On January 30th, United States Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch held a press conference along with radical Muslims, at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, to speak out against President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven nations compromised by terrorism, claiming the ban was targeting Muslims. It was done just weeks after another press conference was held at the airport – to announce the ISIS-inspired attack perpetrated by gunman Esteban Santiago. The irony and unseemliness of the two Congressmen’s event cannot be ignored.
Demonstrators, onlookers and media surrounded a podium bearing the Seal of the United States Congress, as a press conference calling for an end to the Trump travel ban was held, on a beautiful Monday afternoon, outside at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. For Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch to speak at that podium is understandable; they are US Representatives. However, for Khurrum Wahid, an individual associated with radical Muslim groups, to speak at such a podium, as he did, is entirely inappropriate and offensive.
Wahid is a South Florida attorney who has built his name on representing high profile terrorists, including operatives from al-Qaeda. One of his clients, Miami imam Hafiz Khan, shipped $50 thousand to the Pakistani Taliban specifically to murder American troops overseas. According to the Miami New Times, Wahid himself was placed on a federal terrorist watch list in 2011. Wahid is the founder and co-chairman of Emerge USA, a Muslim organization that, despite its pleasant sounding name, sponsors political forums at radical mosques. These mosques include:
1. Tampa’s al-Qassam, which was founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian; 2. Pembroke Pines’ Darul Uloom, which has served a number of al-Qaeda recruits and which is headed by anti-gay imam Shafayat Mohamed; and 3. the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, which was co-founded by Hamas web designer Syed Khawer Ahmad and al-Arian associate Bassem Alhalabi, whose founding imam Ibrahim Dremali was placed on the federal ‘no fly’ list, and which built its current mosque using seed money from the al-Qaeda charity Global Relief Foundation.
Emerge has also held events at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF). IFSF’s Youth Director, Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, has a Facebook page littered with anti-American, anti-Jewish and Islamic supremacist language and images. In December 2012, he wrote, “Zionist/Israelis… are demonic and the most evil on earth.” In March 2012, he posted a graphic stating, “ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD.” And in February 2012, he posted a bloodied CIA logo with the caption, “Wiping out the CIA.” Khurrum Wahid is the Registered Agent for IFSF’s corporation.
Representative Wasserman Schultz has not always been comfortable with the group Emerge USA. In March 2012, following a scathing article this author and his colleague wrote about Wasserman Schultz’ upcoming keynote address at Emerge’s 2012 annual fundraising banquet, the Congresswoman felt it necessary to cancel her speech and pull out of the event. In fact, another US Congressman, Alcee Hastings, canceled his participation in the banquet, as well.
Prior to creating Emerge, Wahid served as a legal advisor for the national office of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a director of CAIR’s Florida chapter.
CAIR was created in June 1994 as part of a terrorist umbrella organization led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named a co-conspirator by the US Justice Department for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. In November 2014, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, the UAE government named CAIR to its list of terrorist organizations. A number of CAIR officials have been placed in prison and/or have been deported from the US for terror-related activity.
CAIR’s Florida chapter does little to distinguish itself from its DC-based parent. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who has denied that Hezbollah is a terrorist group, wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God…”
Another Emerge/CAIR operative who participated in the Wasserman Schultz/Deutch/Wahid press conference was Ghazala Salam. Salam has held the positions of Emerge Florida Executive Director and CAIR-Florida Community and Government Relations Director. She has also been involved with Islamic Relief, a group that has been linked to al-Qaeda and Hamas financing and has been banned by Israel. At the press conference, Salam is depicted in different photographs shoulder-to-shoulder with Wasserman Schultz.
For Wasserman Schultz and Deutch to agitate against President Trump’s policies and falsely claim they target Muslims is suspect in itself. But to do so at an airport where five people were massacred in an ISIS-inspired attack just weeks before is an obscene travesty. And allowing Khurrum Wahid, a documented terrorist sympathizer, who himself was reported to be on a federal terrorist watch list, to speak from a podium bearing the Congressional Seal provided Wahid with authentication he had no rights to and was beyond the pale.
Wasserman Schultz and Deutch are career politicians and crass opportunists. Their love fest with radical Muslims is endangering their constituents and national security. Both politicians should be called to account for misusing their positions and enabling the sinister agendas and stealth jihad being waged by Islamists such as Khurrum Wahid and Ghazala Salam.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.