.” According to CAIR Chicago’s website, the organization has offered the program since 2014 as part of an attempt to “promote inclusion and understanding about Islam and the Muslim community.” The program claims to battle Islamophobia through a variety of efforts, including: “cultural sensitivity training” and a “Muslim Background Seminar.”
CAIR has come under scrutiny over its alleged ties to and support of the terror organization Hamas. The White House in October condemned comments made by CAIR’s director, who said he “was happy to see” Palestinians break out of Gaza on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killing more than 1,200 people.
In a 2009 court ruling, a federal judge concluded, “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas.” CAIR also was identified as a co-conspirator helping the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) – a former Islamic charity labeled a terrorist group by the FBI in 2001 – shower Hamas with millions of dollars.
Moreover, many of CAIR’s most prominent members were part of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), an organization which has been accused of spreading Hamas propaganda throughout the United States. Omar Ahmed and Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Chairman Emeritus and Executive Director, served as high-ranking members of the IAP. Rafeeq Jabar, a former IAP president, joined CAIR as a founding director. Ghassan Elashi, a former treasurer for the Hamas-linked Holy Land Foundation, was a founding member of CAIR’s Texas Chapter.
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, a self-described educational organization that fights antisemitism, warned that CAIR’s program could potentially traffic in anti-Jewish hatred.
“CAIR and its leaders have a long track record of promoting antisemitism before and after October 7th. This includes referring to ‘Zionist synagogues’ as the ‘enemy’ and expressing happiness about the horrific invasion of Israel on October 7th. While we can’t comment on this specific program without seeing its content, we urge institutions that work with CAIR to seek alternative partners that genuinely support mutual respect and understanding between all communities.”
Anti-Israel sentiment in public schools has heightened across the country amid mounting tensions over the Israel-Hamas War. Thirty Jewish families reportedly fled the Oakland School District after teachers held an anti-Israel “teach-in” for students. A New York City public school faced backlash over a map in one of its classrooms referring to Israel as “Palestine,” according to media reports.