The Ohio chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) has terminated its Executive and Legal director for allegedly sharing confidential information for several years to a known anti-Muslim hate group which was supplying information to Israel.
CAIR said that Romin Iqbal has been secretly recording meetings of the organisation for several years on behalf of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
According to a CAIR statement: “For years, Mr. Iqbal was secretly sharing confidential information about our civil rights work — including surreptitiously recorded conversations, strategic plans and private emails — with anti-Muslim extremists. He did this in violation of his ethical duties to the organization and his moral duty to protect the Ohio Muslim community…
“The local chapter’s Board of Directors has fired Mr. Iqbal, who confessed to working with the hate group after being confronted with the evidence against him, and secured their organization’s key data, assets and infrastructure. CAIR National has also confirmed the safety and security of our systems. Mr. Iqbal never had access to our data or the data of other local offices, which operate separately and maintain strong security protocols.
“We are now working closely with the CAIR-Ohio team to hold Mr. Iqbal – and this anti-Muslim hate group and those who worked with them — whether foreign or domestic actors — accountable for their conduct, which may have violated numerous state and federal laws.
“Sadly, this hate group’s attempt to spy upon on mosques and Muslim organizations was not surprising. Civil rights advocates have been targeted by infiltrators for decades. From Malcolm X and Fred Hampton to anti-apartheid activists, those who stand for justice have repeatedly been targeted by those who stand for injustice.”
CAIR said that Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), founded by the far-right Steven Emerson, was actively and obsessively monitoring “remarks delivered by Muslim public figures.”
The statement read: “Emerson’s hate group had spent years trying to infiltrate and spy upon prominent mosques and Muslim American organizations using ‘moles’ among their staff and volunteers. One of the organizations targeted was the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of CAIR.
“The evidence also indicated that Emerson’s hate group was communicating with and providing assistance to Israeli intelligence with the office of then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Let me say that again. The Israeli government was collaborating with an anti-Muslim hate group.”
The Ohio chapter of CAIR said: The betrayal and violation of trust was planned and purposeful, taking place over a period of years.”
Also, the Columbus office of CAIR-Ohio said it had discovered suspicious purchase from ammunition and gun retailers made in recent weeks using a CAIR-Ohio credit card that Iqbal administered.
“Yesterday, CAIR-Ohio staff also found a suspicious package mailed to the CAIR-Ohio Columbus office containing parts for an AR-15 rifle. CAIR-Ohio has shared this information with law enforcement, which is currently investigating the matter.”
Nabeel Raazi, Columbus-Cincinnati Board Chair of CAIR-Ohio, said: “We were shocked and saddened to learn about this betrayal and incredible violation of trust. Our first priority is the safety and security of our community. We are now even more committed to defending and protecting Ohio Muslims from the anti-Muslim extremists who will clearly stop at nothing to try to harm us.”
CAIR-Ohio posted on its website: “We recognize the difficulty of receiving this information and the unease it brings. We all feel betrayed by a once-trusted leader and advocate whom we relied upon. However, our mission to protect the civil rights of Ohio Muslims transcends any one individual. We want to assure the community that CAIR-Ohio’s local assets, operations, and infrastructure are safe and secure.”
In a letter to the Ohio Muslim community, CAIR-Ohio wrote: “We encouraged mosques and community members to exercise vigilance and review their security protocols out of an abundance of.”
There has been no statement from Iqbal or anyone representing him. The Investigative Project on Terrorism has yet to comment either,