Following years of corruption at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office, under the leadership of Brenda Snipes, there was a hope that the present SOE, Joe Scott, would help to change the rotting culture. However, Scott’s speaking engagement along with a State Representative, at a radical mosque for an event sponsored by a widely criticized Islamist “political advocacy” group, may cause one to question whether anything has truly changed.
In November 2018, then-SOE Brenda Snipes was inauspiciously removed from office by then-Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Governor cited “misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty” and accused Snipes of committing fraud. Governor Scott appointed her successor, Republican attorney Peter Antonacci, who stayed on for a single term, to clean up the mess and leave the office in good standing for the next SOE.
That SOE would be Democrat and former US Army Captain Joe Scott, who was elected into office, in 2020, and sworn in, in 2021. Prior to the election, Scott stated in a questionnaire provided by the Sun Sentinel, while attacking Antonacci and completely whitewashing the corruption of Snipes, “[A]s Broward Supervisor of Elections, I will represent all eligible voters and work to regain their trust.”
This past July, SOE Scott and Florida State Representative Marie Woodson visited the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF) to participate in a town hall meeting discussing how new Florida legislation impacts the Muslim community. It was not the first time Representative Woodson visited IFSF. She was there, in July 2022, celebrating the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, wrapped in a headscarf, and posing for photos, one with IFSF’s imam Mufti Sultan Mohiuddin Mohammed.
IFSF has a disturbing history of hosting various Islamist groups and individuals at its center. In April 2014, IFSF hosted a talk by Mazen Mokhtar, the former administrator for an al-Qaeda financing/recruitment website qoqaz.net, who has called Hamas acts “heroic” and suicide bombings “an effective method of attacking the enemy.” IFSF’s ex-Youth Director, Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, used social media to label Jews “demonic,” America the “World’s Number One Terrorist Organization,” and gays “stone cold kaffirs outside the fold of Islam.”
According to the South Florida Muslim Federation (SoFlo Muslims), an umbrella group for South Florida’s many radical Muslim institutions, the town hall dealt with topics including voting and immigration. During the discussion, SOE Scott attempted to win over the crowd using ‘class warfare,’ stating, “Our system was really designed to get certain people registered to vote and to leave certain people out… [W]e’re making sure that all the homeowners [and] everybody who drives a car is registered to vote. And if you’re a renter and you ride the bus, you get left out.”
The event was sponsored by Emgage, an Islamist group that attempts to disguise its extremist agenda as political advocacy. The group’s former South Florida Director Syed Ammar Ahmed, after participating in and losing a debate at a school, said he “hates white people” and joked that he “should have threatened to blow up the school.” The group’s founder and former Chairman Khurrum Wahid is a lawyer for high-profile convicted terrorists and, reportedly, was placed on a federal terrorist watch list, himself, in 2011.
In 2021, Republican Senators blocked President Joe Biden’s nominee for the No. 2 post at the Small Business Administration (SBA), Dilawar Syed, several times, citing Syed’s involvement with Emgage and Emgage’s “inflammatory positions regarding Israel.” Syed eventually received the position, making him the highest ranking Muslim-American in the Biden administration, and would further be appointed by the Administration to a post at the State Department.
Emgage posted the following on Facebook about the event: “Our Emgage Florida team hosted a Community Conversation with Rep. Marie Woodson & Broward County Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott this weekend at Islamic Foundation of South Florida to educate the community on new election laws and the impact on voting. We’re excited about the fantastic turn out and appreciate the coalition force we’ve built in Florida to continue engaging and empowering our community.”
This “coalition force” that Emgage says it has built in Florida consists of terror-linked organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and Islamic Relief (IR), and radical mosques, including Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), which promotes on its website texts that label Jews and Christians “enemies” and endorse female genital mutilation, death punishments for gays, and domestic violence against women.
All of these entities – along with IFSF, Emgage and more – are part of the South Florida Muslim Federation, which works hard to make inroads with South Florida’s media and lawmakers.
An example of the Federation’s efforts took place in June 2022, when it held an award ceremony for three members of the Palm Beach School Board, which according to the Federation, was done to thank them for their role in designating a day off for public school students, in recognition of Eid. The event was held at a storefront gym and appeared to be little more than a cheap photo op. One attendee, School Board Vice Chair Karen Brill, after seeing proof of the Federation’s extremism, told this author and others that she felt uncomfortable at the event, would give back the award, and would never have any more to do with the group.
Question: After seeing proof about the extremism of IFSF and Emgage, will Broward County SOE Joe Scott and Florida State Representative Marie Woodson do the same and have nothing more to do with IFSF and Emgage? Or will they continue to pander to this radical voter faction?
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.