Representative Larry Haler of Richland has been called upon to publicly retract statements he made about a  Muslim group recently.

Haler spoke to the Seattle Times about his comments during a House Judiciary Committee meeting.  The meeting was addressing the possible repeal of Washington state's subversive activities law.  Dating back to the Cold-War era, Haler believes it should be kept intact - especially in the wake of the attack on the satirical newspaper in Paris that was known for criticizing terrorist activities and leaders.

Several groups, including the immigration activist group OneAmerica, The Faith Action Network, and the Washington arm of CAIR (Council on Islamic American Relations) called upon Haler to retract the following statement:

 “We do have a group in this country called CAIR, which is basically run by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, they are a political entity, and their goal is to overthrow the country.”

Haler said he has already spoken with CAIR and the Faith Action Network in early February. But CAIR Washington officials want more.  They demand he "officially" take his comments off the record. They dispute his claims about CAIR and say CAIR Washington is made up of Washington residents including Tri-Citians.

Who are some of these groups attacking Haler? At first glance, one would have to wonder what the Faith Action Network has to do with CAIR.  The group says it's made up of numerous people of various religions and walks of life and dedicated to equality. When you look at their legislative agenda, it openly speaks of what appears to be redistribution of wealth:

"Reducing Wealth Inequality (Our Lead Issue): We will advocate for policies that address the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by a small percentage of individuals and families while others struggle to survive..."

What exactly does this have to do with Muslim-American relations? The group claims Haler's comments add to discrimination and lack of equality towards Muslim populations in our state.

OneAmerica appears to have been around since 2011. In fact, according to their website, one of their first actions on September 16th after the bombing of 911 was to organize and create what they call a "hate-free" zone in Washington state. Formerly known as "Hate Free Zone" OneAmerica, in 2002, openly lobbied the Washington state legislature to drop anti-terrorism and wiretapping bills designed to improve security from terrorism. From their website:

"January: HFZ organizes Sikhs, Muslims and Arabs to testify for Washington State House Select Committee on Security; Washington Governor and Attorney General drop wiretapping bill and anti-terrorism legislative package."

It appears these groups are dedicated to what they believe is the protection of ethnic groups against what they perceive to be unfair targeting.

However, CAIR nationally has been designated as a terrorist group by not only the U.S. government but the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As reported by the National Review, for the UAE to consider it so carried far more weight than the U.S accusations - which have since been rescinded by the Obama Administration after pressure from CAIR.

According to the National Review, UAE officials say CAIR has never set off any bombs, but "our threshold is quite low." According to The Review:

"CAIR can rightly be so characterized. True, it does not set off bombs, but, as the UAE’s foreign minister explains, “Our threshold is quite low. . . . We cannot accept incitement or funding.” Indeed, CAIR incites, funds, and does much more vis-à-vis terrorism:"

The article goes on to explain how 7 board members or national staff of CAIR have been arrested, denied entry into the U.S. or have plead guilty, or convicted, of terrorist charges, as well as other well-documented charges.

Freedom of speech and opinion does allow anyone to civilly voice their opinion. But it should be clear to CAIR Washington, OneAmerica, and the Faith Action Network that on a national and world scale, far more knowledgeable and informed experts have deemed this group to be dangerous.

Is anyone saying CAIR Washington is a terrorist group? No, of course not.

But if they wish to not be associated with what even UAE deems to be global threat, then they must publicly distance themselves, and understand the context under which Haler made his remarks.