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When Romney Met Kenny: Mitt’s Islamist Gamble
Posted By David J. Rusin On October 23, 2012 @ 12:46 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 21 Comments
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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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/david-j-rusin/when-romney-met-kenny-mitts-islamist-gamble/pgamble25-zz/
 Kenny Gamble: http://www.islamist-watch.org/1105/legendary-songwriter-now-marches-to-an-islamist
 Luqman Abdul Haqq: http://www.imancentral.org/visionary-artist-businessman-community-servant-kenny-luqman-abdul-haqq-gamble/
 prompted a visit: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=8674917
 Universal Bluford Charter School: http://www.universalcompanies.org/BLUFORD.html
 several: http://www.universalcompanies.org/FamilyOfSchools.html
 Universal Companies: http://www.universalcompanies.org/
 interview: http://900amwurd.com/index.php?mact=Podcasts,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01item=kenny-gamble-of-universal-companies-talks-about-mitt-romney-s-visit&cntnt01detailtemplate=12&cntnt01returnid=56
 video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRHWFhUAEsc
 tour of the facilities: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/tTIji2oyb0f/Romney+Visits+Philadelphia+Charter+School/kFEb8N4Ty2o/Kenneth+Gamble
 drawing: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/romney_visited_black_islamist-run_charter_school_in_philadelphia.html
 criticism: http://kleinonline.wnd.com/2012/06/05/romney-pushes-education-plan-at-islamist-owned-charter-school-strange-visit-to-facility-tied-to-obamas-presidential-campaign/
 Education Nation summit: http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=2D892700-F6A7-11E1-B7FE000C296BA163
 explained: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/mitt-romney-at-education-nation--transcript/2012/09/25/b03ebcd2-0741-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html
 mixed: http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2012-05-24/failing-charter-school-touted-on-romneys-education-tour/
 bag: http://www.greatschools.org/pennsylvania/philadelphia/5136-Universal-Institute-Charter-School/
 Daniel Pipes: http://www.danielpipes.org/
 Islamist Watch: http://www.islamist-watch.org/
 Militant Islam Monitor: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/
 Gamble’s: http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2007/11/is-kenny-gamble-building-a-muslim-only
 agenda: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3305
 music: http://rockhall.com/inductees/gamble-and-huff/bio/
 real estate: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/31/entertainment/main546974.shtml
 governing council: http://mana-net.org/subpage.php?ID=about
 MANA: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6704
 formation: http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=608
 Jamil al-Amin: http://www.danielpipes.org/article/97
 convicted cop killer: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-503687.html
 Islamic separatist: http://www.fbi.gov/detroit/press-releases/2009/de102809.htm
 enjoys MANA’s support: http://www.mana-net.org/pages.php?ID=activism&ID2=&NUM=46
 phoned into MANA meetings: http://www.mana-net.org/pages.php?ID=&NUM=164
 Luqman Ameen Abdullah: http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2009/10/imam-killed-in-fbi-shootout-sat-on-board
 preached jihad: http://www.adl.org/main_Terrorism/detroit_imam_killed.htm
 initiating a gunfight: http://www.investigativeproject.org/2215/michigan-ag-wont-prosecute-agents-in-luqman
 Siraj Wahhaj: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=716
 unindicted persons: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1369
 closed Islamic communities: http://www.islamist-watch.org/4404/muslim-enclaves-usa
 interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeA_yTt5HRI
 black Muslim enclave: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/features-king-kenny/
 Jawala Scouts: http://frontpagemag.com/2010/joe-kaufman-and-beila-rabinowitz/philadelphia%E2%80%99s-islamist-boy-scouts/
 photos here: http://www.americansagainsthate.org/Jawala_Scouts.html
 hosting an Obama office: http://www.islamist-watch.org/983/obama-office-operates-in-phillys-islamist-corridor
 march in fatigues: http://www.americansagainsthate.org/images/Jawala_Scouts/Jawala_Scouts_3.jpg
 brandish weapons: http://www.americansagainsthate.org/images/Jawala_Scouts/Jawala_Scouts_7.jpg
 Romney’s: http://www.phillytrib.com/newsarticles/item/4235-romney-sneaks-into-philly.html
 Bluford: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57441105-503544/romney-encounters-pushback-on-education-ideas-at-urban-charter-school/
 visit: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/20120524_Romney_gets_an_earful_at_W__Philly_charter_school.html
 inaugural committee: http://www.youngphillypolitics.com/philadelphia_prepare_be_boarded
 presenting the sign: http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00Ii00Z8tzdIG/595x360.jpg?fit=scale&background=000000
 rename a block: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Philly-Street-Named-After-Gamble-and-Huff--108767204.html
 taxpayer-supported mural: http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2011/07/face-of-controversial-philly-muslim-adorns-city
 dirt-cheap property: http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/2003-03-06/cover.shtml
 sweetheart: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/18752-did-archie-violate-state-ethics-act-before-universal-vote/
 deals: http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-07/news/32079923_1_charter-district-buildings-schools
 municipal: http://www.southphillyreview.com/news/cleaning_up_the_ghetto-72191992.html
 state: http://articles.philly.com/2011-10-19/news/30297978_1_south-street-historic-theater-historic-building/2
 federal: http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2010/09/kenny-gamble-nets-another-500k-from-taxpayers
 nationally: http://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/muslim-brotherhoods-long-tenacles-reach-american-gov
 internationally: http://www.islamist-watch.org/10690/american-islamist-groups-shape-arab-revolutions
 failures in Muslim outreach: http://www.islamist-watch.org/7954/the-us-government-failed-history-of-muslim
 selection of an Islamist: http://freebeacon.com/anti-israel-advocate-reps-u-s-at-rights-conference/
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