May 24, 2013 By Ryan Mauro
Last year, the Clarion Project launched a petition to boycott Best Buy in response to the company’s donations to a fundraiser for the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The company defended its actions in the name of “interfaith” relations, even after nearly 13,000 people signed the petition. The same annual fundraiser was recently held—and Best Buy’s name is missing from the list of sponsors. However, other sponsors remain and readers are encouraged to contact them.
The story begins last April when Islamist-Watch.org broke the story that Best Buy was a “Platinum Sponsor” of CAIR-MN’s annual fundraiser. Best Buy later said it donated $1,450 over two years to the event.
CAIR was designated by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing the Hamas terrorist group. The government listed CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to politically support Hamas.
A 2007 federal court filing states, “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists…the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.” In 2009, the unindicted co-conspirator designation was upheld because of “ample” evidence linking CAIR to Hamas.
The CAIR-MN fundraiser that Best Buy donated to had Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of “Ground Zero Mosque” fame as the keynote speaker. The Master of Ceremonies was Hussein Khatib, a former Holy Land Foundation official and designated unindicted co-conspirator. Federal prosecutors said he is among those who “are and/or were a part of the HAMAS’ social infrastructure in Israel and the Palestinian territories.” He is also on the National Board of American Muslims for Palestine, another radical group.
CAIR-MN was honored with CAIR-National’s “Chapter of the Year Award” on September 29, 2012.
Best Buy refused to express regret or to promise not to donate to CAIR in the future. The company said the donation was done by its Inter-Faith Employee Business Network and “Best Buy’s customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations and we respect our employees’ efforts to constructively promote diversity and education in their communities.”
That’s when the Clarion Project stepped in and started a petition to boycott Best Buy. It quickly spread and caught the attention of U.S. Marine James Canning who served in Iraq and Beirut, who responded with a video on YouTube.
“Because of this support Best Buy has been giving the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR, I can no longer conduct business with Best Buy,” he says as he snips his “Reward Zone” card in half. Shortly after the Daily Caller reported on it, PetitionBuzz.com suddenly removed the petition. It was later restored.
However, others sponsored the fundraiser including: Walmart, Ameriprise Financial, Best Care, the National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota, Metro Health Care Services LLC, University of Minnesota Law School, Hamline University School of Law, Minnesota Interfaith Network and Jewish Community Action. Tellingly, their fellow sponsors are American Muslims for Palestine and the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” You can contact the sponsors at the links provided.
I contacted Walmart about the sponsorship. Spokesperson Delia Garcia said that the information about CAIR would be passed along to the appropriate people and it could affect future sponsorship:
Walmart is not a corporate sponsor of CAIR. At the local level, we empower our store managers to guide community relationships. Because of the unique needs of our workforce in the Twin Cities, Walmart representatives in our Minnesota market purchased a table at a broadly attended CAIR annual event. Our store managers re-evaluate their community involvement annually, so it’s important to note that our local relationships are subject to change.
Fundraisers and other events by groups like CAIR cost money and much of that money comes from businesses looking for an opportunity to advertise. They are sometimes small companies; ones whose stores you can call and talk to the manager. Others are large companies whose attention is harder to capture. We need to all do our part to educate them.
Nearly 13,000 people took action last year by signing the petition. They expressed their beliefs with their voices, Facebook postings, emails and wallets. And, apparently, they could not be ignored.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.