Daily Herald: State Republican party attacks Islamic group

daily heraldThe Illinois Republican Party Tuesday called on an immigration-rights group to cut ties with an American-Islamic organization, but that group called it part of a divide-and-conquer strategy in the fight against comprehensive immigration reform.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady put out a statement calling on the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights to immediately expel the Council on American-Islamic Relations from its list of affiliated agencies over alleged ties to Hamas in the Middle East.

Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR’s Chicago chapter, called that “utter garbage,” “dirty politics” and part of a “coordinated misinformation campaign” by a GOP leadership “lacking in guts.”

Like the CAIR Web site, Rehab dismissed charges of ties to Hamas as “conjecture and aspersions and false allegations.”

He said he did not expect the GOP stance to erode ICIRR’s support for CAIR and vice versa. “Our partnership is deep and strong,” Rehab said.

The GOP statement cited the FBI’s reported decision to cut all ties with CAIR over that agency being named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case and also pointed to anti-Israeli signs at recent rallies sponsored by CAIR. Rehab said the organization had discouraged such signs, but could not entirely quash the free speech of protesters not affiliated with the group.

ICIRR Executive Director Joshua Hoyt could not be reached before deadline.

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