A leader of a Muslim advocacy group in Ohio was fired after it was discovered he was spying for a group that researches "radical Islamic involvement in terrorism."

The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it fired Romin Iqbal, the group's executive and legal director, after discovering he was spying on behalf of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which bills itself as "the world's most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups."

"Last week, CAIR's national headquarters informed our chapter that a forensic investigation conducted by an independent, third-party expert had found conclusive evidence that [Iqbal] had spent years secretly recording CAIR network meetings and passing confidential information regarding CAIR's national advocacy work to a known anti-Muslim hate group," CAIR-Ohio's board of directors said in a Wednesday press statement.


When confronted with the evidence, Iqbal admitted he had been working with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the board said. Iqbal was then terminated from his position.

CAIR-Ohio said it later found evidence of suspicious purchases made with one of its credit cards, including "purchases from ammunition and gun retailers."

On Tuesday, the staff found a package mailed to the Columbus office containing parts for an AR-15 rifle. The suspicious package was reported to law enforcement, which is investigating the matter, according to CAIR-Ohio.

The CAIR-Ohio board of directors appointed Amina Barhumi as acting executive director and Lina Abbaoui as acting legal director for the region.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism was founded in 1995 by Stephen Emerson. While Emerson has assisted in the arrest of suspected terrorists, he has also promoted false information about Islamic communities and organizations, according to researchers.

"The reason the FBI has stated that it 'does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner' is that it has evidence showing CAIR was created as part of a Muslim Brotherhood support network for Hamas, and to this day is led by the same radicalized and unrepentant leader," the group said in an email to the Washington Examiner. "While the Investigative Project on Terrorism has never and will never monitor the wider American Muslim community, it will not hesitate to uncover and publicly expose radical Islamist activity on American soil by groups like CAIR, which threaten our national security."

When asked to confirm whether the Investigative Project on Terrorism had ever received information from Iqbal, Emerson did not respond.


Emerson has regularly criticized CAIR, pointing to the leaders' past affiliations with Islamic groups such as Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

CAIR said the affiliations occurred before the organizations were declared terrorists by the United States and before CAIR's founding in 1994. The group also said on its website that it denounces violence by Hamas and regularly advocates for "peaceful and negotiated resolutions to conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere."