Last month, the United States Justice Department convened a meeting at the US Attorney’s Office in Miami with leaders of the South Florida Muslim community. These leaders comprised those who have ties to the terrorist group Hamas. The meeting, which took place January 21st, signaled a dangerous embrace of our government with those who would wish us and our overseas allies harm.
The Muslim participants of the event, titled ‘Community Resilience Meeting,’ included: Nezar Hamze, the Operations Director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, the Director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA); and Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, the Legal Counsel for both CAIR-Florida and AMANA. Zakkout and Ruiz are shown prominently on photos from the event found on the CAIR-Florida website and social media.
The government representatives included: US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, FBI Special Agent George L. Piro, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) representative Ari C. Shapira, Acting Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department Juan Perez, Miami Police Chief Rodolfo “Rudy” Llanes, Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Community Engagement at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kareem Shora, Assistants to the US Attorney Benjamin Greenburg and Randy Hummel, Special Counsel to the US Attorney Sarah Schall and Norman Hemming, and FBI Special Agent for Community Outreach Jeff Green.
According to CAIR, “The meeting’s discussion… was focused on ways that the law enforcement agencies can continue to work together with community leaders, like CAIR Florida, on building and keeping the community safe and resilient as it faces new and ever-changing threats.”
The only problem is that CAIR, itself, is a threat.
CAIR was created in June 1994 as part of a terrorist umbrella organization, the American Palestine Committee, led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. The founders of CAIR had held leadership positions in the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), then-US propaganda wing of Hamas and also a part of Marzook’s Palestine Committee. After the September 11th attacks, CAIR had used its national website to raise money for its Palestine Committee sibling and then-US Hamas financing wing, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).
CAIR-Florida reflects the same pro-Hamas extremism as its parent group. In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...” In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, who as mentioned, was a participant at the Justice Department meeting, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
In August 2000, Gaza-born Zakkout was announced as the Vice President of the Health Resource Center for Palestine (HRCP), a now-defunct Hamas-related charity then-located in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Zakkout's colleague, HRCP's Secretary and Treasurer, Syed Khawer Ahmad, was the creator of and then-webmaster for the official website of the Gaza-based parent organization of Hamas, the Islamic Society, al-Jamiya al-Islamia.
Zakkout is extremely forthright in his support for Hamas. In August 2015, he stated in Arabic on Facebook, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” In February 2015, over a graphic of now-deceased Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, Zakkout wrote 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.”
Only days ago, on February 4th, Zakkout posted on his Facebook site an old video of Ahmed Yassin lying in a hospital bed, while being visited by different figures, including King Hussein of Jordan (deceased) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat (deceased), who kissed Yassin repeatedly. Seen in the video, Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook stood by Yassin’s side smiling. Of the piece, Zakkout wrote in Arabic, “The most amazing video!” And he signed it “Sofian.”
In 2007 and 2008, the US Justice Department named CAIR a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas – the same Hamas that is found on the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) – the same Hamas that conducts suicide attacks and sends rockets into Jewish neighborhoods. During the trials, CAIR’s founding as part of Marzook’s network was revealed by the Justice Department. Why then, after less than a decade, would the same Justice Department open its doors to CAIR?
And equally if not more so, why would it open its doors to Zakkout?
Homeland Security rep Kareem Shora may have the answer.
When Shora took his job at DHS, he left the position of National Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which itself has been an apologist for Hamas and has partnered and continues to partner with CAIR. Ironically, under his leadership as ADC Legal Director, the ADC initiated a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
According to CAIR, during his presentation, Shora “openly commended CAIR Florida for organizing previous events where he was able to present the South Florida Muslim community with avenues to identify resources and grants through DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the protection of places of worship.”
The January meeting with Hamas-linked individuals set up by the Justice Department and including officials from the US Attorney’s office, the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security and the Miami-Dade Police Department sends a chilling message to the American people that, rather than protecting the homeland, our government is busy figuring out ways to stand with our enemies – and even provide them with money.
If you wish to voice your concern about this meeting, you may call the office of US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer at 305-961-9001 or send an email to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]. You can call the office of FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro at 754-703-2000 or send an email to [email protected]. You can call the office of ATF representative Ari Shapira at 305-597-4800 or send an email to [email protected]. You can call the office of Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes at 305-603-6640.
Please be respectful in any and all communications with these individuals and/or organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.