(SAN DIEGO, CA – 10/23/2018) – The San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SD) today condemned an article littered with criminal inferences in The San Diego Union-Tribune, attempting to connect CAIR to terrorist organizations.

The article focused on board members of the CAIR-CA chapter who donated $17,300 in their capacity as private citizens to congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar, who has been attacked by his opponent – Rep. Duncan Hunter – as being part of a conspiracy of “radical Muslims” who “are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government.”

The article goes on to claim “CAIR was found to have ties to Hamas, the Palestinian-Islamic resistance organization, during a long-running criminal trial against former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.”

READ: Amid attacks by Rep. Hunter, Campa-Najjar and pro-Israeli group say there’s no problem with American-Muslim donors

In a statement, CAIR-SD Advocacy and Policy Coordinator Mejgan Afshan refuted the claims of the article.

Afshan said, “unlike Rep. Hunter, CAIR has never been indicted by the federal government.”

READ: Indicted congressman falsely ties opponent to terrorism

“Because of CAIR’s high profile and very public record of principled advocacy of civil liberties, interfaith relations and justice for all people, a small but well-funded network of anti-Muslim hate groups, the U.S Islamophobia Network, has made CAIR one of their primary focuses in a well-coordinated plan to falsely promulgate anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and other misinformation about our organization,” Afshan said. “The U.S. Islamophobia Network hosts a number of interconnected hate websites that share and recycle these false attacks without any credible verification to authenticate the information.”

CAIR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the endorsement of individual candidates is not permitted.

“CAIR encourages its staff and volunteers to engage in the American political process, which is their First Amendment right,” Afshan said. “This includes voting, volunteering their own time and funds to causes and campaigns, participating on boards and commissions, joining public committees and running for elected office.

“This fear-mongering only serves to further disenfranchise the American Muslim community and reduce American Muslims to the status of second-class citizens because whatever they do is suspect. This type of political divisiveness, fear-mongering and race-baiting have no place in the 50th district, our state, our nation and certainly not in the halls of Congress. We are dismayed at a respected publication like the Union-Tribune choosing to propagate such fallacies that have the potential to endanger our community and our staff.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields (714) 851-4851, efields@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com