June 17, 2002, - 4:11 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
You’d be surprised that your morning cup of coffee is tied to terrorism.
But for Americans who buy coffee–or anything else–at Caribou Coffee, their “Cuppa Joe” is tied to the Muslim brotherhood, the Muslim boycott of the West, and a bunch of Saudi Sheiks.
Caribou is closely tied to a prominent religious Muslim leader, Dr. Yusuf (a/k/a Youssef) Abdullah Al-Qaradawi, who said, “Now we see our brothers and children in Al-Aqsa and the blessed land of Palestine generously sacrificing their blood, giving their souls willingly in the way of Allah. All Muslims must help them with whatever power they have.”
Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., the large Minnesota-based chain of premium coffeehouses trying to compete with Starbucks, describes itself as “a classic American growth company” with “the look and feel of an Alaskan lodge.” But, in fact, Caribou is not “classic American.” It is owned by the Bahrain-based First Islamic Investment Bank–to the tune of 87.8%.
First Islamic’s officers and Board of Directors consist primarily of Saudis, and its key religious advisor is Al-Qaradawi, spiritual advisor to the terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, according to one of Daniel Pearl’s last Wall Street Journal articles. Al-Qaradawi’s association with the Muslim Brotherhood–home to Mohammed Atta and Bin-Laden boss Ayman Al-Zawahiri–is the reason Al-Qaradawi was imprisoned for several years in Egypt and was banned from preaching in Cairo mosques. In addition to praising homicide bombers, Al-Qaradawi has issued numerous anti-American and anti-Semitic fatwas, including a boycott of American and Israel products.
In an official statement released by Caribou, the company denies all ties to Al-Qaradawi, and in fact, do not even mention him by name, referring to him only as “an outside advisor.” In an interview, Caribou Coffee CEO Don Dempsey told me, “He has nothing to do with our company. Nothing!” Caribou also claims that “Our ownership . . . is 100% opposed to terrorism of any kind, anywhere–period.” Dempsey told me that the only statements he’s seen that Al-Qaradawi has made were in opposition to the terrorist events of 9/11. He told me. “I don’t have time to look up his statements. He doesn’t work for our company.”
Caribou’s denials are understandable, as Dempsey admitted that a large portion of Caribou’s customers are Jewish, and many of its stores, like the two stores in West Bloomfield, Michigan (suburban Detroit), are near primarily Jewish neighborhoods.
But, actually, Al Qaradawi is a key advisor to First Islamic, whose website states, “First Islamic is guided by the following principles inconducting its activities: Above all, ensuring that all activities conform to Islamic Shari’ah (religious law).”
Until last week, when a damaging e-mail made its way around the Internet, First Islamic’s website featured a Shari’ah Supervisory Board, listing its chairman as “Dr. Yusuf Abdullah Al-Qaradawi, Chairman, Seerah & Sunnah Center, Qatar University; Professor, Faculty of Shari’ah, Qatar University.” The beauty of the Internet is that, even though First Islamic does not want you to read this, the page can still be accessed because it has been cached by the Google.com search engine.
First Islamic’s website states, “The Bank’s Shari’ah and legal teams, with the active involvement of the Shari’ah Supervisory Board, work closely with the direct investment, real estate and asset management teams to develop the Bank’s ground-breaking Islamic investment and financing structures. To ensure rigorous compliance with Shari’ah requirements, the Shari’ah and legal teams, and through them the Shari’ah Supervisory Board, are involved in the key phases of each new transaction. After a transaction closes, it is continuously monitored to ensure ongoing Shari’ah compliance.”
Caribou’s press statement would only say “We . . . understand that this relationship [with Al-Qaradawi] is under review.” Would, say, a K-mart “relationship” with David Duke remain under review, or would he be fired instantly? When I asked Caribou CEO Dempsey why the organization would not immediately sever all ties with Al-Qaradawi, he continued to state that “this person” had condemned 9/11 and that this was the only statement of Al-Qaradawi’s he’d seen and didn’t see what was wrong with it.
But in Al-Qaradawi’s official fatwa on the attacks, released by his own Islam Online and several Muslim news agencies on September 13, Al Qaradawi used the 9/11 attacks to attack Israel and Jews, emphasizing “our strong opposition to the American biased policy towards Israel.” Moreover, he implied that Arab Muslims are much more afflicted than American victims of 9/11. “We Arab Muslims are the most affected by the grave consequences of hostile attack on man and life. We share the suffering experienced by innocent Palestinians at the hands of the tyrannical Jewish entity.”
In a December 2001 article in Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram Weekly, Al-Qaradawi was described as “the Arab world’s most famous and certainly most popular Islamic scholar.” In that article, Al-Qaradawi’s decrees were summarized. “Instead of putting money into building a mosque or go[ing] on the haj (religious pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims should donate this money to support Palestinians fighting occupation and other struggles of Muslim populations.” Al-Qaradawi also denies “that Bin Laden should give himself up,” opposes “taking part in the US coalition against Afghanistan,” calls on Muslims to “boycott Israeli and American products,” and demands “a fair international trial for” Bin Laden.
In another fatwa, Al-Qaradawi wrote, “It is Jihad to liberate the Islamic lands from those who attack or conquer them. These are the enemies of Islam. This Jihad is an absolute obligation and a sacred duty. . . . All the Muslims of the world must assist. Palestine is the land of the . . . Muslims, . . . the land of Al-Aqsa and the blessed territory.” He goes on to attack “the USA, and . . . the world Jewish community. Jihad is obligatory.”
Since Al-Qaradawi decreed, “Muslims in America must work with companies who are least hostile to Muslims, least allied to the Zionists,” that should tell you something about Caribou–the company, in which his Shari’ah Supervisory Board approved of an 87.8% investment.
Americans should take just a smidgeon of Al-Qaradawi’s advice and boycott the “American” company with which he is associated, Caribou Coffee.
Why spend money with a company whose key advisor supports terrorism, and approves of terrorism? To Al-Qaradawi, spilling of innocent blood–not drinking coffee–is good to the last drop.
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