Online ‘Taliban Imam’ Ramadan

Izhar Khan, other radicals featured in stay-home holiday affair.

Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).

Last month, the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF) sponsored an online town hall meeting, titled ‘RAMADAN FROM HOME.’ While the event was being conducted online to keep those involved safe from coronavirus, the groups and individuals participating in it – from the sponsor to the speakers to the moderator – represent terror-related organizations and institutions promoting violence and bigotry and should be regarded as threats to our community and country’s security.

Ramadan is a month-long holiday, whereby Muslims gather together in prayer and reflection. It has also been a time for launching jihad attacks. In South Florida, however, this year’s Ramadan is being celebrated by many at home, due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, the South Florida Muslim Federation, an umbrella organization for terror-linked Islamist groups and radical mosques, created an online event in honor of the holiday, featuring a number of local imams, to be hosted on Zoom, this past April 19th.

The contact for the event was the Executive Director of SFMF, Nezar Hamze. Prior to his involvement with the Federation, Hamze was a Regional Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist organization with foundational and financial ties to Hamas. CAIR was established, in June 1994, as an integral part of a terrorist umbrella group led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, who at the time was located in the US and today is a senior member of Hamas, residing in Cairo, Egypt. The Public Relations Director of the Federation, Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, is currently the CAIR-Florida Communications Director.

SFMF has a Facebook page, SoFlo Muslims. Up until May 2019, the group’s Facebook Manager was Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, someone who had used his own Facebook page to propagate hate. On Facebook, al-Ghani labeled Jews “demonic,” homosexuals “evil,” and America the “World’s Number One Terrorist Organization.” In March 2012, he posted a graphic stating, “ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD,” and in November 2012, he posted a photo of Hamas militants with the caption, “The few the brave. They are not [a] regular army. They have nothing to fight [for] except a strong faith on Allah. We love u Hamas. U are the real hero.”

One of the featured speakers at the SFMF town hall was Izhar Khan. Khan is imam of Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), a Margate, Florida mosque that currently contains on its official website a book library filled with texts promoting female genital mutilation, death punishments for homosexuals, stoning of women, and hatred of Jews, Christians and Hindus. One MJAM text, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, states, “[B]eware of the Jews, your enemies, lest they distort the truth for you in what they convey to you… [D]o not be deceived by them, for they are liars, treacherous and disbelievers… Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them.”

In May 2011, Khan was charged by the FBI with taking part in a plot to ship $50 thousand to the Taliban for the specific goal of murdering American troops overseas. As stated in the US Justice Department indictment against Khan and his family, “Izhar is a Pakistani Taliban sympathizer who worked with [his father Hafiz] and others to collect and deliver money for the Pakistani Taliban… Izhar… provided and attempted to provide material support and resources… knowing and intending that they be used in preparation for and in carrying out… a conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country.”

The moderator of the town hall was Taha Qureshi, the Outreach Coordinator for ICNA Relief, a function of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). ICNA is the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the largest Islamist group in South Asia. A current imam of ICNA, Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, was a death squad leader for Jamaat’s then-militant wing, Al-Badr, and was himself sentenced to death (in absentia) by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh, in November 2013. ICNA has used its website to promote such groups as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban. The Palm Beach County representative of the South Florida Muslim Federation, Abdul Rauf (Abdulrauf) Khan, is also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ICNA Relief USA.

On February 12, 2016, Qureshi posted onto his Facebook page a memorial for the 67-year anniversary of the death of Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, containing a smiling picture of al-Banna and referring to al-Banna as “a legend.” The post states, “67 years ago on this day Imam Hasan Al-Banna was killed. Save a spot in heaven for me bruh. #thatgrin” In August 2016, Qureshi made a post on Facebook that vilified the English language as “a shit language.”

The month of Ramadan is advertised as a peaceful occasion, during which Muslims are said to abstain from a number of acts, including what Islamic clerics have ruled sinful behavior. As well, the holiday has been used as a vehicle for initiating murderous attacks. For some Muslims, it has become a short trajectory from piety to ‘Paradise.’

The Ramadan town hall event being sponsored by the South Florida Muslim Federation took place at separate residences, where participants were free from contact with others. Yet, these same participants and the entities they represent, like their terrorist counterparts, exemplify the worst of violence and bigotry.

The bad actors being embraced by the Muslim community negate the benign image of Ramadan that they wish to project onto the non-Muslim world. Neither the coronavirus crisis nor this year’s ‘virtual Ramadan,’ in response to the crisis, can provide cover for or change this fact.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

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