We expect members of law enforcement to protect us from harm, not have involvement with those who look to do us harm. We cannot expect that from Nezar Hamze, because, while he is a Deputy at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, he is also the head of the Florida chapter of CAIR, a group with extensive ties to terrorism. This past month, Hamze led two banquets where groups in the hallway and people on the stage and in the audience also had well documented associations with terror.
CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations was created in June 1994 as part of an umbrella group led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. CAIR has been named by the US government a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. In November 2014, CAIR, itself, was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. Many CAIR representatives have served prison time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related activity.
CAIR-Florida reflects the same violent extremism of its parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “Hamas kicked your ass.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, wrote in Arabic, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly has referred to Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization” and, in August 2014, tweeted, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God…” In December 2010, CAIR-Florida CEO and Statewide Regional Operations Director Nezar Hamze repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas, when given numerous chances to do so, stating “I’m not denouncing anybody. I’m not getting involved in the politics.”
Today, apart from his full-time roles with CAIR, Hamze is a full-time Deputy at the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). He was referred for the job by Scott Israel, the current Sheriff, who calls Hamze his “friend.” Israel hired Hamze against the advice of all three BSO Majors who had evaluated Hamze during the hiring process. In May 2013, they unanimously signed a form stating, “At this time, I do not recommend Officer Hamze for employment…” Hamze was found to be lying on his polygraph exam about “use of illegal drugs” and about “buying illegal drugs.”
Those facts pale in contrast to the security issues involved. What should have stopped Sheriff Israel from hiring Hamze, before anything, was Hamze’s ongoing involvement in a designated terrorist group. However, Sheriff Israel has demonstrated that he cares little about Hamze’s terror-related background, as he has allowed Hamze the ability to exploit his position in the Sheriff’s Office to provide gun training to various radical mosques. The Sheriff, himself, has used Hamze to personally introduce him at these dangerous venues.
In July 2015, the Hamze/Israel Show made an appearance at the Darul Uloom mosque, located in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Each gave impassioned speeches, as they donned their full BSO uniforms, with guns and badges on display.
Many al-Qaeda terrorists have passed through Darul Uloom. “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla was a student of the mosque’s founder and present imam, Maulana Shafayat Mohamed. Now-dead al-Qaeda Global Operations Chief, Adnan el-Shukrijumah, was a prayer leader at Darul Uloom. And Darul Uloom Arabic teacher Imran Mandhai, along with mosque goers Hakki Aksoy and Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, hatched a plot at the mosque to blow up different South Florida structures, including area power stations, Jewish businesses, and a National Guard armory.
The mosque’s imam, Shafayat Mohamed, who Sheriff Israel embraced and literally bowed to, has his own illicit history. Mohamed was thrown off a number of boards in Broward County for his outspokenness against gays. In February 2005, an article written by him was published on the Darul Uloom website (and is still there), entitled ‘Tsunami: Wrath of God,’ claiming that homosexual sex caused the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. In the piece, he also states that most Jews and Christians, whom he refers to as “People of the Book,” are “perverted transgressors.”
On November 19, 2016 and December 3, 2016, respectively in Coral Springs and Tampa, Nezar Hamze led his CAIR state chapter at two fundraising banquets. A photograph of him smiling with one of the main speakers from both banquets, Siraj Wahhaj, was placed onto social media. Wahhaj is the imam of Brooklyn, New York’s At-Taqwa Mosque and a former member of CAIR’s National Board of Advisers.
In 1995, along with Osama bin Laden and bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam, Wahhaj was named by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for a federal trial dealing with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, an act which resulted in the deaths of six civilians and injuries to over 1000 others. Wahhaj had been linked to the bomb-maker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the trial, he was a character witness for the spiritual leader of the attack, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, whom Wahhaj has openly praised.
Also speaking at the Tampa banquet was the Manager of the al-Qassam Mosque a.k.a. Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT), Hatem Naji Fariz. Al-Qassam or ICT was founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian and named after Izzedin al-Qassam, the man who was the inspiration for the founding of PIJ.
In July 2006, Fariz pled guilty in federal court to providing services to associates of PIJ and received a 37-month prison sentence. According to the indictment against him and five others, including al-Arian, Fariz “was a PIJ member” and did “conspire… to commit offenses against the United States… by making and receiving contributions of funds, goods, and services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
In the audience of the Coral Springs banquet was Hamze’s long-time friend, Sofian Zakkout (mentioned earlier). Zakkout is the founder and Director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA). Photos from the banquet have Zakkout warmly embracing CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz. Beside his role in CAIR, Ruiz is the Legal Advisor of AMANA.
Zakkout regularly uses social media to promote terrorist groups and white supremacist and former KKK leader David Duke, who Zakkout has described as “a man to believe in!” In August 2015, he wrote in Arabic, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” This past March, he posted a graphic featuring a montage of deceased terrorist leaders, including Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin and Osama bin Laden. In addition, Zakkout repeatedly refers to Jews as “monkeys and pigs” and has posted onto social media material claiming that the “the Holocaust was faked.”
Another audience member featured on photos from the Coral Springs banquet was the President of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), Bassem Alhalabi. Alhalabi co-founded ICBR, in October 1998, with Hamas web designer Syed Khawer Ahmad. Ahmad designed and was the webmaster for the official website of the Islamic Association, al-Jamia al-Islamiya, the charitable arm of Hamas that runs Hamas’ kindergartens and youth camps.
Before arriving in Boca, Alhalabi was an assistant to PIJ’s Sami al-Arian at USF in Tampa and co-authored publications with al-Arian. In June 2003, the US Department of Commerce charged Alhalabi with illegally shipping a $13,000 military-grade thermal imaging device to Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism. Under Alhalabi’s stewardship, for three years, the ICBR website had an essay prominently posted on it, titled, ‘Why can’t the Jews and Muslims live together in peace?’ It stated, “Jews are people of treachery and betrayal; it is not possible to trust them at all…”
At the CAIR banquets, two terror-related ‘charities,’ ICNA Relief and Islamic Relief, were provided spaces to advertise themselves and solicit donations.
ICNA Relief is a function of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American affiliate of South Asian Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). JI’s militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, owned the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden resided and was killed at. ICNA has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the web to promote different terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban. ICNA conducts annual functions along with the Muslim American Society (MAS), which like CAIR, is a UAE designated terrorist organization.
Islamic Relief’s ties to terror are well known. The Russian government has accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya. Israel has banned the group, labeling it a Hamas front and arresting the organization’s Gaza Program Manager, Ayaz Ali, in 2006, for providing assistance to Hamas. At the end of 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with Islamic Relief over concerns about “terrorist financing.” Reports show that Islamic Relief has sent millions of dollars to and received tens of thousands of dollars from groups related to al-Qaeda.
Nezar Hamze should have never been able to wear a Deputy Sheriff’s uniform or any law enforcement outfit. His only connection to law enforcement should be as a suspect. It is an obscene travesty and a slap in the face to the staff of the Broward Sheriff’s Office that he is permitted to parade around in their uniform with impunity. Hamze surrounds himself with terror-related individuals and groups, and BSO Sheriff Scott Israel completely ignores it.
Sheriff Israel is derelict in his duty, while Hamze is given free rein to exploit his law enforcement status to promote his Islamist agenda. Hamze and his associates are threats to the community, and giving him a badge and a gun is irresponsible and outrageous.
Both Sheriff Israel and Hamze should be investigated and reprimanded for endangering national and local security.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.