Il Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has fired one of its top leaders after discovering that he was covertly sharing information about the organization to a prominent anti-Muslim group.
The organization announced that its longtime executive and legal director, Romin Iqnal, had admitted to leaking information to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington DC-based non-profit group that according to the Islamophobia Network, uses “unsubstantiated threats that portray Muslims as dangerous to accrue funding”.
Its founder, Steve Emerson, a journalist and self-proclaimed expert on Islamic and Middle East terrorist groups has, according to the Islamophobia Network, a reputation “for fabricating evidence to substantiate his ravings about Muslim extremism”.
In an analysis by the Georgetown University– based Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia, Emerson was described as having “a history of promoting falsified information and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims”.
Emerson has previously made false reclami that there are “no-go zones” in the United Kingdom and that the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by an Arab because it had a so-called “Middle Eastern trait”. He has also said that American Muslim civil rights organizations are “infiltrating” Congress and the media.
CAIR described Iqbal’s actions as a “betrayal and violation of trust [Quello] was planned and purposeful, taking place over a period of years”. Iqbal has been found to have secretly recorded CAIR network meetings, strategic plans and private emails over the years and passed confidential information regarding CAIR’s national advocacy work to IPT.
The findings, which came from an investigation launched by a third-party forensic expert retained by CAIR’s national headquarters, also revealed that Emerson was “cursing, threatening and otherwise mistreating his staff for failing to produce enough Islamophobic content”.
Secondo CAIR’s executive director Nihad Awad, the evidence also indicated that IPT “had spent years trying to infiltrate and spy upon prominent mosques and Muslim American organizations using ‘moles’,” among them the Ohio chapter of CAIR.
Further investigation in the wake of Iqbal’s termination discovered purchases from ammunition and gun retailers made in recent weeks using a CAIR-Ohio credit card that Iqbal administered. Inoltre, the Ohio chapter staff also found a “suspicious package” mailed to the CAIR-Ohio Columbus office which contained AR-15 rifle parts.
The organization has shared the information with local police and the FBI, which is investigating the matter.
“Sadly, this hate group’s attempt to spy upon on mosques and Muslim organizations was not surprising. Civil rights advocates have been targeted by infiltrators for decades,” Awad said.
“Despite these attempts to harm us, we are undeterred,” the organization said.
Nel 2010, Iqbal, then a staff attorney for CAIR-Ohio, “warned people to be on the lookout for agents provocateurs seeking to incite and entrap Muslims into criminal activity” durante a CAIR-sponsored event on government surveillance.