Ammar Campa-Najjar is the “grandson of Mexican immigrants” and was a rising star in the Democrat party until he became a failed Congressional candidate, losing to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). He is now trying to revive his fortunes by running for mayor of Chula Vista, California. He has received the endorsement of the Chula Vista firefighters’ union. He is also a committed Leftist, as his capsule bio at Ballotpedia reveals, “Campa-Najjar worked on Barack Obama’s presidential re-election campaign as a deputy regional field director before joining the Obama administration in the Executive Office of the President.” There is, however, one other important aspect of Campa-Najjar’s record: it reveals yet again the Left’s uncritical and indiscriminate readiness to ally with the most unsavory Islamic groups.
Campa-Najjar himself is not a Muslim at all, but a Christian; however, besides having Mexican immigrant grandparents, he is also the grandson of a jihad terrorist, Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar. In October 2018, when Campa-Najjar was mounting his unsuccessful Congressional run, Joel Pollack reported in Breitbart that Campa-Najjar “deleted an Instagram post in which he referred to his grandfather, Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar, as a ‘legend.’ Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar was ‘a senior member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September that murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics,’ according to the Times of Israel, and a deputy for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat.”
The Breitbart report added, “Earlier this year, when Campa-Najjar’s roots were first reported, he condemned his grandfather’s actions and supported peace. But in a 2015 Instagram post praising his father, who is a former Palestinian Authority (PA) official and Palestinian ambassador, Campa-Najjar referred to his grandfather as a ‘legend.’ He offered no criticism or condemnation of his grandfather’s terrorist acts. Breitbart News reported the existence of that Instagram post on Monday, as well as another in which he noted that his family was close to Yasser Arafat’s.”
What’s more, Campa-Najjar “received a campaign donation from a Palestinian ambassador; and donated campaign funds to a radical group, CAIR, while taking donations from CAIR officials. Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Campa-Najjar’s campaign made a ‘civic donation’ of $650.00 to CAIR in 2017, and that he had received nearly $9,000 from CAIR officials. Breitbart News had reached out to Campa-Najjar’s campaign Tuesday to ask about his appearance on the ‘top ten’ list of political candidates who had received contributions from ‘Islamist’ sources, as compiled by the Middle East Forum’s ‘Islamist Money in Politics’ (IMIP) project.”
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so-named by the Justice Department. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements about how Islamic law should be imposed in the United States. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story.) CAIR chapters frequently distribute pamphlets telling Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented and has been declared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. Hussam Ayloush, head of CAIR’s Los Angeles office, himself in 2017 called for the overthrow of the U.S. government.
But donating to Hamas-linked CAIR and receiving money from its officials is not career suicide for Ammar Campa-Najjar, although if a conservative candidate appeared with an analogous group as unsavory as CAIR, it would be. Campa-Najjar is a hard-Left candidate and never suffered any political fallout among Leftists for his connections to the organization. This is an indication of how topsy-turvy our political discourse is today: this unsavory gang of thugs has been normalized.
The money from CAIR is a matter of grave concern for other reasons as well. Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, two officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) (which was listed as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s allied organizations in a notorious 1991 memorandum), founded this Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood group in 1994. The federal government shut down the IAP in 2005 as a Hamas front.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service reported in 2001 that the IAP was so close to its parent organization that it published and distributed Hamas communiqués on its own letterhead, “as well as other written documentation to include the HAMAS charter and glory records, which are tributes to HAMAS’ violent ‘successes.’” Oliver Revell, a former chief of the FBI’s counter-terrorism department, called the IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”
Several CAIR officials have already been convicted of participating in violent jihad activities. Randall Todd (“Ismail”) Royer, CAIR’s former communications specialist and civil rights coordinator, participated in the “Virginia jihad group,” which was indicted on forty-one counts of “conspiracy to train for and participate in a violent jihad overseas.” Royer served over a decade in prison after a plea bargain that had him pleading guilty to lesser charges.
Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, likewise served time in prison for jihad activity. In 2009, he was sentenced to sixty-five years in prison for funneling over $12 million in charitable contributions to Hamas while serving as head of the Holy Land Foundation. Other former CAIR officials have been convicted of jihad terror activities as well, raising the question of how this supposedly moderate group failed so abysmally to distinguish “moderates” from “extremists.”
CAIR itself was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. The organization not only facilitated donations to the Holy Land Foundation, but also received money from it — no less than half a million dollars. CAIR cofounder Nihad Awad vehemently denied this when terror researcher Steven Emerson confronted him: “This is an outright lie. Our organization did not receive any seed money from the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR raises its own funds and we challenge Mr. Emerson to provide even a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claim.” Emerson then published an image of the canceled check.
Do the Chula Vista firefighters know all this? Would they care if they did, or dismiss such concerns as “Islamophobic”? Do Democrat leaders know it? Would they care if they did? Almost certainly not.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.