Last year’s annual event for Emerge-USA was a disaster, losing keynote speaker Debbie Wasserman Schultz last minute over criticism leveled against her for helping to raise money for an organization whose leadership actively supports terror-related groups and individuals targeting the U.S. and Israel. Now, Emerge is taking no chances and will be holding a banquet featuring a Congressman (and fellow traveler) who is not as shy about his Islamist support, Keith Ellison.
On Saturday, April 20, Emerge will be sponsoring a “benefit dinner” with United States Representative Keith Ellison as the featured speaker. A colorful flyer advertising the event – complete with a big picture of Ellison – is currently found on the homepage of Emerge’s official website. As stated on the flyer, the contact for the event is Rasha Mubarak, who has held the position of Central Florida Regional Field Coordinator for Emerge since October 2011.
Mubarak is a fervent Palestinian activist. In January 2009, she organized a march in Orlando to condemn Israel for waging a war against Hamas in Gaza. During the march, there were repeated chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This chant is a Hamas slogan, whose meaning is the destruction of the entire state of Israel. At another anti-Israel demonstration Mubarak organized this past November, she herself questioned Israel’s current right to exist. She stated, “Israel has a right to exist, but not as they presently do...”
Emerge’s Tampa-area Regional Field Coordinator is Laila Abdelaziz. Not unlike her counterpart Mubarak, Abdelaziz is obsessed with the Jewish state. In January 2010, during a town hall meeting for Barack Obama, she denounced Israel in a question she posed to the President. “[W]hy have we not condemned Israel and Egypt’s human rights violations against the occupied Palestinian people, and yet we continue supporting them financially with billions of dollars from our tax dollars?” she belligerently asked.
In November 2012, when Israel invaded Gaza, in order to stop Hamas from continuing to target her citizens with rockets – over 2000 rockets in less than one year – Abdelaziz tweeted, “Don’t worry ya Gaza, we’re working hard for you in Florida.”
It is not unusual for Keith Ellison – a former member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam – to accept a speaking engagement from a radical Muslim organization, such as Emerge. He has been a regular at events sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two groups the U.S. Justice Department has labeled co-conspirators in the raising of millions of dollars for Hamas. He, as well, spoke at events sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS), at the same time the group was propagating material on its website calling for the murder of Jews.
Almost exactly one year previous to this upcoming April banquet, Emerge was going to hold a similar event featuring as its keynote speaker the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After this author publicly called on her to cancel her speech and co-authored a piece criticizing her for involving herself with such a group, both Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings withdrew their participation.
Much evidence was put forward to show why no government official should allow himself/herself to be taken in by this organization. The evidence contained disturbing details about the main individual behind Emerge, Khurrum Wahid.
According to his bio found on Emerge-USA’s website, Wahid is “a founding member and current Vice-Chair” of the group. Wahid is also a South Florida criminal defense attorney and previously served as a legal advisor to Hamas-related CAIR. His list of terrorist clients include: Rafiq Abdus Sabir, who received a 25 year prison sentence for conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was given a life sentence for being a member of al-Qaeda and for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian, who is at present under house arrest in Northern Virginia.
Recently, Wahid represented Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, who was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban for the express purpose of murdering American troops overseas. Even after the conviction, Wahid is still raising money for Khan on his law firm’s website.
None of this is strange, considering that, in 2011, Wahid himself was placed on a U.S. government terrorist watch list.
The Executive Director of Emerge and the Vice Chairman of Emerge’s Political Action Committee (PAC) is Nauman Sabit Abbasi. Both Abbasi and Wahid are involved with the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF), a radical mosque located in Sunrise, Florida. Abbasi is the President of Public Relations for IFSF. Wahid is the registered agent for the mosque’s corporation.
The Youth Director of IFSF is Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, a fan of Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose Facebook site is littered with fanatical anti-America, anti-Israel and Islamic supremacist language. Last December, he wrote on Facebook, “Zionist/Israelis are not holy people. They are demonic and the most evil on earth.” In February 2012, he wrote, “[Y]es, Allah (SWT) has Decreed that we will over-take the World in numbers…” In that same month, he posted a graphic of the CIA logo spattered in blood with a caption that read in part, “You wipe out the organization that is solely responsible for every terrorist act committed since it’s creation. You wipe out the CIA.”
According to Nauman Abbasi’s Linkedin page, the Emerge PAC has “strongly supported” Keith Ellison. The PAC has also given support to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. While taking money from an extremist group like Emerge is of no concern to Congressman Ellison, it could very well cause Mayor Buckhorn some unease.
In February 2012, at an event to promote Emerge’s Tampa chapter, Buckhorn shared the stage with the Executive Director of CAIR-Tampa, Hassan Shibly. Shibly previously had stated that Hezbollah was “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization.”
This was not the first event Mayor Buckhorn has had with Emerge, but it should be his last.
If it were just one individual within the group, it could be seen as a fluke, but there are too many extremists within the leadership of Emerge for Mayor Buckhorn or others to allow themselves to participate in Emerge-sponsored events or to grant the organization any degree of legitimacy. Emerge-USA is an innocuous name with what appears to be sinister motives.
For Islamists like Keith Ellison, this is of no consequence. For others, they may just be willing to sell out their values and their souls for a buck and a vote.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.
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