Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor ends proclamations for American-Islamic group

TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio has declined to honor the Council on American-Islamic Relations this year, ending a four-year tradition of proclaiming an annual CAIR Day.

Iorio said the Tampa Jewish Federation suggested several months ago that she take a closer look at CAIR, which has been accused of having ties to terrorist groups.

"We issued the proclamations in the past based on best available information. And now we're not going to issue proclamations based on best available information," Iorio said.

The group Americans Against Hate claimed credit for Iorio's decision in a news release on Wednesday. But Iorio said she was unfamiliar with the group.

"I don't even know what they are about," she said.

Americans Against Hate has long been lobbying Iorio's office to revoke last year's proclamation.

The group forwarded information to Santiago Corrada, the city's neighborhood services director, about CAIR being named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas trial of a now-defunct Muslim charity. Five of the charity's officers were convicted on charges they funneled more than $12 million to Hamas, a Palestinian group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

Americans Against Hate also shared news reports that the FBI has cut some of its ties to CAIR.

Iorio said Corrada might have mentioned his contact with the group in passing, but she did her own research on CAIR. She wouldn't say where she got her information.

Americans Against Hate, based in Broward County, describes itself as a civil rights and terrorism watchdog group whose goal "is to be an active voice against those who spread bigotry and violence," according to its Web site. State corporation records list three directors: Joe Kaufman, Susan Naftali and Philip Hersh.

The group focuses much of its efforts on CAIR, a Washington, D.C., group with more than 30 chapters in the United States and Canada.

Ramzy Kilic, executive director of the Tampa chapter of CAIR, accused Americans Against Hate of a smear campaign. He said Kaufman fought expansion of a mosque in Pompano Beach, saying "it should not exist on American shores."

"It's unfortunate that our honorable Mayor Pam Iorio has succumbed to the pressure of anti-Muslim extremists such as Joe Kaufman," he said.

CAIR is a civil rights organization that seeks to enhance understanding of Islam, Kilic said.

"We're going to continue our noble work in defending the civil rights of all Americans. People will continue to attack us for the work we've done and the work we do," he said.

Since 2005, Iorio has named a CAIR Day, with proclamations praising the group for promoting civil rights and diversity.

Tampa mayor ends proclamations for American-Islamic group 06/11/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.