Assault at Muslim Capitol Day

If Ahmed Bedier’s United Voices for America (UVA) was a peaceful organization, with the series of events which occurred earlier this month, you wouldn’t have known it. On the day termed by the group “Muslim Capitol Day,” one of UVA’s members, Bassem Alhalabi, attacked two individuals, this author included. A warrant was issued in his name, culminating in his arrest. This, among other things, leaves into question the true intentions of the UVA.

United Voices for America – United Voices for short – was the brainchild of the former Executive Director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa), Ahmed Bedier. According to Bedier, UVA was created to lobby Florida’s legislature on such issues as education reform, health care reform, and stimulation of the economy. Given Bedier’s long history of extremist activity, though, one would need to be skeptical about such motives.

Bedier began working for CAIR in February 2003, the same month that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian was arrested by the FBI. This was no mere coincidence. Bedier was just coming off a stint as Outreach Director of a radical mosque, the Islamic Society of Pinellas County (ISPC), and CAIR needed someone in the Tampa Bay area to defend al-Arian, one of the founders of CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Bedier fit the bill.

As “unofficial spokesman” for al-Arian, Bedier held press conferences for al-Arian; he spoke at rallies for al-Arian; he organized the showing of a puff film belittling the government’s case against al-Arian; he defended al-Arian in the media; and he allowed the radio show he co-hosts, True Talk, to be used as a forum for al-Arian’s Islamic Jihad colleagues to speak and spew their hatred for Israel and the United States.

Besides shilling for al-Arian’s cohorts, Bedier has also used his radio show to promote Hezbollah. In July 2006, during Israel’s war in Lebanon, all three of Bedier’s radio show guests lauded Hezbollah, describing the terrorist group with such terms as “heroic.”

In May 2008, one year after the U.S. Justice Department named Bedier’s group, CAIR, a co-conspirator in the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas, he announced on his radio show that he was leaving CAIR and starting a new group. That group was UVA.

On Thursday, March 11, 2010, Bedier took his “lobby” group to Tallahassee for its 2nd Annual Florida Muslim Capitol Day. But while the group claimed that it was in town to discuss issues of importance to all Floridians, the event was overshadowed by two assaults that were perpetrated by one of UVA’s members, the first of which was an attack on this author.

I flew up to Tallahassee to join a group of concerned leaders, who were speaking out about Bedier and UVA. Over the years, I had written extensively about Bedier and his terrorist ties, so it was important for me to attend. While I was there, I had the pleasure of giving a PowerPoint presentation about Bedier at a government briefing held in the city’s IMAX Theater.

Following a meeting with a government official, our group found itself in the Rotunda (lobby) of the Capitol Building. While there, I thought I had recognized someone I had written about in the past, Bassem Abdo Alhalabi.

Alhalabi is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He arrived at FAU in August 1996.

Prior to that, he had been an assistant to Sami al-Arian at the University of South Florida (USF), at a time when al-Arian was creating a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist network within the Tampa suburb of Temple Terrace. Alhalabi co-authored materials with al-Arian and used al-Arian as a reference, when he later applied for a position at FAU.

Apart from being a university professor, Alhalabi is also a director and co-founder of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), a radical mosque that has ties to several terrorist-related individuals.

One of the co-founders of the mosque, Syed Khawer Ahmad, at the time an FAU student, was the creator of and webmaster for the official website of the Islamic Association, a.k.a. Islamic Society, the social services apparatus of Hamas in Gaza. The former imam of the mosque, Ibrahim Dremali, was placed on the federal no-fly list. And a member of the mosque, Rafiq Sabir, was convicted in May 2007 of providing material support to al-Qaeda.

The man who appeared to be Alhalabi was speaking to another individual, and so I got closer to take a picture with my camera. Evidentially, I was correct about his identity, as Alhalabi recognized me as well, and he soon made his way over to me.

Alhalabi put his finger in my face and asked me if I knew who he was. “Do you know who I am?” When I answered in the affirmative, he forcefully grabbed my arm, stated “I need to talk to you,” and began pulling me towards the hallway of the Rotunda. I said to him “Let go of me,” but he refused. Alhalabi just kept asking me loudly, “Why do you keep writing about me?”

I began shouting for Mark Campbell, the cameraman who I was with just minutes before all of this took place. I wanted him to get evidence of the assault on film. Mark came, but Alhalabi released me before Mark could get the camera rolling. Thankfully, another individual got a photo of Alhalabi grabbing my arm.

When it looked like things were getting too heated and Alhalabi could do something beyond the aggression he had already exhibited, his UVA colleague jumped in and ushered Alhalabi away.

I filed a police report and stated my wishes to press charges. Accompanying me were the witness with the photograph and the cameraman.

One of the officers, who had questioned Alhalabi, said that Alhalabi stated he had not touched anyone. It was a lie, as the photo (and potential Rotunda surveillance footage) proved, and later he would be charged by the Capitol police with battery.

Campbell left to get ready to attend UVA’s next event.

When we arrived in Tallahassee, our group had been told that we were allowed to be present at UVA’s events and we were, as well, allowed to videotape them. We were even told we could ask questions, as long as we acted in a respectful manner and did not make any attempt to disrupt anything.

I balked at going, as I felt I had already had enough excitement for one day.

It was about an hour following the attack on me, and Campbell was inside UVA’s event. With the camera running, he caught Alhalabi walking by. Alhalabi spotted him out of the corner of his eye and did a ‘double take,’ realizing that Campbell had been the individual accompanying me earlier.

Alhalabi then quickly moved to the side of Campbell and put a blue UVA folder filled with papers in front of the camera lens to stop Campbell from taping. A few moments later, Alhalabi violently lunged for and grabbed Campbell’s camera, jerking it, whilst startling a young Muslima standing next to him. The police seized Alhalabi, just as he appeared to be motioning to hit Campbell with his folder.

The entire scene was caught on tape.

Campbell, as I had done earlier, filed a police report and stated his intention to press charges. And once again, the police charged Alhalabi with battery – his second charge in one day – in one hour.

On Friday, March 19th, a warrant was issued in Alhalabi’s name for his attack on me. The charge concerning the attack on Campbell is still pending.

According to an official from the Leon County State Attorney’s office, Alhalabi was given the choice of either turning himself in or being subject to arrest. Alhalabi chose the latter, and was apprehended in Boca Raton on Monday, March 22nd, by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office. He spent the day behind bars and was released on March 23rd, at 2:15 in the morning, after paying the bond that was set at $500.

This was not the first time Alhalabi found himself on the other side of the law. In June 2003, he was found guilty of illegally shipping a $13,000 military-grade thermal imaging device to Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism.

Alhalabi’s violent actions and sinister pursuits show that he, no doubt, is a threat to society. Indeed, these things are indicative of the organization he has come to represent, UVA, a group that has as its leader, Bedier, someone who has a similar terrorist-related past, someone who proclaimed at UVA’s 2009 Tallahassee event, “We want the government to fear us.”

UVA uses political lobbying as a cover for bullying and intimidation, and in the case of myself and Mr. Campbell, violence. It claims to be a peaceful group with concerns about such important issues as education and health care, but the reality is that it is nothing but a dangerous ruse – a radical Islamic front – dressed in an innocuous name, using innocuous language.

While United Voices for America has met with some of Florida’s Representatives, the vast majority have thankfully kept away, in part as a result of information provided to them by people such as this author. With emissaries like Bassem Alhalabi and Ahmed Bedier, it is not hard to understand why the group would be shunned.

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Young Zionists.

Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

  • Patrick Martin

    Good article Joe, and not surprising these CAIR types would go to extremes like this! As with the EU, we have no need for this extremism, yet less Sharia Law some of them foresee happening here in the states.

    Bottom line from me: when immigrant here in the states, you either assimilate or pack bags and go back HOME.

    I've seen and heard many different positions regarding Islam, Islamic, Islamic-Fundamentalist, Jihadist, etc. To me, it's mostly word parsing.

    What to do with them, I'm not sure. But I know we have way to many representing themselves as an honorable organization, like CAIR does, when in reality, many, such as CAIR again, are doing everything they can to undo everything American and patriotic of the US that they can!

    And in theory, CAIR proclaims not to be a jihadist-type organization. The way I see it, I don't mind being taxed to return them to country of origin. And I whine about our Tax NAXIs at every opportunity!

  • Thunder

    And American MSM reaction? Absolute silence.
    They are, in fact, ony URINALISTS!!!

  • Stephen D.

    I recall seeing a short clip where Alhalabi tells a Capitol Police Officer that the cameraman and another person (I believe from Florida Security Council) who was assualted that "They keep pestering me." I guess by Sharia Law you cannot "Pester" an Islamic man of "peace" and if you are precieved to have pestered him he can hit you (like their woman or anyone else that is less than they are). I love that they cannot help but expose their cultural bias toward anyone not a Muslim Man. In their mind you are beneath them and worthy of their scorn.

  • therealend

    Mr Kaufman, thank God it wasn't worse. You may need to consider other means of protecting yourself. This Mr Alhalabi does seem capable of irrational behavior. Please be careful but by all means, keep reporting. God bless you.

  • Berl

    I would love to see Alhalabi questioned by police, prosecuted, and defended all by women. Wouldn't it be grand to have him under official surveillance conducted by women?

  • AntiJihadi

    I was a witness to the camera man being assaulted just before the "reorganization" when ALL Non muslims aside from the dheemi and the police were escorted from the Historic Florida State Senate chambers and not allowed back in. Creeping Sharia in it's finest. But what do you expect when the Lt. Governor, Jeff kottkamp writes a letter welcoming muslims to THEIR capitol. Speaking of Useful idiots!

  • Mac

    The utter failure of assimilation by Muslims in Western countries has a solid track record. Nor is there any reason to assume that any but a tiny minority resettle in non-Muslim, non-Sharia, Western nations have any intention of "assimilating." The results in Europe prove the exact opposite – that they move in to the areas, bring their extended families, and gradually attempt to assimilate the host population into "their" beliefs. Their expanding mosques everywhere are the most visual display of that.

    Unfortunately, most people in the host countries still think that taking off your robe and donning a suit and tie makes you acceptable. But the opposite happens, as soon black burka-clad women, who pear out from eye-slits, become common visions. Assimilation by Muslims is more a fantasy than a remote possibility. Can anyone name one notable Muslim who has "condemned" terrorism, the reason America fights overseas? Can anyone name a single Muslim on earth that has said anything positive about Jews or Israel?

  • gary


    Florida is a "shall issue" state. Buy a gun and learn how to use it, and carry it with you when you can.

    • Gary Rumain

      Yes, but can Floridians shoot at arselifters with impunity?

  • Gregg Johnson

    When will the American people wake up and speak the truth. These poor muslims cannot help themselves. They really cannot. 1st. They follow a prophet they say is from Allah. This prophet was a gigolo, murderer, rapist, pedophile, thief, liar and cheat. All of that is fact and common knowledge and comes from the queran, haddith and written facts during the life of moohammed. ALL muslims know what their prophet was. islam demands of ALL muslims under threat of death that they either convert, enslave, confiscate or murder ALL non-believers.
    Be honest. If you believe islam you can do anything legally, anything, as long as it is to a non-believer. This destroys a man's soul and kills the spirit inside. A life full of deceit, wife beating, pedophilia, lying, cheating ones whom believed they were friends, (you are commanded to have NO non-muslim friends but may cheat them to get what you want) what is left. Just because they live here does not change their beliefs. They are to hide and blend in until they reach strength. There is no such thing as a moderate muslim. They either believe or are not muslim. The queran states that believers must murder thoese that refuse moohammeds commands.
    islam is a sickness much like diarrhea. It saps you of your energy and desire to love.

  • Crusader

    Indeed , the enemy by proclaiming his path and end , he has DEFINED our path . This is how it will be , a fight to the finish , everyone knows this ,

  • TSmith

    If Mr. Alhalabi was convicted of trafficking in military-grade equipment with Syria, why is he still in the US?

  • —-

    Wow, dude. You just post a picture of someone holding your arm and you call it battery? What a sissy. Where's your objective evidence? This is your story, about YOU, not even by a witness. About the youtube video, Joe's been trying to smear Alhalabi's name for a while and how would you feel if you were innocent and someone tries pointing a camera in your face over and over again? Dr. Alhalabi was a professor of mine at FAU and he is a great person. He is very involved with helping FAU students and is always very polite – I've seen it myself. He never once showed hatred, violent behavior, or anything that Joe claims. Joe says that he was arrested and charged for battery, but where's the public record, Joe? Where's the proof? If you won the case, why not take a picture of the documentation and upload it? This is not objective reporting to me. And I cannot believe people take these things at face value like this.

    • Andrew

      I fully agree with you. He also was my professor and is one of the kindest people I've met on campus. It's is out of this world calling this an assault or battery. But also it is sad to see how easy it is to smear one's name. From what I read, this Joe guy could easily be someone who has taken money from his cousin's frat buddy who had Alhalabi as a professor and flunked his class because he couldn't get up in time to catch his exam and was not given a make up for it. My story is just as valid as Joe's story, trying to smear this nicest persons reputation!

      • —-

        By the way, I have tried looking for that mug shot on Palm Beach County's Sheriff's Office website like it shows and I cannot find a record of him on the date that was posted or dates around that time (March 2010). And I cannot find a record of the trial for battery in the Palm Beach County public records, just a bunch of traffic infractions. This story is looking very bogus all of a sudden.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    I've said it before and I keep saying it again and again, we are heading for a major bloodbath. Political correctness has and will continue to restrain government agencies and law enforcement to deal with the pushy Muslims who are programmed to kill or convert us and they push, push, push. Even after we rid ourselves of our Muslim-in-chief in 2012, folks in Justice will continue to wear blinders but Americans at all levels will get increasingly fed up and angered. There will be mosque burning and bombing, there will be riots and there will be innocent, decent folks who just happened to have been born into Muslim families who will suffer as innocents always suffer when radicals force violent backlashes.

  • Zhang Xuan