In response to this author’s article published in FrontPage Magazine last Friday about how CAIR leader Nezar Hamze is now a Deputy Sheriff at the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), Sheriff Scott Israel appeared on WFTL-Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman radio show to discuss the matter. On the show, Israel made a number of weak excuses as to why this has taken place. The following report will challenge these excuses, in an effort to expose this wrongdoing.
Since the beginning of this year, Sheriff Scott Israel has been hopping around from radical mosque to radical mosque, getting his smiling face photographed with a number of known Muslim extremists in South Florida. It turns out, during that time period, he has had his own Muslim extremist liaison to introduce him to those radical mosques, Nezar Hamze, the local head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and now Deputy Sheriff.
This past Friday, Sheriff Israel made an appearance on the Joyce Kaufman show, a popular local conservative radio program, to discuss the subject of Deputy Hamze and whether or not this author was right in stating that, due to Hamze’s background as a leader of a Hamas-associated group and other issues, he should not be eligible to serve as a Deputy Sheriff.
On the show, Sheriff Israel stated that Hamze’s application had been vetted, that “it was looked at from every angle that one would expect.”
But did those who were involved in the vetting process account for the fact that Hamze was at the time involved in a group widely known to be associated with terrorism, that group being CAIR?
CAIR was founded in June 1994 as being part of the American Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization acting as a terrorist enterprise run by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook is currently based in Egypt as the number two leader in Hamas. If it were not for Marzook, neither CAIR nor any of its local chapters would exist today.
One of CAIR’s siblings within the Palestine Committee was the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), then-U.S. financing arm of Hamas. When two federal trials took place against HLF, in 2007 and 2008, for the raising of millions of dollars for Hamas, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department a co-conspirator for both. On its official website, under a photo of the World Trade Center in flames, CAIR had placed a link for its followers to donate funds directly to HLF. The link was perversely disguised as a fundraiser for victims of the September 11 attacks.
In a separate trial in 2007, federal prosecutors stated the following regarding CAIR: “Moreover, from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists,” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”
On Joyce Kaufman’s radio show, Sheriff Israel said that he was “very familiar with CAIR” and that he knew that CAIR was labeled a co-conspirator for the HLF trials, but he said that CAIR was “not listed on [sic] the FBI/Homeland Security as a terrorist organization.”
So what the Sheriff was saying is that, if a candidate for Deputy Sheriff is a leader of a group that is largely associated with a terrorist organization, such as Hamas – Hamas, a group incidentally that Hamze has repeatedly refused to denounce – but is not involved in the terrorist organization itself, he is still a potential candidate for the job.
At one point, Sheriff Israel said that the issue of CAIR shouldn’t even be part of the discussion regarding Hamze. He stated, “[T]his isn’t about CAIR. This isn’t about any organization. This is about the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Broward County.”
To the contrary, this is very much about CAIR and other troubling issues as well.
Another disturbing association of Hamze’s is his relationship with Miami Islamist Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. Zakkout, the Director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), is a devout follower of both Hamas and white supremacist David Duke. Zakkout’s Facebook page is littered with Hamas logos and photos of masked Hamas militants and Hamas leaders, as well as a number of links to David Duke interviews and videos. His YouTube page contains an image of Hitler and videos of Hamas militants building bombs and firing rockets.
Over a graphic of deceased Hamas leaders – including Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-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.”
In July 2014, Zakkout organized a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami, where the crowd chanted loudly a number of anti-Jewish and pro-Hamas slogans. Zakkout is shown on video with a huge grin on his face, as his mob repeatedly screams, “We are Hamas.” The rally was co-sponsored by Hamze’s CAIR-Florida. Following the event, Zakkout wrote in Arabic on his Facebook page, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
In August 2013, at another CAIR-Florida sponsored event that was run by Zakkout, which was advertised as a rally to stop bloodshed and violence in Egypt and Syria, participants were featured wearing t-shirts and holding signs displaying the Muslim Brotherhood four-finger ‘Rabaa’ logo on them. One rally goer held up a photo of jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the logo have been banned by the Egyptian government for respectively being an institution and a symbol of terrorism.
Hamze and Zakkout have taken a number of photos together. One, which was posted by Zakkout on his Facebook page in February 2014, shows the two smiling with their arms around each other, with a caption that reads, “AMANA and CAIR united at ICNA event.”
ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America has been involved in the financing of both Hamas and al-Qaeda and has used the web to promote a number of terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban. ICNA conducts annual functions along with the Muslim American Society (MAS), a group that has been named (along with CAIR) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government list of international terrorist organizations.
In August 2006, ICNA’s main charity, ICNA Relief, was the top donor and partner to Pakistani charity Al Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to Damascus, Syria to hand deliver nearly $100,000 to then and current global Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal. Mashal thanked the group and said Hamas would continue to wage “jihad” (war) on the “Zionist yoke” (Israel). ICNA Relief continues to work directly with AKF overseas.
Photos show Hamze volunteering for ICNA Relief, in December 2013.
In 2012, Hamze began meetings at the Broward Sheriff’s Office and elsewhere under the guise of a group called Florida Muslim Congress, inviting into the Sheriff’s premises Zakkout and other South Florida Islamists to meet with the BSO but more like infiltrate the BSO. The group’s stated goal was “to help ordinary citizens understand terrorism laws and avoid being accidentally linked to extremists” (i.e. extremists such as themselves). The group was established during former Sheriff Al Lamberti’s tenure and continued with the blessing of Sheriff Israel.
Both Hamze’s group CAIR and Zakkout’s group AMANA share the same legal advisor, Muslim convert Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, who has also attended the Florida Muslim Congress meetings.
During the radio show, Sheriff Israel made the false comparison between a drug counselor, who used to be an addict, and Hamze. He stated, “It has been proven that the best drug counselors in the world are actually former addicts, who can relate, who can understand. So if you want to get these guys in a specific community, isn’t it the best thing to get people – tried and true people – who belong to that community, who that community will believe in?”
The reason why this is a false comparison is because Hamze never left his radical Islamic life. He is still a leader of CAIR, a group that tells Muslims suspected of criminal activity not to talk to the FBI. Hamze is the Regional Operations Director of CAIR-Florida. He still attends radical conferences. And he obviously has not broken ties with his friend Zakkout.
Nezar Hamze associates with Muslim extremists, and he is one himself. As such, contrary to what Sheriff Israel claims, Hamze will most likely either tip his friends off to any pending investigations or arrests or, at the very least, look the other way.
Sheriff Israel told the radio hostess that he “absolutely” knows the difference between radical Islam and ordinary Muslims, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In 2015 alone, Israel has been photographed with Zakkout; with Maulana Shafayat Mohamed who has been thrown off different Broward County boards for his bigotry against homosexuals; with attorney Khurrum Wahid who represents high-profile al-Qaeda terrorists and has himself been placed on a terror watch list; and with Abdur Rahman al-Ghani who is quoted as saying “Zionist/Israelis… are demonic and the most evil on earth” and “Allah has decreed we will overtake the world in numbers” and posted on Facebook that the CIA should be “wiped-out.”
On the radio show, Sheriff Israel also took the opportunity to play the ‘race card.’ He said that “as Sheriff, I have to be reflective of Broward County… We don’t discriminate. As a Jew, I don’t want to be discriminated against. We’re a color-blind organization. We make sure we treat people with dignity and respect.”
Neither this author nor the radio talk show hostess, who interviewed the Sheriff, ever stated that he should discriminate against Muslims. That said, Nezar Hamze is a leader of a group that is closely linked to the terrorist organization Hamas, the same Hamas that Hamze has, in the recent past, refused to denounce. As well, Hamze has associated and continues to associate with those who support terror and bigotry.
Refusing to hire someone like Hamze or releasing someone like Hamze would clearly not be a case of anti-Muslim discrimination. It is simply common sense.
Finally, during the interview, Sheriff Israel tried to shift potential blame for the hiring of Hamze to the previous Sheriff, Al Lamberti. At the beginning of the interview, he stated, “Deputy Hamze – this is very important – was first hired as a police cadet by former Sheriff Al Lamberti. He met this guy. He hired him. He paid for him to go through the police academy up in Palm Beach County.” And later, he stated, “And the Sheriff that I defeated brought him to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, so it wasn’t somebody that we went out and recruited.”
However, Sheriff Israel admitted, during the interview, that he personally hired Hamze to be Deputy Sheriff. He stated, “He Graduated from the police academy and applied for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. At the time he applied for the Sheriff’s Office, I had soundly defeated Lamberti; I was the Sheriff of Broward County, and I dealt with the application.” He later stated, “I approved his hiring.”
In the hiring of Hamze, while it never should have taken place, it matters little now whose fault that was. What matters now is that this wrong gets rectified.
CAIR leader Nezar Hamze is an Islamic extremist who cavorts with radical Muslim individuals and organizations. He should not be wearing a law enforcement uniform or badge, and he certainly should not be permitted to carry a gun. He should instead be investigated for his leadership in a group that is connected to terrorists overseas.
To allow him to continue to serve in the Broward Sheriff’s Office is an embarrassment and affront to the great institution of law enforcement and a threat to local and national security.
He must be removed from his position immediately.
If you wish to contact Sheriff Israel to discuss this matter, you can do so by sending an e-mail to: [email protected], or you can call the Broward Sheriff’s Office, at 954-764-4357. Please be respectful in any and all communications with this office.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.