Ohio's Governor Speaks at CAIR Banquet; Ohio’s Press Snoozes

Ohio's press must have been forced into rationing newsprint and bandwidth during the past couple of days.

I can't otherwise explain how the Toledo Blade, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Daily News (news; blogs), and especially the Columbus Dispatch, have thus far carried no coverage of this Ted Strickland appearance on Sunday:

Monday, June 18, 2007
OHIO GOVERNOR SPEAKS AT CAIR BANQUET

(COLUMBUS, OH, 6/18/2007) - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland spoke last night at the tenth annual banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in that state (CAIR-OH).

Governor Strickland addressed the crowd of 350 people, saying: "On behalf of all Ohioans, [my wife and I] appreciate your vision to promote justice and mutual understanding. We gather under CAIR-Ohio's theme this year, 'American Muslims: Connecting and Sharing,' to do just that, to connect and share and get to know each other better."

Governor Strickland also expressed appreciation for "the Muslim traditions of strong family, hard work, and education,” and presented a proclamation honoring CAIR-Ohio’s work.

CAIR Chairman Dr. Parvez Ahmed and several prominent imams also spoke at the event. Imams, local elected officials, and members of the interfaith community were among those in attendance.

For that matter, there's not even anything in Google News.

All searches were done on "Strickland CAIR" without quote marks used at about 7:30 this morning. The DDN's results that were returned only had Strickland's name and no mention of CAIR.

Not newsworthy? Surely you jest. It's not every day that the sitting governor of one of the country's larger states breaks bread with an organization that has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in an alleged criminal conspiracy to support the Palestinian Arab terrorist group Hamas.

Yes, THAT Hamas. Y'know, the one that during the few days leading up to the governor's appearance was reported to have, among many other atrocities:

  • Executed officials of rival Gaza Strip faction Fatah "one by one in front of their families in the streets of Gaza City." Many of those officials appear not to have been combatants in any meaningful sense.
  • Thrown an officer in a Fatah-linked security force (Mohammed Sweirki of the Presidential Guard of President Mahmoud Abbas) from the roof of a 15-story apartment building (Fatah did likewise to a Hamas "activist").
  • "Shot dead seven Fatah fighters after they had surrendered."

Nice.

And who is Dr. Parvez Ahmed, you may ask? He's CAIR's national Chairman of the Board. In 2004, this paragon of "connecting and sharing," and of "promoting justice and mutual understanding," threatened "legal consequences" (HT FrontPage) to those who might dare to write letters to the editor about CAIR's alleged ties to terror.

Ahmed's latest blog post attempts to minimize the significance of the arrests relating to the plot to blow up JFK airport.

FrontPage further notes that:

CAIR has consistently shown sympathy for overseas terrorist groups and their activities. In fact, CAIR’s actions led Senator Charles Shumer, D-NY, to declare, "We know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism."

Is Ted Strickland and his administration so out of touch with reality that it saw this event as just another "Kumbaya" moment? Is Ohio's (and the nation's) press so apathetic and gullible to think that the governor's appearance at CAIR-Ohio with the organization's national chairman in attendance is just another relatively meaningless banquet-circuit event?

The governor's appearance was very long on naivete, very short on sound judgment, and gave a dose of legitimacy to an organization that most certainly doesn't deserve it. It's hard not to think that Ohio's media, some of whom surely received CAIR's press release and are aware of CAIR's activities, are carrying the governor's water.

Cross-posted, with links to updates at other blogs, at BizzyBlog.com.

Correction, 10:30 a.m.: The Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics blog had an entry yesterday that didn't show up in the result-free Enquirer search linked above. The Politics blog entry describes CAIR as "America's largest Islamic civil liberties group," makes no mention of the terror ties described in this post, and says that Strickland is the first Ohio governor to address the group.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.