Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. He was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
Former Broward County Mayor Dale Holness is, once again, running for the congressional seat recently left vacant with the passing of US Representative Alcee Hastings. He only lost by a mere five votes in the 2021 special election primary to Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who now holds the seat and is seeking reelection, and to make up for last year’s deficit, it seems Holness is openly courting Muslims associated with terror and bigotry. On July 30th, his campaign sponsored a ‘Night of Appreciation’ featuring Shafayat Mohamed, an anti-gay imam from an al-Qaeda-linked mosque. In Holness’ desperation to win this seat, he is embracing radical Islam.
Shafayat Mohamed founded the Pembroke Pines-based Darul Uloom Institute (DUI), where he is currently imam, in October 1994. Since then, he has used his pulpit to target homosexuals. In February 2005, DUI published an article written by Mohamed, titled ‘Tsunami: Wrath of God,’ claiming gay sex caused the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. In August 2015, in a speech to his congregants, he lamented the existence of gay Muslim communities. His activity resulted in him being thrown off many Broward County boards. He complained he “got sacked,” because “a lot of gay people” spoke out against him. He said, “I had a choice to sit in paradise or go to hell.”
Also since its establishment, DUI has been a haven for high-profile al-Qaeda operatives. “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla, who conspired to set off a radiological bomb in the US, was a student of Mohamed’s at DUI. Now-deceased al-Qaeda commander Adnan el-Shukrijumah was a prayer leader at DUI. And DUI Arabic teacher Imran Mandhai, along with mosque goers Hakki Aksoy and Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, hatched a plot at DUI to blow up different South Florida structures, including electrical power stations, Jewish businesses, and a National Guard armory. Mohamed, himself, has claimed that one of the 9/11 hijackers was said to have passed through DUI.
In his youth, Mohamed was a proud student of now-deceased bigot Ahmed Deedat, author of the anti-Christian screed Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction? who, according to The New York Times, was “a vocal anti-Semite and ardent backer of Osama bin Laden,” and who would callously refer to gays as “Sodomites.” On the DUI website, one can find a photograph of Mohamed shaking hands with Deedat in Deedat’s facility, what was at the time known as the Bin Laden Centre. Following Deedat’s death, Mohamed traveled to Deedat’s home, in Durban, South Africa, to meet with Deedat’s son and zealous Adolf Hitler fan, Yusuf Deedat, and to pray by his grave.
Last month, the Dale Holness congressional campaign sponsored an event in honor of Shafayat Mohamed. The event was advertised as a ‘Night of Appreciation’ and was held at a local restaurant and banquet hall. On the event flyer, which is painted in Holness campaign colors, there is an image of a smiling Holness arm in arm with Mohamed. The flyer says it was paid for by the campaign.
Additionally, the Holness campaign placed a two-page ad in DUI’s quarterly magazine, Al-Hikmat. In it, Holness thanks Mohamed and praises the imam’s organization. Also in the ad is a photo of Mohamed showcasing a smiling Holness, in front of his congregation. A second photo has Holness standing with Abdulrauf Khan, someone Holness has had previous dealings with as a Broward County Commissioner. Khan is President of the radical Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR) and a national representative for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Khan has used his social media to promote Louis Farrakhan videos and to vilify Jews and gays.
In March 2015, ICNA Relief, the social services division of ICNA, created a post on Facebook claiming that Holness (who is pictured with Khan in the post) “offered to work with” ICNA and that ICNA was “teaming up” with Broward County for a project to help seniors, titled ‘Beautifying our Community.’ Though this may seem like a well-intentioned endeavor, ICNA is a group with several ties to South Asian terror. For 30-plus years, ICNA has harbored Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, an alleged death squad leader from the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, and ICNA has promoted Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a banned front for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Holness, this past March, gave a presentation at the annual conference for the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF), an umbrella group for South Florida’s many fanatical Muslim institutions, including mosques that promote violence and bigotry against Jews, Christians, Hindus, gays and women. At the conference, Holness posed for photos with SFMF leadership and local representatives of the Hamas-related CAIR.
In May, Holness celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF), a radical mosque that, in April 2014, hosted a talk by Mazen Mokhtar, the former administrator for an al-Qaeda financing/recruitment website and supporter of suicide bombings. IFSF’s ex-Youth Director, Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, used social media to call Jews “demonic,” America the “World’s Number One Terrorist Organization,” and gays “stone cold kaffirs outside the fold of Islam.”
Given his activities with Shafayat Mohamed, DUI, ICNA, SFMF, IFSF and others, it is clear that Dale Holness has no qualms about working with either radical Muslims or the organizations they represent. And while he has a right to do as he pleases, Holness is running for high political office, and this comes with a substantial responsibility to act in the best interest of the community. Instead of embracing Islamic extremism, Holness should be denouncing it. Because he fails to do so – because he fails to condemn these entities as illegitimate and dangerous – it is this author’s opinion that Holness is unfit to serve in office, in any capacity.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.