This month, FrontPage Magazine published a piece by this author discussing how Miami, Florida Islamist Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, while sitting on a number of boards for anti-crime institutions, is an organizer of pro-Hamas rallies and propagates material from Hamas and white supremacist David Duke on his Facebook and YouTube pages. Zakkout has responded by posting more material from Hamas and David Duke on Facebook and YouTube.
Sofian Zakkout was born in Gaza, grew up in Kuwait, and moved to the United States in 1977. Today, he runs two semi-prominent organizations based in South Florida, the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), which he incorporated in September 1999, and American Muslims for Emergency and Relief (AMER), which he incorporated in September 2004.
Zakkout is very passionate about what happens in his birthplace Gaza, so much so that he has attached himself to the group Hamas. And as such, he has also developed a keen hatred towards Israelis and Jews in general. This is exhibited in his activities and in the postings he makes on social media sites.
Zakkout is a rally organizer for South Florida violent anti-Israel protests. One that was held in January 2004, outside the Israeli Consulate in Downtown Miami, featured: signs likening members of the Jewish faith with Nazis; an attack on at least one supporter of Israel; and a dozen arrests, one of which was of a Naples-area veterinarian and then-Vice President of the Bonita Springs Islamic Center, Riadh Atmani, for hitting a police sergeant in the face and breaking his glasses.
In July 2014, Zakkout organized an anti-Semitic, pro-Hamas rally held in the same area. In Arabic, the crowd shouted, “Khyber, Khyber, oh Jews, Muhammad’s Army will return,” a reference to the Saudi city of Khyber, where followers of Muhammad attacked and enslaved its Jewish inhabitants in the year 628. They chanted, “Hamas kicked your ass,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “We are jihad.” Zakkout is shown on video smiling, as the crowd repeatedly screams, “We are Hamas.” And like the 2004 rally, someone was attacked, this time a Jewish reporter.
Following the rally, Zakkout stated the following on Facebook in Arabic, above event photos depicting both the pro-Israel and pro-Hamas sides: “Praise God, compare our anti-Israel American Muslim demonstration in front of the terrorist Israeli Consulate to the American Jewish pro-Israel one! Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” He signed it, “Br. Sofian Zakkout.”
Sofian Zakkout is very proficient in the use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He uses all of them to get his message out to the masses. This past May on Twitter, he wrote, “We are the Palestine owner! [sic] Israel must leave!” In December 2012, he tweeted an anti-Semitic video, titled ‘ISRAHELL ON EARTH,’ which claims that the Jewish religion has become “distorted.” Zakkout called the video a “Must Watch Documentary.”
On Zakkout’s YouTube page, along with images of Hitler and an American eagle bludgeoning the world, one can find links to a number of official Hamas videos showcasing militants dressed in full camouflage, brandishing rifles, constructing bombs, and firing rockets (presumably into Israel).
Zakkout’s Facebook page is littered with Hamas logos and photos of Hamas militants and leaders, including Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and deceased Hamas bomb maker Yehiya Ayyash. In a Facebook post from August 2014, Zakkout wrote of Hamas, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.”
Over a graphic of deceased Hamas pioneers – including Yassin and Rantisi – which Zakkout posted on Facebook this past February, he wrote the following violent threat in Arabic, “It is an obligation and it is mentioned in the Quran to defend the land and the population. It is an obligation to kill those who left our religion. It is an obligation to kill those who fight our religion and to intimidate our enemies and the enemies of the religion. Everything is from the Quran, not from me.” And he signed it, “Sofian.”
Also on his Facebook page, Zakkout posts links to interviews and videos featuring white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, David Duke. In one link, a conspiratorial rant made by Duke on Iran’s state-controlled Press TV, Duke voices his concern for what he calls “Jewish Zionist supremacists.” In another, a Duke video titled, ‘Zionist Terror in Gaza: Free Palestine and Free the World,’ he complains about a “Zionist controlled media” that, according to him, doesn’t want viewers to care about “those who are not the ‘chosen’” (i.e. Jews).
In July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Zakkout and his group AMANA for featuring what it called a “venomous” anti-Semitic and anti-Israel David Duke video on its website. In the video, which is titled ‘No War for Israel in Iran – Keep Americans Safe,’ Duke rails against Jews and is shown shaking hands with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The video tells its viewers to “Get the Latest Duke Video – Subscribe!”
Much of this was documented in this author’s article, ‘Fan of Hamas and David Duke on Board of Crime Stoppers,’ which made its appearance on FrontPage on July 14th. The piece discussed how Zakkout, while he conducts radical activities and openly embraces a terrorist organization and bigotry, is a board member in local anti-crime groups. And what was his response? His response was to make additional terror-related and bigoted posts.
The next day, on July 15th, Zakkout posted to his Facebook page a photo of David Duke with a link to Duke’s official YouTube page. The page includes Duke’s 2011 five-part series on white supremacy, ‘For Love of My People.’
On July 16th, Zakkout posted to his Facebook page a video of senior political leader of Hamas and dismissed Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, Ismail Haniyeh, leading a prayer for Ramadan at a Gaza City mosque.
On July 21st, Zakkout linked three Hamas fighter videos to his personal YouTube page. One of the videos was from Hamas’ official television network, Aqsa TV.
And in the ultimate show of defiance, on July 25th, Zakkout reposted (to celebrate its one-year anniversary) his anti-Semitic statement, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
Up until this point, Zakkout has been able to get away with his extremist behavior. He sits on boards of anti-crime organizations, he has received recognition and accolades from both law enforcement and local government officials, he has been embraced by interfaith groups, and his own organizations have gotten incredible amounts of money “for security” from the government.
Zakkout has clearly stepped over the line from advocacy for Islamic causes to violent activism in promoting Hamas and other anti-Semitic and anti-American entities. Based on the evidence, it is beyond doubt that any notion of Zakkout as a moderate is a facade. It is time to stop granting him the legitimacy he does not deserve and ostracize this man for the true risk he poses to local and national security.
Zakkout’s extremism has no place in a democratic society, and his record of supporting terrorism and bigotry speaks for itself.
It is time he be removed from his positions on any boards, commissions and/or organizations which have any connection to the safety and security of American citizens. He should be dismissed from these positions immediately, and law enforcement should launch an investigation into his activities and affiliations and take action to prevent him from continuing to spread his terrorist propaganda using his appointed positions as cover.
Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout is a clear and present danger to us all.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.