WASHINGTON-A prominent American Muslim advocacy group on Saturday denounced as 'racist and 'insidious a claim by four US Republican lawmakers who accused it of trying to plant 'spies as interns on Capitol Hill. The Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR) also applauded statements by members of the US House of Representatives rejecting claims made some of their Republican colleagues that Muslim congressional interns are 'spies. In an unusual announcement this week, conservative Republicans-Congressmen John Shadegg, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, and Sue Myrick-formally asked the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of CAIR, a non-profit group, of trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill with interns and staffers. Shadegg said that CAIR is an organisation that 'members of Congress should be aware of and that should be investigated by the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service. 'It is troubling that right-wing elected officials would serve as publicity agents for extremists who seek to bar an American minority from exercising its constitutionally-protected rights, CAIR said in a statement. 'We would love to help people find jobs on Capitol Hill, said Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for CAIR. 'Theres a Muslim Staffer Association. Should they be investigated?. The proclamation from the four Republicans came in advance of a book, entitled 'Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld thats Conspiring to Islamise America, which includes a forward by Myrick. The author of the book, Dave Gaubatz is avowed anti-Islam activist. The lawmakers also released a one page 'strategy document they said they obtained from CAIR. But, POLITICO, an online news service, said, the document basically lays out a fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy and indeed, one of the goals is 'placing Muslim interns in congressional offices and registering people to vote. Hooper of CAIR ridiculed the claims by the four Republicans. 'All they can come up with is that we are political active? Hooper asked. 'The terror threat is that Muslims are politically active?. Democrats werent amused by the accusations, and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez said she was 'appalled by the situation, calling it a 'witch hunt. 'I urge the rest of my colleagues to join me in denouncing this witch hunt, which is clearly intended to create fear and distrust in our Capitol Hill community, Sanchez said in a statement. POLITICO said its not clear yet if the sergeant at arms will investigate whether there are Muslim spies on staff in the House. But a spokeswoman for Shadegg says the lawmakers also want a Department of Justice investigation to find out 'if CAIR was successful in placing interns with key congressional committees, including the Intelligence and Homeland Security panels. Hooper pointed out that there are indeed many Muslim staffers on Capitol Hill, CAIR is a lobbying organisation, and its executive director was on Capitol Hill Friday - speaking at an interfaith forum on health care with other religious groups in the Rayburn building. The Council on American-Islamic relations also said that one of its directors has received a death threat after the Wednesday launch of the 'Muslim-bashing book. CAIRs offices in Washington DC, Detroit, and Northern and Southern California also received obscene phone calls. The San Diego caller referenced the anti-Muslim book. CAIR has informed the FBI of the threat, a Press release said. In response to the right-wing smears, the Atlanta Journal called CAIR a 'mainstream, all-American civil liberties and advocacy group. An article on Salon.com, an independent online magazine, called the actions of the elected officials who launched the anti-Muslim book the 'most despicable domestic political event of the year. The article calls the co-author of 'Muslim Mafia a 'ranting, insane hatemonger. The demand for a probe of Muslim 'spies in Congress drew condemnation from other elected officials, one of whom said he was ashamed that Republicans made 'all this fuss. 'As a Republican, Im ashamed that Republicans made all this fuss,said Findley. 'I dont find anything in Islam that justifies these calls of terrorism. Half of the American people are misinformed about Islam and Ive tried to correct those assumptions. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, A Democrat, said:It shouldnt need to be said in 2009, and after the historic election of our first African-American President, but let me remind all my colleagues that patriotic Americans of all races, religions, and beliefs have the right - and the responsibility - to participate in our political process, including by volunteering to work in Congressional offices. Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism. Dave Gaubatz, the anti-Islam blogger who co-authored 'Muslim Mafia, has a long history of bigotry targeting Islam and Muslims, CAIR said. Gaubatz has called Islam an 'evil ideology and worked for a racist group that sought to make 'adherence to Islam punishable by a 20-year prison term. Alongwith his past rhetorical attacks on CAIR, Gaubatz has called President Obama a 'crack head and wrote that 'a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Shariah Law. He also called Islam a 'terminal disease that once spread is hard to destroy.