When South Florida Muslim leader Sofian Zakkout wants people to believe he is a man of peace, he speaks or writes it in English. But when Zakkout wants to show his true colors and curse Jews or call for violence against people, he does so in Arabic. This month, Zakkout’s real self came out once again, as he labeled Jews the “grandsons of monkeys and pigs,” while commemorating the 28th anniversary of Hamas.
Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout is the Director of the American Muslim Association of North America or AMANA. While the organization may not be very well known outside of South Florida, AMANA is a major player for the Muslim community in the local area. In fact, Zakkout and his group have firm ties to two dozen mosques in the vicinity.
Because of Zakkout’s position of leadership, when he makes a statement, it needs to be taken seriously. In English, he will tell media outlets about how he is a man of peace, about how he was, for years, the co-chair of the Jewish Arab Dialogue Association (JADA). In Arabic, he will make statements which are quite the opposite, supporting and inciting hatred and terror.
This month, Zakkout has been hard at work spreading the vilest of anti-Semitism in Arabic.
On December 13th, Zakkout posted a video on Facebook, featuring a Palestinian man with a microphone asking various Palestinian children what they believed the capital of Israel was. The television channel that the video aired on, Jerusalem Satellite Channel, has been accused of being affiliated with Hamas. Above the video, Zakkout placed a message for the Jewish people. He wrote in Arabic, “Jews, Muhammad's army will return” and signed it “Sofian.”
In his quote, Zakkout is referencing a violent anti-Jewish chant made by followers of Hamas and Hezbollah about the Saudi city of Khaybar, where Muhammad’s disciples attacked and enslaved the city’s Jewish inhabitants in the year 629. The chant is “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad saufa yaoud.” Translated: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, Muhammad’s army will return.”
The next two days, Zakkout followed up his Khaybar post with a photo of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah and a series of photos commemorating the 28th anniversary of Hamas, which he took from the Quds News Network, a media group that celebrates knife attacks and murders of Israeli civilians.
On December 17th, Zakkout posted a photo of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who is a decorated veteran of many different wars and battles fought by Israel the last three-plus decades. Above the picture of Eizenkot, Zakkout grossly wrote in Arabic, “You’re a Jew, the grandson of a monkey and a pig.” He signed it “Sofian.”
Zakkout’s hate, of course, hasn’t been limited to this past month. Indeed, in July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Zakkout and his group AMANA for featuring what the ADL called a “venomous” anti-Semitic, anti-Israel video on the AMANA website. The video was produced by and featured white supremacist leader David Duke. Zakkout has since posted a number of Duke videos on social media and has praised Duke as “a man to believe in!”
As well, Zakkout’s violent and hateful quotes in Arabic have been the subject of many a report from this author, prior to this month.
Last February, over a graphic of deceased Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, Zakkout wrote the following violent threat in Arabic, “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, after Zakkout had organized a pro-Hamas rally held outside the Israeli Consulate in Miami, where rally goers repeatedly screamed, “We are Hamas,” Zakkout wrote the following in Arabic on Facebook, above photos from the event: “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 obviously believes there is an issue with the statements he makes on social media, or he would not write them in Arabic, a language that the vast majority of Americans do not read, speak or understand. By concealing these quotes within Arabic – quotes which are bigoted and violent in nature – Zakkout is shining a light on himself in a way which seems to suggest he is a danger to society.
Combine that with the fact that he organizes pro-Hamas rallies; that he posts images and videos of Hamas, Hezbollah and white supremacist David Duke onto social media; and that he privately views broadcasting networks and channels which are affiliated with terrorists and are pro-violence; and you have a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off.
Who knows what else “Brother Sofian” is hiding, apart from the feelings of hate and rage which he attempts to shield from our view?
If you are concerned about Mr. Zakkout and wish to voice your opinion, you can contact the Miami FBI office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 754-703-2000. Please be respectful in any and all communications with this office.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.