When Romney Met Kenny: Mitt’s Islamist Gamble

Mitt Romney’s embrace of Kenny Gamble, an operator of Philadelphia charter schools who doubles as a prominent suit-and-tie Islamist calling himself Luqman Abdul Haqq, raises questions about a potential Romney administration’s readiness to identify and steer clear of smooth-talking radicals. The Republican candidate should treat this blunder as a learning opportunity. The lesson: never make the mistake of promoting a Muslim leader without properly vetting him first.

The story begins on May 24, when Romney’s desire to push his education policies and reach out to urban voters prompted a visit to West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School, one of several managed by Gamble’s conglomerate, Universal Companies. According to an ABC News report, Romney “had heard about Universal … and asked for an invitation.” Gamble claimed as much in a radio interview.

Seated beside Gamble, Romney joined other local figures for a roundtable (video here) in which he discussed ideas for attracting good teachers, involving parents, and boosting achievement. Romney generously praised Gamble, at one point turning to him and saying, “I’d like to get your experience from the front lines and first salute you for the investment you’ve made, financial and personal, in establishing a pathway for hundreds, thousands of young people to have changed lives.” Gamble led Romney on a tour of the facilities as well.

No less disconcerting, the Romney campaign appears not to have done any serious follow-up on Gamble despite drawing criticism from bloggers for the trip to an “Islamist-owned charter school.” Thus, Romney compounded the previous error by eagerly dropping Gamble’s name multiple times during NBC’s Education Nation summit in New York on September 25.

“I saw a school in the inner city of Philadelphia,” Romney explained. “And I understand that the school was closed down, that 90 percent of the kids in that school were not reading at grade level. … A guy named Kenny Gamble … put in place a charter school.” After recounting his surprise at the art, music, and computer instructors there, Romney touted how Gamble runs it “like a business.” He continued: “As I recall, almost 90 percent of the students there now are reading at grade level. And it’s the same students.” (Note, however, that Universal’s education record is very much a mixed bag.)

Wherever Romney originally heard about Gamble and Universal, it probably was not from the websites of Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, Islamist Watch, or Militant Islam Monitor, which for years have documented Gamble’s troubling agenda — a history that should make him toxic to any politician knowledgeable about stealth jihad.

An African-American music and real estate mogul, Gamble has long been listed — under his alternate name, Luqman Abdul Haqq — as part of the governing council of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), which is among the most radical U.S. Muslim groups. Its formation was inspired by Jamil al-Amin, a convicted cop killer and Islamic separatist who dreams of a Shari‘a-run state; he enjoys MANA’s support to this day and even has phoned into MANA meetings from prison. Gamble’s other MANA colleagues have included Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who preached jihad against the U.S. and was shot to death after initiating a gunfight with federal agents in 2009, and Siraj Wahhaj, one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Just as several MANA leaders have championed the building of closed Islamic communities, Gamble outlined his own “model” for them during an interview on Saudi television. Worse, he is suspected of actually using his enormous South Philadelphia real estate holdings to assemble what has been dubbed a “black Muslim enclave.” Confronted in 2007, Gamble responded with a rant portraying segregation as natural. “It’s like cats,” he insisted. “They’re all cats. But you don’t see the lion with the tiger. You don’t see the tiger with the panther.” Equally alarming are Gamble’s intimate ties to the Jawala Scouts (photos here), aptly described as an “Islamic paramilitary boys group” featuring “hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics.”

Additional background is available in an Islamist Watch article from 2008, published after Gamble left his fingerprints on that year’s election by hosting an Obama office. Alternatively, a simple online search yields plentiful data.

What makes the Romney-Gamble flirtation so unsettling is the apparent lack of due diligence in determining who does and does not get endorsed by the man who could be the next leader of the free world. Ten minutes on Google should suffice to raise red flags, but did anyone from the campaign bother to look? More disturbing is the possibility that uncomfortable facts turned up but were dismissed as tangential to Gamble’s work in education.

“Saluting” somebody like Gamble for one facet of his life while ignoring the rest imparts an aura of respectability to the individual as a whole, easing the path for his less savory projects. This seems to be understood for every group except Muslims. Imagine, for example, a senior figure in a radical Christian organization whose luminaries have been linked to violence and terrorism, a man who has shrugged off charges of constructing a “white Christian enclave” and been involved with a youth movement whose participants march in fatigues and brandish weapons. Regardless of his other accomplishments, would this person be asked to share camera time with a presidential hopeful? The question answers itself.

The role of the media is significant here. Though they would hammer any candidate who bolstered the analogous Christian radical, mainstream news sources that covered Romney’s Bluford visit made no mention of the skeletons in Gamble’s closet, illustrating that their see-no-evil mentality vis-à-vis Islamism trumps even their instinct to shame Republicans. Indeed, the obvious hypersensitivity and double standards protecting Islamists can foster complacency among politicians of both parties, who assume that they will not be held accountable for palling around with them.

This certainly has been the case in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael Nutter has suffered no ill effects from having Gamble on his inaugural committee, personally presenting the sign to rename a block in Gamble’s honor, and headlining the dedication ceremony for a taxpayer-supported mural that lauds him. Such legitimization has paved the way for Gamble to build his Islamist-tinged empire through massive government assistance, including dirt-cheap property from the city, sweetheart deals with the School Reform Commission when it was chaired by a onetime Universal board member, and regular feedings at public troughs that span the municipal, state, and federal levels.

Rather than provide a “they do it too” excuse for politicians caught befriending Islamists, the Philadelphia establishment’s cozy relations with Gamble only underscore the importance of a critical eye and the will to act on it — in other words, real leadership. As radical Muslims aggressively seek similar openings to win undeserved respect and influence governments both nationally and internationally, a president capable of recognizing and shunning them is more vital than ever. Washington’s colossal and bipartisan failures in Muslim outreach — most recently seen in the mind-boggling selection of an Islamist to represent the U.S. at a conference on human rights — have done enough damage already.

Islamists have grown adept at hiding in plain sight, so great care must be taken when choosing which Muslims to engage and extol. With luck, airing the embarrassing facts behind his unfortunate promotion of Kenny Gamble / Luqman Abdul Haqq will be the wake-up call that Mitt Romney needs to learn this lesson now and, should he prevail on November 6, be in a better position to succeed where past presidents have faltered.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    "must be taken when choosing which Muslims to engage and extol."

    I've heard unicorns exist, but never seen one.

  • Lily

    This article is very insightful into how stealth Islam works, and I am appalled to read how much of an inroad it is making. I agree whole-heartedly that Romney needs to be called on this connection with this shady character Kenny Gamble aka Luqman Abdul Haqq, I never heard of either name until reading this article. Their use of two names alone confuses Americans when names appear in the news. It's appalling how easily these Islamics work their way into the political system and make it work to their advantage. It's all well and good to have people who watch these things, like Daniel Pipes, Islamist Watch, Militant Islam Monitor, and the Refugee Resettlement Watch ( http://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/ ), but what I want to see is the tide to be turned against how easily these Muslims make use of the American System at tax-payer expense no less.

    • MotherGoose

      Thanks for the link….I"ll add it to my subscriptions.

  • Schlomotion

    I read nothing in this article to justify why I should take this author's bias, Jew vs. Muslim into my own heart. On the one hand, we have an astrophysicist turned drone of Daniel Pipes. On the other hand, we have the producer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O'Jays, Billy Paul, Dee Dee Warwick, McFadden and Whitehead, and Teddy Pendergrass. So my first question is, what has this loser of an author produced for American civilization to top what his smear victim, Kenny Gamble, has given? Kenny Gamble has given all of this music, and has donated his time to leukemia and cancer research, music foundations, restaurants, mosques and charter schools. I would place my attitude toward David Rusin as hostile. This man is simply trying to persecute a pillar of Philadelphia society.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Interesting, you formerly complained about Nakoula, the alleged film maker of Innocence of Muslims for using "aliases", yet Gamble's alias Luqman Abdul Haqq doesn't bother you at all.

      • Schlomotion

        I am going to take a deep breath and type this slowly for you, because you are painfully dumb: an alias is a false identity that a fraudster uses to commit crime. A pseudonym is a fake name that a creative person uses to author creative works. An attribute name is a name adopted by a person who adopts a new religion or philosophy and wishes to reflect its attributes.

        Nakoula, a criminal fraudster and bank swindler, uses an alias to commit the crimes of fraud and theft.

        Kenny Gamble / Haqq uses an attribute name to mark his conversion to Islam.

        I can see how this passes for hypocrisy to you, as dumb people can only construct dumb hypocrisies. To smarten you up just a tiny bit, I refer you again to the fact that Kenny Gamble runs charter schools while you, on the other hand, complain vociferously about a Turkish professor, all over Pam Geller's website, and proclaim the self-righteous virtues of taking the taxi to avoid coming in contact with Arabs. There is no real comparison between yourself and your target.

    • Questions

      Kenny Gamble in another life was a record producer, a co-originator with Thom Bell and Leon Huff of the Philly Sound. Hey, I dig those records, too. But that doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye from his very real terrorist connections. You think, Schlomo?

      Arguably the most influential record producer of all, Phil Spector, was a pathological gun-toter who aimed his piece at any number of musicians including John Lennon. Yes, he produced the Righteous Brothers, Crystals, the Ronettes, the Beatles, the Ramones, Leonard Cohen, Ike and Tina Turner, and yes, he murdered Lana Clarkson.

      Kenny Gamble — you can't hide facts.

      • Schlomotion

        So even though he created all these schools, Kenny Gamble's dealbreaking high crimes and misdemeanors are that he's friends with H. Rap Brown? That makes him equivalent to Phil Spector beating his girlfriend to death? I don't think so. What we are really talking about here is Daniel Pipes and his foot soldiers trying to persecute former Black nationalists, because their aims are believed to be counter to that of Jewish nationalists. I remember when the Brown/Amin shooting happened. The FBI has been trying to "get" Amin on various nonsense charges. That was also when they paid the coke dealer and gold thief Michael Fitzpatrick $45,000 to entrap Qubilah Shabazz for solicitation of murder.

        You are saying that Kenny Gamble deserves to be persecuted for being friends with a guy who was a prominent militant when the United States was violently at war with its own population forty years ago. Since then, US has tried to propagate the Warith Deen Muhammad style Black Muslims and kill, maim or imprison anybody who follows the Dar ul-Islam style of Black Muslims. The entrapment of Qubilah Shabazz was retaliation for the easing of tensions between NOI and Black Nationalists, and for Ben Chavis' shift from the NAACP to the NOI. In effect, the FBI caused Betty Shabazz' death as collateral damage.

        Maybe these Zionist witch-hunters can provide evidence that Kenny Gamble killed somebody and not in self-defense. That would be a proof of your claim that he is like Phil Spector. Otherwise, this is just baseless bigotry.

        • Questions

          Ms. Clarkson wasn't exactly a "girlfriend." And he didn't "beat" her to death; he shot her, though the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain cloudy. I'm not candy-coating Spector. The guy was and remains mental. He had a long history of pointing guns at people. He treated his ex-wife, Ronnie Spector, like a prisoner in her home.

          That said, there is no reason why candidates in either party should get mixed up with Kenny Gamble. He's a black urban street hustler, and I've seen his type a thousand times. Aside from the fact that a lot of Islamic "charities" are thinly-disguised fronts for Hamas and other terrorist operations, Romney is insane to partner with him. Avoiding Gamble isn't "bigotry." It's political common sense.

          • Schlomotion

            I forgot about the specifics of Phil Spector's downfall. I am more of a Ronnie Spector enthusiast.

            "Kenny Gamble. He's a black urban street hustler, and I've seen his type a thousand times."

            You've seen a thousand times somebody who runs a major soul label and a chain of charter schools and makes donations to cancer foundations? I have seen a lot of "black urban street hustlers myself" and none of them ever opened any charter schools or really drove music for a couple of decades. Certainly none of them was doing leukemia research sponsorship. Certainly there is a lot shorter word for "black urban street hustler, I've seen his type a thousand times." It starts with N. Is that what you mean, because I am looking at this guy and he seems like an upstanding member of the community. Did you mean your slur in the same way that it would be meant toward Malcolm X or toward Tookie Williams?

            If I said "He's just a Jewish urban ambulance chaser, I've seen his type a thousand times" would you take that as viable character assessment?

          • Questions

            I've known Jewish ambulance chasers, too. And I'm Jewish. Big deal. As for Malcolm X, he was Tookie Williams without a gun. I could care less about the death of either.

            The nature of the Left is to go on treasure hunts to dig up evidence of "racism" in every stray comment. So go ahead — call me a racist. It doesn't faze me.

  • reader

    "I read nothing in this article to justify why I should take this author's bias, Jew vs. Muslim into my own heart."

    You're already have one, Jew hating bias that is. Everybody here knows it, tro schlo.

  • George_Babbitt

    To those that will be 'swallowing the pill' and voting for Romney…try not to choke LOL. You could have had Ron Paul, but NOOOooOOOOooo, he's not electable, well now you have somebody that is, congrats!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fkjuliano Fabio Juliano

    This confirms what I have suspected: a President Romney wouldn't do anything about the stealth jihad going in on the United States. He doesn't know anything about the subject and wouldn't care much if he did. Moreover, being a Mormon, he probably sympathizes with Muslims as members of another "persecuted" religious minority. We have reached the point both in the U.S. in Europe where the solution will have to be extra-electoral.

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

      The solution is educational … FPM is at the forefront of this educational struggle. But we are just at the beginning.

  • skippatel

    A few years ago we penned this article to warn about Gamble. (Please note that his office was designated as "South Philly Obama Headquarters"
    http://thelastcrusade10.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/

    Beware of false prophets my friends!

  • cynthiacurran

    Well,Paul is even sofer on islam,to Ron Paul its the us that is to blame not any followers of islam.

  • Odd

    Articles like this, while possibly true, are very counterproductive when it comes to the big picture. All it will do is cause some people not to vote for Romney — even though when it comes to radical Islam, Obama is much much worse (not to mention he may be a radical Muslim himself).
    Frontpage needs to exercise some prudence when deciding which articles to publish and what purpose they may serve.

  • https://www.facebook.com/john.doba John Doba

    Gamble/Haqq has apparently done some good tactical work for students in Philly— but the stealth-jihad subtext requires examination. You have to remember taqiyya— Muslims are permitted and encouraged to deceive us filthy infidels for the sake of the jihad and the eventual caliphate. The writer is correct, if Romney visited/praised a putative Christian with dubious ties to militants, it'd all be over for him. But most Americans including journalists are ignorant of Islam's doctrines so it's not an issue— just yet… But let's just get another couple of million Muslims here, and you'll start seeing what they're getting in Europe.

  • mike

    This man used to make good music,but now seems to be a radical Islamist.

  • south philly

    romney just did what ryan did at the soup kitchen , faking a op, i respect a mans religion , the isrealis just admitted to killing a ranking opposition member years ago,