Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Oregon's Council on American Islamic Relations-CAIR, which has a deep distrust of the FBI, colluded with Portland politicians and activists to successfully shut down coordination between the Portland Police Bureau and the Joint Terrorism Task Force existing since 1980.
In 2002, the JTTF were instrumental in breaking up the “Portland Seven” terror cell who were attempting to join Al Qaeda in Afghanistan prior to 9-11. By 2015, the FBI had approximately 70 open terror investigations in Oregon. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Portland Seven, who got to know each other during gatherings at Portland's Islamic Center-Masjid As-Sabr and at the Bilal mosque in nearby Beaverton, called themselves Katibat Al-Mawt, or “the squad of death”. The FBI likewise investigated Imam Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye of the Masjed As-Sabr and testified that Kariye fought with the Mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the early 1980s. Kariye, who was sentenced to probation in 2003 pleading guilty for making false statements relating to health care matters and the misuse of a social security number, is at the center of radical fundamentalist activity and was linked by the FBI to the Portland Seven. CAIR's attorney Gadeir Abbas stated, “There has been a disproportionate amount of attention paid to the Muslim community in Oregon”; and “There's nothing particularly distinctive about that Muslim community compared to the thousands of others across the US. The difference is the FBI's approach.” However, members of the Portland Seven were indicted on fifteen charges of conspiracy, convicted and given sentences.
During 2017-2018, Joey Gibson a/k/a Patriot Prayer, alarmed at a rising Antifa movement, established itself organizing free speech rallies across the northwest. The rallies were opposed in Portland by a collective of Antifa groups who became so violent that a bill is proposed to declare them domestic terrorists, concurring with Homeland Security and the FBI. The Southern Poverty Law Center added Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys to their white supremacist hate map, and CAIR targeted Gibson who is a multi-racial Christian and ran for the US Senate. Antifa's motto that violence is justified against “Fascists, white supremacists, and Nazis” added so-called “Islamophobes” to the list, intensified opposition and the rallies erupted into riots. CAIR Oregon defamed Prayer with internet campaigns containing misleading propaganda, thereby gaslighting its Islamophobia hate-crime-on-the-rise agenda. Antifa's “abolish ICE” bandwagon gained media attention when activists camped out at an ICE facility. ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), is a major component to the JTTF program. CAIR-Oregon's website contains several articles regarding a City Council resolution condemning white supremacy, and that CAIR joins with Portland's Democratic Socialists of America in calling for police reforms. CAIR also extolled the virtues of Antifa members who doxxed employees of Portland's ICE, calling them “peaceful counter protestors”.
Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty campaigned on divesting the City from surveillance, racial profiling and other FBI undercover operations. Hardesty claimed the Joint Terrorism Task Force engaged in disturbing levels of surveillance activities aimed disproportionately at persons of color and immigrants, and received very little oversight. The Deadly Exchange, an advocacy group for ending US-Israel police partnerships, reports American officers train with Israeli agencies, exchanging worst practices on discriminatory policing. Linda Sarsour stated at the 2018 ISNA Annual Convention that the ADL has been a purveyor of Islamophobia.
Text messages commonly exchanged between Gibson and the PPB prior to rallies to set march protocol were intercepted after claims of collusion between the police and Gibson. Meanwhile, Antifa took to the streets daily to “smash the fash”. Hardesty who aligns on Twitter with Antifa groups and CAIR, stated the text messages prove police collusion with right wing extremists. CAIR-Oregon's current Chair Zakir Khan, who identifies himself as a Civil Rights and Police Accountability Advocate on Facebook and Twitter, tracked and pressured Mayor Wheeler to ensure the PPB were held accountable for their collusion. CAIR's Twitter posted stock photographs of Nazi flags and protestors in riot gear, insinuating a dangerous white supremacy revolution, a misrepresentation which went prime time on major networks. CAIR-Oregon's Twitter made unfavorable posts on Gibson and front-liner Haley Adams.
Citizen journalist Justin Trouble has detailed the Portland events with numerous reports and videos. Antifa leader, Louis Enrique Marquez, is photographed with Minnesota's Attorney General Keith Ellison. Ellison, known as the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, tweeted a photograph of himself holding an official Antifa Handbook stating the book will strike fear in the heart of @realDonaldTrump.
On January 16, 2019, Hardesty hosted (and CAIR promoted) a JTTF Community Info Session (video here). Portland DSA's JTTF Myth vs. Facts Facebook post both in English and Arabic, complained about Mayor Ted Wheeler's lack of monitoring police tactics at the rallies. On February 15, 2019, Mayor Wheeler stated he would be implementing training for the PPB on how to identify white supremacy taken from a joint statement issued that included CAIR, and would order an independent investigation to review police bias. Willamette Week reports Mayor Wheeler capitulating; “I have heard from the people of Portland. I agree we must do more to ensure we adhere to the values affirmed by the resolution recently passed by the City Council to condemn white supremacists and alt-right hate groups.”
CAIR's campaign resulted in the City withdrawing from the JTTF, and calls for Mayor Wheeler to step down and replaced by Hardesty as police commissioner. CAIR's continuing effort leaves Oregon vulnerable to unchecked Islamic radicalization - proven to exist in its Portland area mosques - and effectively hampers the JTTF's open investigations into terrorism, while positioning itself as an overseer of police officer training.