Exclusive Interview: Robert McCaw of CAIR Speaks on Ilhan Omar, Chris Gaubatz, and PM Modi
“Islamophobia is a top-down problem in the Republican party,” Robert McCaw stated when speaking on how local county chapters have the door opened to anti-Muslim concepts.
“We urge Republican Party leaders in North Carolina and nationwide to disassociate the GOP from all forms of bigotry, including the kind of Islamophobia, spewed by Mr. [Chris] Gaubatz,” said Robert McCaw Director of Government Affairs Department at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a press release for journalists earlier in the month.
When asked about Chris Gaubatz, McCaw explained that in 2008 Gaubatz planted himself as a fake recent convert to Islam. McCaw was a member of the CAIR intern class Gaubatz infiltrated* and stated Chris was “convincing” while putting on the facade. The experience became the premise of the book entitled Muslim Mafia co-authored by Gaubatz’s father Paul David Gaubatz.
Chris Gaubatz’s False Claim Crusade
McCaw would then go on to detail Chris beginning to give lectures with local law enforcement officials, stating false claims about Islam. Citizen Truth recently highlighted the methods Gaubatz used as part of the process. By pushing his “Islam is the problem” message McCaw said, “Chris is helping limit the Civil Rights of Muslims in communities where he speaks to officers.”
“The Republican party is aware,” McCaw responded when asked if the GOP was aware of Gaubatz’s speech at the Haywood County Republican Party Headquarters on Feb. 19. McCaw would go on to detail how Amherst County Virginia pulled the venue from the Islamophobic ‘Understanding The Threat’ organization in January of last year. From The News & Advance:
Chris Gaubatz was scheduled to speak Tuesday following the regular monthly meeting of the Amherst County Republican Committee, which is held in the basement of the Sheriff’s Office. A representative from the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office said he was unaware of the event until contacted about it by The News & Advance on Monday.
Captain John Grieser said the Sheriff’s Office cannot control GOP operations but stated they can decide how their office is used and did not, “want to give the perception to the public that we would allow a particular group to hold a forum that’s contradictory to our mission statement of treating each citizen with respect, equity, and compassion.”
The Amherst County GOP booked another venue for their meeting and allowed Chris Gaubatz to speak during the proceedings. CAIR operates the U.S. Islamophobia Network which provided a briefing on ‘Understanding The Threat’ in October 2017:
John Guandolo’ s Understanding the Threat (UTT) is a consultation and training group known for providing anti-Islam instruction for U.S. law enforcement officials. Guandolo believes that America “is at war with Islam,” and that major Muslim organizations and mosques are “preparing for combat.” He claims there is inaction on the part of the U.S. government to counter this threat because people inside the Trump White House “have been co-opted by the bad guys.” Guandolo excused a terror attack on a London mosque because “people who are still sane” are “having to make very difficult decisions.” Guandolo sees conspiracies in everything. He fantasizes that former CIA Director Brennan is a secret Muslim agent. He believes in a vast conspiracy of Muslims intentionally taking jobs as hotel managers, cabbies, TSA staff and shuttle bus drivers as part of a plot against the United States. He believes all U.S. Muslim organizations are part of a plot to overthrow America.
“Anyone who says ‘Islam is the problem’ should not be helping set the agenda or speaking to county GOP’s office,” Robert McCaw added on the discussion of ‘Understanding The Threat’ and the mission of Chris Gaubatz.
The Top Down Problem
“Islamophobia is a top-down problem in the Republican party,” McCaw stated when speaking on how local county chapters have the door opened to anti-Muslim concepts. McCaw would point to the ‘Listening to America’ survey as an example of the national Republican party fostering an environment. The following questions and answers choices appear in the survey which still exists on the official GOP website:
McCaw further detailed that it was ‘no surprise’ local GOP chapters embrace Islamophobic ideology when the national party sets the messaging in such a manner. When asked what he would like to see in the future McCaw strongly commented that he would like the GOP ‘to not invite bigots into their tent.’
CAIR On Representative Omar And Indian Prime Minister Modi
“CAIR supports Representative Omar and her efforts to highlight the lobbying efforts of AIPAC,” McCaw commented when asked about the recent controversy over tweets made by Representative Ilhan Omar concerning the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). McCaw believes a ‘boomerang effect’ came out of the controversy as many American citizens looked into the lobbying efforts of the right-wing organization.
“CAIR does not feel there was any anti-Semitic meaning in her Tweets, but due to the brevity some took it as such,” McCaw stated while adding Representative Omar apologized for making her argument in a way which allowed a misinterpretation of her statement to be taken in a hurtful manner. McCaw would thank Representative Omar for standing firm in her willingness to speak out concerning the influence in Washington D.C. organizations like AIPAC and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have.
When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, McCaw was quick to condemn the Prime Minister for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots which left between an estimated 1,000 – 2,000 dead. By all estimates, the vast majority of those killed were Muslim. Human Rights Watch (HRW) comments on the riot:
Authorities in India’s Gujarat state are subverting justice, protecting perpetrators, and intimidating those promoting accountability 10 years after the anti-Muslim riots that killed nearly 2,000 people, Human Rights Watch said today. The state government has resisted Supreme Court orders to prosecute those responsible for the carnage and has failed to provide most survivors with compensation. The violence in Gujarat started on February 27, 2002, when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was attacked by a Muslim mob and caught fire, killing 59 people. In a retaliatory spree by Hindu mobs, hundreds of Muslims were slaughtered, tens of thousands were displaced, and countless Muslim homes were destroyed.
In 2012 Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch stated the following on the matter, “The 2002 violence against Muslims in Gujarat persists as a dark blot on India’s reputation for religious equality. Instead of prosecuting senior state and police officials implicated in the atrocities, the Gujarat authorities have engaged in denial and obstruction of justice.”
“Officials of the Gujarat state government, led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is serving its third term running the state government in Gujarat, failed to conduct serious investigations and obstructed justice. State courts dismissed many cases for lack of evidence after prosecutors effectively acted as defense counsel or witnesses turned hostile after receiving threats,” the report states about current Indian Prime Minister Modi. “Strong evidence links the Modi administration in Gujarat to the carefully orchestrated anti-Muslim attacks, Human Rights Watch said. Rioters had detailed lists of Muslim residents and businesses, and violence occurred within view of police stations. An independent media organization, Tehelka, used hidden cameras to capture some of the accused speaking openly of how the attacks had Modi’s blessings.”
*Robert McCaw was a member of the summer 2008 CAIR intern class. This section corrects an early draft which stated he was the head of the class