The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is often touted and consulted by the media when the subject of Islam is broached. Superficially this makes sense--the comprehensive and high-minded name of the organization suggest a seriousness and universality of purpose and membership.
In fact, however, CAIR is no more representative of America's Muslims than the National Organization for Women is of America's female population. Rush Limbaugh brought to my attention an article that makes this point very clear by showing how many actual dues-paying members CAIR has: less than 1700:
Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to tax documents obtained by The Washington Times.
The number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to fewer than 1,700 in 2006. As a result, the Muslim rights group's annual income from dues dropped from $732,765 in 2000, when yearly dues cost $25, to $58,750 last year, when the group charged $35.
The organization instead is relying on about two dozen donors a year to contribute the majority of the money for CAIR's budget, which reached nearly $3 million last year. [...]
Critics of the organization say they are not surprised that membership is sagging, and that a recent decision by the Justice Department to name CAIR as "unindicted co-conspirators" in a federal case against another foundation charged with providing funds to a terrorist group could discourage new members.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says the sharp decline in membership calls into question whether the organization speaks for American Muslims, as the group has claimed.
"This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR represents the American Muslim population. They only represent their membership and donors," Mr. Jasser said.
Read the rest of this important article.