Muslims Thank McKinney for Efforts on Their Behalf

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, has written a letter to Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), thanking her "for all your efforts on behalf of our nation."

The letter also said, "We will support you in any future efforts, whether in the political arena or in the private sector, to promote the cause of justice and inclusion."

McKinney was defeated in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Georgia, so she will not return to Congress when her current term ends.

She drew heavy support from the Muslim community, while her challenger, former state court judge Denise Majette, received considerable support from Jewish contributors.

In a letter released Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations praised McKinney for her "willingness to do what is right, in spite of the consequences."

But some of what McKinney did raised eyebrows in both Republican and Democratic circles.

For starters, McKinney made national headlines in October 2001 for pursuing a $10 million charitable contribution from a Saudi prince - money intended to help victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani angrily returned the check, after Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal suggested that U.S. Middle East policy contributed to the terrorist attacks. The prince urged the U.S. to "re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause."

Then in March, McKinney suggested the Bush administration had failed to act on prior warnings of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In an interview with a Berkeley radio station, McKinney said, "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? What do they have to hide? Persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war," she charged.

But according to CAIR, McKinney "stood for the poor, the forgotten and the disenfranchised."

The letter said, "Your example motivated thousands of ordinary people to get involved in the political process and to fight for their civil rights and human dignity. The Muslim community wishes to once again thank you...""