Emerge USA is a Florida-based organization whose unstated goal is to give radical Muslims a political voice in America. One way they do this is by getting their leaders placed in key positions of power. Another way is by making friends with those already in power. United States Representative from Florida, Joe Garcia, is one of those friends. He has accepted thousands of dollars from Emerge for his 2014 reelection bid, and he has returned the favor by helping the group raise more money.
Earlier this month, Emerge held its annual fundraising dinner in Miami, at the DoubleTree Hotel and Airport Convention Center. Featured at the event was Sayed Ammar Nakshawani, an Islamic lecturer from England who is a devotee of Iran’s deceased terrorist leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and who has called for the destruction of Israel.
In a speech found on YouTube and the lecture section of his website, titled ‘Sayed Khomeini’s Quds Day,’ Nakshawani states, “The shame in this world is that, if we put ourselves down to a two-state solution, we would allow a country which has broken 60 UN resolutions to have their own freedom of peace. It is barbaric that this Zionist state is allowed to continue.”
Emerge advertised Nakshawani in an event flyer as well as an Emerge-produced video of Nakshawani telling people to attend.
Given Emerge’s past, having this man speak was no surprise. What was a surprise, though, was that a sitting U.S. Congressman, Joe Garcia, would also be speaking at the event, even after the leader of his political party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, cancelled her keynote address in front of the same group just two years prior.
One of the two co-chairmen of Emerge is South Florida attorney Khurrum Basir Wahid. According to his bio, Wahid specializes in defending “individuals charged with allegedly committing or conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.”
Wahid’s clients include: Rafiq Abdus Sabir, who received a 25 year prison sentence for conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; al-Qaeda member Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was given a life sentence for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, who is presently under house arrest in Virginia; and Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, a Miami, Florida imam who was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Taliban for the express purpose of murdering American troops.
Prior to helping found Emerge, Wahid was a legal advisor for the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a director of CAIR’s Florida chapter. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as a co-conspirator to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.
In 2011, Wahid himself was placed on a U.S. government terrorist watch list.
The other co-chairman of Emerge is Afaq J. Durrani. Durrani is the General Secretary of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), a sizable community organization consisting of 19 area mosques. ISGH is a subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which like CAIR, was named by the U.S. government a co-conspirator in the financing of Hamas.
Durrani is heavily involved in the Democratic Party. According to his Emerge bio, he is part of the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee; he is President of the Asian American Democrats of Texas; and in 2012, he served as a National Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Durrani’s attachment to the Democratic Party may be a big reason for Emerge’s attraction to having Democrat members of Congress speak at Emerge annual functions. That, of course, does not mean that those Congressmen need to oblige the group. Though, Garcia certainly has.
Ten photos featuring Congressman Garcia at the fundraising banquet are found on the Emerge Facebook page, some showing him speaking at the podium, many with a huge smile on his face. One of the photos is of him playfully grabbing the arm of co-founder and former Emerge President Farooq Mitha.
Mitha, who serves in the Obama Administration as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs (DOD OSBP), has spoken at at least one ISNA conference. As well, in February 2011, he participated in an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a group exposed less than a year later as being a vehicle for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements and positions.
It is interesting that Garcia would agree to speak at an Emerge function, as the head of the Democratic Party Debbie Wasserman Schultz canceled her keynote address in front of Emerge just two years earlier, after the group was exposed by this author as an extremist front. Congressman Alcee Hastings also cancelled his participation at the same event.
Last year’s speaker was Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison. Garcia should not look to Ellison as someone to be emulated, though, because Ellison is widely seen as a prominent supporter of radical Muslim groups and an Islamist himself. Ellison’s involvement with organizations such as Emerge is to be expected.
Regardless of the circumstances revolving around past Emerge participants, Garcia had a separate motivation that many involved in politics have been drawn to, that being money.
Garcia’s campaign quarterly finance reports covering July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 show that Emerge and its leadership donated thousands of dollars towards his reelection. In December, the Emerge USA Federal PAC donated $1000 to the Garcia campaign. In November, Emerge co-chair Khurrum Wahid gave $750 to Garcia. Wahid also donated $247 worth of food to Garcia, at a November 7th reception for Garcia held at Wahid’s law firm. Host committee members from the event, Khalid Mirza and Ashraf Amdani, each gave $1000.
On November 16, Emerge Secretary Amira Ishoof gave $750. Amira and her husband Saif Ishoof both attended the Garcia Emerge banquet. Saif is a founding director of Emerge. Prior to getting involved with the group, Saif was the rally organizer and contact for the extreme anti-Israel group, March for Justice. The other contact and spokesman of the group was Nidal Sakr, who was arrested this past March after returning to the U.S. from Egypt where he was a rally organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today, Saif Ishoof is a director for Nur-Ul-Islam Academy, a Muslim children’s school located in Cooper City, Florida whose former Vice President was Raed Musa Awad. Awad was the Florida representative for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas charity that was shut down by the U.S. government in December 2001. Awad was also the imam who oversaw the conversion to Islam by convicted terrorist and “Dirty Bomber,” Jose Padilla.
Joe Garcia’s willingness to accept money from an organization such as Emerge is troubling to say the least, and his enthusiasm and eagerness to speak in front of the group is evidence that his acceptance of the money was no mistake. Garcia’s interaction with Emerge could very well be his political undoing.
Click here if you wish to sign a petition to encourage Congressman Garcia to return the money that he received from Emerge. Please be respectful in your comments.
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