COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A local Muslim advocacy group is sharing more on what led to the termination of its executive director, as well as addressing concerns after gun parts were sent to its Columbus office.
The Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) Columbus Cincinnati board of directors voted to terminate Romin Iqbal Saturday.
Spokeswoman Whitney Siddiqi said the National Chapter launched an investigation into Iqbal. He is accused of sharing information with an anti-Muslim group, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), for years.
Betrayal is how Siddiqi describes Iqbal’s actions.
Saddiqi said the National Council on American Islamic Relations made them aware of an investigation into Iqbal last week, accusing him of leaking information about their organization to what they described as a hate group.
“As far as the exact number of years and the exact timeline, because we are contemplating legal action on this, we are not sharing any more specifics on that,” Saddiqi said.
CAIR Ohio didn’t originally release the name of the group when it announced Iqbal’s dismissal Tuesday but chose to do so Wednesday.
“That group is the Investigative Project on Terrorism and it is led by Steve Emerson,” she said. So, you may know this as the IPT and it was founded by Steve Emerson. He is known for spreading hate, vitriol, and anti-Islamic rhetoric.”
The IPT is not on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) list of documented hate groups. However, the name is mentioned on the SPLC’s website.
CAIR-Ohio announced Iqbal’s termination Tuesday after Hilliard Police were called Monday to investigate a suspicious package containing gun parts at the CAIR-Ohio Columbus office.
“We went back and looked at accounts and over the course of recent weeks, we found the transactions from weapons retailers,” Saddiqi said.
According to Hilliard police’s report, 22 purchases were made on gun-related websites between Dec. 1-9.
CAIR-Ohio says Iqbal was the administrator of the credit card, but couldn’t say who made the purchases.
“We have no evidence to point to personal information being shared among our community,” Siddiqi said. “We shared the information about the weapons purchases and the package of AR-15 parts being sent to our Columbus office out of an abundance of caution for our community.
NBC 4 reached out Iqbal Wednesday. We knocked on the door of his home, but no one answered. NBC 4 also reached out to an attorney listed as representing Iqbal, who said he has no comment at this time.