In recent years we’ve seen the politicization of sports, so it was probably just a matter of time before it happened to gambling.
Last week Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts International, sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to his employees in the wake of the recent murders in Charlottesville and Barcelona, Spain. The letter stated “we must stand strongly in defiance of violence, bigotry and anything that threatens our precious right to equality.” Murren concluded by saying, “MGM Resorts will match donations you choose to make to the following organizations.” Among those organizations were the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the OCA National-Asian Pacific American Advocates, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
If Murren had been concerned about the terrorist bombing in Barcelona and he genuinely believed “we must stand strongly in defiance of violence,” then he wouldn’t be funding the Council on American Islamic Relations. (You can contact MGM to register your displeasure at Murren’s decision here.)
As Andrew E. Harrod wrote for Capital Research Center back in October 2016,
CAIR was founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad, and Rafeeq Jaber. The three men were linked to the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook and created to serve as Hamas’ public relations and recruitment arm in the United States. CAIR opened an office in Washington, D.C., by using a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity that the Bush administration closed down in 2001 for collecting money “to support the Hamas terror organization.”
Ghassan Elashi, a co-founder of Texas CAIR, was convicted in 2005 of terrorism-related offenses and sentenced to almost seven years imprisonment. CAIR civil rights director Randall Todd Royer was given 20 years for federal weapons and explosives convictions in 2004. Bassem Khafagi, a community affairs director at CAIR, was convicted in 2003 on bank and visa fraud charges and shipped back to Egypt. Rabih Haddad, a fundraiser for CAIR’s chapter in Ann Arbor, Mich., was detained in 2001 for overstaying his visa. Authorities found a firearm and considerable ammunition in his home. He served 19 months in prison and was then deported to Lebanon in 2003. CAIR board member Abdurahman Alamoudi was sentenced to 23 years imprisonment for directing at least $1 million to al-Qaeda. (For more on CAIR, also see August 2002 Organization Trends and December 2015 Foundation Watch.)
Other groups on that list discredit Murren’s judgment as well. The Southern Poverty Law Center is little more than a propaganda outfit that smears mainstream conservative organizations and scholars by dubbing them “hate groups” and “white nationalists.” And the NAACP, while a revered organization decades ago, now wastes its members’ donations on protesting the fact that millionaire athlete Colin Kaepernick no longer has a job in the National Football League.
But CAIR is the most alarming group on that list, and the one that most merits scrutiny of Murren’s tenure as MGM CEO. Conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root wondered, “What CEO would tie his company to a group like [CAIR]?… He’d have to know his controversial choices involving these extreme groups would offend, outrage or chase off millions of his customers.”
Maybe. Or maybe Murren made a decision out of gross ignorance. Either way, his tenure as CEO should come to an end.