Is Best Buy Sponsoring Terrorism?

Sam Costanza

Retail electronics giant Best Buy has been called to task by conservatives for its sponsorship of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that has been linked to the Hamas terror organization by the Federal government.

According to Islamist Watch, a project of the neoconservative Middle East Forum run by Arabist and political commentator Daniel Pipes, the struggling retail chain has "recently used profits from American consumers to fund the annual banquet of a group closely linked to Hamas."

The organization, whose spokesman Ibrahim Hooper has said he wishes to see America ruled by Islamic Sharia law, was listed as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in 2007 Holy Land Foundation fundraising case in which the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was charged with funding Hamas.

Hamas, which targets civilians and which propagates an extreme anti-Semitic ideology, is chartered to destroy "Israel, [which] by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims."

Although CAIR was not charged in the suit, the Federal government named the group as being linked to efforts to fund Hamas and other terrorist organizations and in being a member of "the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee and/or its organizations."

Despite CAIR's history, Best Buy has stated that it believes that is fostering diversity in its role as a "Platinum Sponsor" of the organization's annual dinner.

In response to a deluge of letters protesting Best Buy's ties to CAIR, the company only saw fit to issue the following statement:

"Best Buy's customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity, and choose to engage with our customers, employees and communities in ways that reflect their traditions and maintain good relationships for Best Buy."

According to the New York Sun, now out of print, "Critics note that several former CAIR officials have been convicted or deported after being charged with fraud, embargo violations, or aiding terrorist training."

In 1994, Nihad Awad, the founder and Executive Director of Cair, announced that he was a former member of the PLO, but had changed his ideological affiliation to that of Hamas.