When President Barack Obama takes the stage tonight for his State of the Union address to the American people, he will be doing so with at least two individuals associated with terrorism seated in front of him. The individuals, Nezar Hamze and Sameena Usman, are leaders of CAIR and have involvement with Islamic Relief, two groups that have been named terrorist organizations by the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Nezar Hamze is the CEO and Regional Operations Director of the Florida statewide chapter of CAIR. Hamze is attending the State of the Union (SOTU) at the behest of United States Congressman Alcee Hastings, Democrat from Florida. Sameena Usman is the Government Relations Coordinator of the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) chapter of CAIR. Usman is attending SOTU at the behest of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat from California.
CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations was created in June 1994 as a part of a terrorist umbrella organization led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named a co-conspirator by the US Justice Department for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. In November 2014, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, the UAE government named CAIR to its list of terrorist organizations.
CAIR-Florida reflects the same extremism as its parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...”
CAIR-SFBA too epitomizes CAIR. The Executive Director of CAIR-SFBA Zahra Billoo has written that “one amazing reason to get married” is to “raise fighters” to attack Israel. She wrote that “to celebrate Columbus [Day] is… the same as having Jews celebrate Hitler and the Holocaust.” She refers to US troops as “scum.” Billoo proudly announced on her blog that her younger brother, Ahmed, was quoted in an article voicing support for suicide bombings. Billoo wrote that she, herself, contemplated suicide, after viewing a pro-Israel ad on a San Francisco train.
Besides CAIR, both Nezar Hamze and Sameena Usman are involved with Islamic Relief (IR). For the past three years, Hamze has helped coordinate a nationwide annual event run by Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) called ‘Day of Dignity.’ IRUSA is the American affiliate of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). Usman is a Disaster Assistance Response Team member for IRUSA.
Islamic Relief, like CAIR, has been named by the UAE government as a terrorist organization.
Islamic Relief’s ties to terror are well known. The Russian government has accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya. Israel has banned the group, labeling it a Hamas front and arresting the organization’s Gaza Program Manager, Ayaz Ali, in 2006, for providing assistance to Hamas. At the end of 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with Islamic Relief over concerns about “terrorist financing.” Reports show that Islamic Relief has sent millions of dollars to and received tens of thousands of dollars from groups related to al-Qaeda.
The Chairman of IRUSA is Khaled Lamada. Lamada is also the co-chairman of the Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society (ICNA-MAS) national convention. ICNA has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the web to promote a number of terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban. MAS, like CAIR and Islamic Relief, has been named to the UAE government’s list of terrorist organizations. Lamada has used social media to advocate for such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
For United States Representatives to invite Nezar Hamze and Sameena Usman to sit in on the President’s State of the Union address is a national disgrace and a dangerous move that can only result in the legitimization of groups associated with terror.
In a country still reeling from the aftermath of the San Bernardino attacks, this is an obscene gesture and an affront to all those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists. This invitation not only sends the message to our enemies that terrorism is rewarded, but it emboldens those whose stated goal is to destroy the West. That these Islamists are being allowed into Congress makes a mockery of the safety precautions associated with the event.
Most horrific of all is what this says about the current State of the Union.
Shame on Representative Hastings and Representative Lofgren for pandering to their Islamist constituents at the expense of national security!
If you wish to voice your displeasure with these invitations, you can do so by calling the office of Alcee Hastings at 202-225-1313 or by emailing him at [email protected] and by calling the office of Zoe Lofgren at 202-225-3072 or by emailing her at [email protected]. Please be respectful in any and all communications with these offices and individuals.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.