On March 10th, the Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted on its Facebook page a photo of its Orlando Regional Operations Coordinator, Rasha Mubarak, shoulder-to-shoulder and smiling beside an equally smiling US Senator Bernie Sanders. Next to the photo, CAIR stated that the two were together “for a meeting with local Orlando leaders.” Question: Why was a leader of a group with so many connections to terrorism invited to such a meeting featuring a candidate for United States President?
CAIR was established in June 1994 as part of a terrorist umbrella group headed by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the US 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 United States for terrorist-related crimes. In November 2014, CAIR itself was designated a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.
CAIR-Florida has reflected and practiced the extremism of its parent organization. In August 2010, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who has denied that Hezbollah is a terror group, wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of G-d…” 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!”
US Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been traveling though Florida, during early voting this month, giving speeches and meeting with groups and individuals whom he believes could help him obtain votes and support. Evidently, one of those individuals was CAIR operative Rasha Mubarak.
According to Mubarak, she had met with Sanders to express “OUR concerns” over “Islamophobia and human rights violations of Palestinians.”
In September 2015, Mubarak took over the job of CAIR-Florida Orlando Coordinator from Ahmad Saleem, who had been arrested for traveling to have illegal sexual intercourse with someone whom he understood to be a twelve-year-old girl. Saleem’s trial is set for next month.
Prior to coming to CAIR, Mubarak had made a name for herself as an organizer of anti-Israel demonstrations. These events have included flags of terrorist organizations and virulently anti-Semitic signs. One handmade sign read: “Terrorist: noun: Ones that commit violent or destructive acts. SEE JEW.”
Mubarak retweets messages made by the Palestinian Information Center (PIC), the media arm of Hamas. She did this as recently as August 2015. PIC tweets and disseminates communiques, including issued violent threats against Israel, from the militant wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
In November 2014, Mubarak was a featured speaker at the Al-Awda 12th Annual International Convention, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, is a US-based activist group, which opposes Israel’s right to exist and whose leaders support terrorist acts against Israelis, including Israeli civilians. Abbas Hamideh, National Vice Chairman of Al-Awda and fellow speaker at the convention, stated in October 2015, “Rest assured Zionism will be eradicated and if you’re lucky you’ll be sent back to Europe where you belong…”
During Senator Sanders’ recent speeches, Sanders has made sure to state his support for the Muslim community and pander to Muslims. This has been done mostly in a cynical effort to take a shot at Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has made some controversial statements regarding Muslims and Islam.
However, for Sanders to hold a meeting with a leader from CAIR is not only a condoning of terror but a tacit acceptance of CAIR officials as representatives of the Muslim community and, by extension, a disservice to Muslims who do not embrace CAIR’s fanatical Islamic activities or beliefs.
Senator Sanders, who has gone out of his way to make strong statements against bigotry, should move immediately to denounce CAIR and its leadership and repudiate their documented intolerance and bigotry.
To voice your opinion and concern that action be taken on this matter, contact Bernie Sanders’ Senate office by phone at 202-224-5141 or send an email to his spokesman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be respectful in any and all communications with these individuals and this office.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.