Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
It is no secret that the Democratic Party has benefitted from a Muslim community that has felt alienated by the GOP. Adopting this community, though, comes with a hitch. Much of this constituency’s leadership is associated with overseas terror. One case in particular is that of Ahmed Bedier, a Florida delegate of the Democratic Party who has been a representative for Hamas-linked groups, the spokesman for a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, and the brother of a follower of Osama bin Laden. He has photos with Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, the late John Lewis and more. Why would a political party embrace such a dangerous individual?
Ahmed Mustafa Bedier arrived in the US from Egypt with his family, when he was eight years old, spending his youth in both Illinois and Oregon. When his parents relocated back to Egypt, he elected to remain, as he had gotten used to secular American society. In time, he made his way to Florida, where he became somewhat of a financial success, purchasing real estate, shopping at upscale stores, and driving a fancy BMW. In 2000, Bedier went through a dramatic change, becoming an observant Muslim and attending a radical mosque, the Islamic Society of Pinellas County (ISPC), soon taking on the position as the mosque’s Outreach Director.
In November 2002, Bedier became the Communications Director for the Florida office of CAIR. CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations was established, in June 1994, as a key part of the US Palestine Committee, a terrorist umbrella group led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was cited by the US government as a co-conspirator (unindicted) in two separate federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas via a US charity, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Bedier founded CAIR’s Tampa chapter and later would take on the role of Executive Director of CAIR-Florida.
As Bedier began his involvement with CAIR, he as well got involved in the well-publicized case of soon-to-be convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian, becoming al-Arian’s unofficial spokesman in the media. Al-Arian created a Tampa, Florida network for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an entity responsible for the deaths of over 100 innocent people, including Americans. In December 2005, during an interview for TV, when asked if he believed al-Arian’s involvement with PIJ was immoral, Bedier infamously stated, “To a certain degree. Now, before 1995, there was nothing immoral about it.” Prior to 1995, PIJ took credit for five terrorist attacks and eight murders.
In addition to CAIR, Bedier has served as the Florida Events Coordinator for Islamic Relief (IR), a group that has been banned by a number of nations. They include: Israel, which has labeled IR a front for Hamas, United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has designated IR a terrorist group, and Bangladesh. In 1999, Islamic Relief was reported to have shipped more than $6 million to Chechen rebels with ties to Al-Qaeda. In 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with IR over worries about “terrorist financing.”
In February 2011, Bedier found himself, along with hundreds of thousands of others, in Cairo, Egypt’s Tahrir Square to witness the speech of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the US-banned spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had just returned to Egypt from exile after the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The following month, Bedier stated, on a Tampa radio show that he co-hosts, “I went to Egypt for the revolution…”
Bedier’s younger brother, Amir, was also in Egypt for the revolution. In December 2012, after Amir was shot and wounded in the face outside the presidential palace, where many clashes between police and rioters had transpired, Ahmed took to social media to praise him. He said Amir was there “not to protest, but to help the injured.” He said Amir “represents the good people of Egypt, the heroes.” Ahmed’s kind words seemed to be little more than cover to protect his brother, because the sentiment expressed could not be further from the truth.
Amir was no hero. Indeed, he was a follower of al-Qaeda. Evidence of this was revealed on his then-Facebook page, when, in May 2013, Amir, under the name “Amir MB” – MB meaning Muslim Brotherhood – changed his Facebook profile picture to that of Osama bin Laden. He soon followed that up by changing the picture to that of Abdullah Azzam, the deceased mentor of bin Laden and co-founder of al-Qaeda, who is known as the father of global jihad.
On August 14, 2013, Amir was shot and killed by Egyptian police at Nasr City’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. Ahmed, who went to check on the dead body with his parents, said that Amir, for 12 hours, had been left on the street to die.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Ahmed Bedier, then-delegate to the convention, assisted fellow CAIR operative, Ali Kurnaz, in holding up a Palestinian flag on the convention floor, claiming it was in protest to the Democratic Party’s refusal to condemn Israel. Bedier’s behavior was a contemptuous propaganda ploy aimed at exploiting the convention’s media coverage to get attention for the terror-driven “Palestinian cause,” which he actively aids and abets. The fact that he was not censured for attempting to hijack the event shows that the Democratic Party had given their tacit approval for his actions.
Bedier used the party for nefarious purposes then, and he is continuing to use the party now. His social media is littered with photographs of him with Democratic leaders, deceptively making him appear to be a ‘mover and shaker’ within the party. One photo, which Bedier posted on Facebook this past June, depicts him discussing a book with a smiling US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. And while the Pelosi photo might look completely innocuous, having a radical Muslim with al-Qaeda family gain access to the highest levels of our nation’s government should be deeply concerning.
As the Democratic Party moves to embrace and pander to the Muslim community, it needs to understand that at least some within that community have ill intentions for our nation and the party, itself. That is the case with Ahmed Bedier and others like him. Given the dangers that they pose, it would be wise for the party to distance itself from these individuals, who mean us all harm.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.