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Best Buy under scrutiny for CAIR event sponsorship

Marc Fink, director of Islamist Watch Marc Fink, director of Islamist Watch


TORONTO – North American retailer Best Buy has come under scrutiny for its sponsorship of an event held by a Muslim advocacy group, which Islamist Watch alleges to have connections to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

When Marc Fink, director of Islamist Watch, learned that Best Buy was a “platinum sponsor” of a Feb. 11 banquet hosted by CAIR Minnesota, he emailed a report – complete with links to documentation of CAIR’s troubling associations – to Best Buy.

Islamist Watch is a project of Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum.

“We monitor a lot of groups,” Fink explained. “They [CAIR] have very close ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Fink said he wanted to educate Best Buy and ask for an assurance that they would not sponsor any more CAIR events. He said he made follow-up phone calls to Best Buy and waited four weeks but received “no response at all.” Only then, he said, did he publish it on the Islamist Watch website and send it out to their 17,000-member email list.

To his surprise, he said, the report was quickly reposted on blogs and forwarded by email. “This thing has gone absolutely viral,” he said.

The Islamist Watch report encouraged consumers to consider contacting Best Buy and shopping elsewhere. Fink clarified that he was not calling for protests or a boycott.

“We are not organizing a boycott: that’s what these types of groups do to Israel. There is a boycott page on Facebook but we have nothing to do with it.... We just want to educate them.”

According to Fink’s report, “the United States government named CAIR an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ to fund the terrorist group Hamas in America's most significant terror financing trial. The US also identified CAIR as an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharing the common goal of dismantling American institutions and turning the US into a Sharia-compliant, Islamic state through incremental, stealth jihad.”

In the 2007 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, an FBI agent testified that two men who founded and ran CAIR were members of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front groups, according to a report by The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

“Best Buy should not be legitimizing a front group for Hamas,” said Steven Emerson, executive director, IPT. “Every time they [CAIR] get a legitimate sponsor, it increases their legitimacy and this group should be delegitimized.”

Emerson said he was aware of Best Buy’s sponsorship of the CAIR event but held off on publicizing it because it is part of a much larger IPT investigation.

He’s willing to give Best Buy the benefit of the doubt “but in the age of Google there’s no excuse for not doing due diligence.”

It’s possible, he said, that, “either somebody at Best Buy was sympathetic to CAIR or just incompetent but now they have no excuse for not withdrawing or saying they should never have gotten involved.”

Fink said he hasn’t given up on trying to convince Best Buy, whose CEO resigned recently, to acknowledge its error.

“Within the next few days to a week they’re going to have new leadership,” he said. “We are hoping that new leadership will take a look at this and say, ‘We’re not going to support this in the future.’”

Neither Best Buy nor CAIR-Minnesota responded to the Tribune’s requests for an interview. In a comment thread on Best Buy’s Facebook page, a Best Buy representative wrote, “Best Buy’s customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity, and choose to engage with our customers, employees and communities in ways that reflect their traditions and maintain good relationships for Best Buy.”

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