In a push to do outreach to the local Muslim community, the Florida Democratic Party has officially recognized the American Muslim Democratic Caucus (AMDC), a group based in South Florida with members around the state. While this might look innocuous on its face, AMDC is headed by a woman, Ghazala Salam, who is the leader of a terrorist organization and has deep ties to various radical Islamic institutions.
Salam is the Community and Government Relations Director for the Florida chapter of CAIR, a group that only one year ago was labeled a terrorist organization, alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations was established in June 1994 as part of the American Palestine Committee, a terrorist umbrella group headed by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the United States Justice Department a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. Since its founding, a number of CAIR representatives have served jail time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related crimes.
CAIR-Florida, Salam’s chapter, reflects the same extremism as the national organization. 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 Abdelaziz 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 wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of G-d…”
Apart from CAIR, Salam is also involved with Islamic Relief, which like CAIR has been labeled a terrorist organization by the UAE government. Salam, along with her CAIR-Florida colleagues, helps coordinate a nationwide annual event run by Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) called the ‘Day of Dignity.’ IRUSA is the American affiliate of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), Salam has been representing Islamic Relief for this event since at least October 2013.
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. Reports show that Islamic Relief has sent millions of dollars to and received tens of thousands of dollars from groups related to al-Qaeda.
The Chairman of IRUSA is Khaled Lamada. Lamada is also the co-chairman of the Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society (ICNA-MAS) national convention. ICNA has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the web to promote a number of terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban. MAS, like CAIR and Islamic Relief, has been named to the UAE government’s list of terrorist organizations. Lamada has used social media to advocate for such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Ghazala Salam is the President of AMDC. The treasurer of the group is Safiah Maryam Khan, who is also the local Office Manager for CAIR. Last month, on November 15th, Khan posted a photo of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on her Facebook page, with the caption, ‘Hezbollah chief vows to continue fight against ISIL.’ Under it, Khan wrote, “We’re all in this together.”
On November 27th, a report in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel stated about Salam and her AMDC, “The 2016 elections will be the first her group has been an officially recognized caucus of the Florida Democratic Party.” The report then offered a photo pulled from the AMDC website of Salam, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Florida Democratic Party (FDP) Chairwoman Allison Tant Richard. The photo was taken at the June 2014 Florida Democratic Party Leadership Blue Gala.
Other photos from the gala contain South Florida imam Maulana Shafayat Mohamed, who, along with former President Bill Clinton, was a speaker at the gala. Shafayat Mohamed is the imam of the Darul Uloom mosque, located in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Shafayat Mohamed has been thrown off a number of boards in Broward County for his actions against homosexuals. In February 2005, an article written by him was published on the Darul Uloom website, entitled ‘Tsunami: Wrath of God,’ claiming that gay sex caused the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. As well, a number of al-Qaeda terrorists have spent time at Darul Uloom. “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla was a student of Shafayat Mohamed’s at the mosque, and now-deceased al-Qaeda Global Operations Chief Adnan el-Shukrijumah was a prayer leader there.
Ghazala Salam has gotten close to Shafayat Mohamed. A video of Salam being interviewed by him for Al-Hikmat, the media arm of Darul Uloom, was published on the mosque’s website in June. As well, Salam has been honored in the last three bi-monthly newsletters of Al-Hikmat, and she was the recipient of an award at the 2015 annual Al-Hikmat award ceremony in May. Furthermore, the founding Vice President of Salam’s AMDC, Naima Khan-Ghany, hosts a weekly show for Al-Hikmat.
The Florida Democratic Party’s embrace of Salam and Shafayat Mohamed, individuals associated with terrorism and bigotry, is alarming and dangerous. It is evidence of high level infiltration into local government, and it must not be ignored.
If the Democratic Party wishes to retain a modicum of credibility, vis a vis its claims that it promotes peace and equality, it must remove AMDC from its ranks and distance itself from the likes of Salam and Shafayat Mohamed decisively and definitively. By not doing so, the party will have chosen to side with America’s enemies, at a time when the country is under threat of terrorist attack.
If you are concerned about this and wish to speak out, you can contact the Florida Democratic Party by calling 850-222-3411 or by emailing [email protected]. Please be respectful in any and all communications with this organization.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.