While we continue to mourn the victims of this month’s attack on the Orlando, Florida LGBT establishment the Pulse, we must also investigate those radical Islamic groups which feed the mindset of terrorists such as Omar Mateen. One of the groups is the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), an organization that regularly promotes the hatred of white supremacist David Duke and previously promoted horrific bigotry against homosexuals.
When viewing the Facebook page of AMANA, the first thing you will see is a video produced by and starring white supremacist and former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. The video is an anti-Semitic conspiratorial piece, entitled ‘Will Israel Assassinate Obama.’
For a Duke video to appear on the AMANA Facebook site is no aberration. Indeed, there are numerous Duke videos currently found on AMANA’s official website. One Duke video that was on AMANA’s site gained the ire of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In July 2010, the ADL condemned AMANA for posting onto the homepage of its official site an anti-Semitic Duke video, which the ADL described as being “venomous.”
Targeting people with bigotry is nothing new for AMANA. The group has been doing it from its early stages, well over a decade ago.
In December 2002, AMANA published an article on its website, entitled ‘The Call for the Unity of Religions - A False and Dangerous Call.’ It stated, “This is a very dangerous call because it mixes the truth with falsehood and thus practically implies the elimination of the truth perfected in the deen of Islaam. The Christians and Jews want the Muslims to be like them. That is why they support this deceptive call for ‘unity.’”
Shortly before that, in November 2002, AMANA published an article on its site, titled ‘Homosexuality is not O.K.’ It states, “We pray that every sinful person go back to his creator and try to ask for forgiveness before it is too late and be guided. And if not, they should keep low profile about their abnormal human activities.”
This last piece stayed prominently on the AMANA website for nearly four years. And while it can be taken by some simply as mainstream religious doctrine, not many would consider the same about discussing the murdering of homosexuals.
In July 2003, AMANA placed a link on its website to what it called ‘The Islamic Ruling on Homosexuality.’ It took you to a page which stated the following: “Islam considers homosexuality as a sexual deviation leading to a perverted act which goes against the natural order Allah intended for mankind… [M]ost Muslim scholars have ruled that the punishment for this act should be… one hundred whiplashes for the man who has never married, and death by stoning for the married man. Some have even ruled that it should be death for both partners, because the Prophet… said: ‘Kill the doer and the one to whom it was done.’”
It further states, “Just as illicit sexual relations can occur between men, they can also occur between women… [S]exual relations between one woman and another… is a punishable offence… [T]he punishment is to be set by the Qaadi [Sharia judge]… The lesbian’s testimony is unacceptable because she is a evildoer…”
The founder and President of AMANA is Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. The bigotry of his organization reflects his own. He has repeatedly labeled Jews “apes and pigs.” He has spread the claim that the Holocaust was “faked.” And he has called David Duke “a man to believe in.”
The legal advisor of AMANA is Wilfredo Amr Ruiz. He founded the Puerto Rico and Connecticut chapters of AMANA. He has been with AMANA since at least September 2003, when he was the Director of the Puerto Rico office. He has been with AMANA for every David Duke video promoted by the group. In fact, the Duke video that the ADL condemned AMANA for was posted right above an expose about Ruiz.
Ruiz was there for the AMANA article denouncing homosexuals and their “abnormal human activities,” and he was there for the AMANA link to the report discussing murdering gays in the name of his religion, Islam.
How ironic then that Wilfredo Ruiz, in the wake of the attack in Orlando, told BBC World the following: “In Islam there is no rejection to homosexuals. There’s no condemnation or hatred…” Either Ruiz was lying or he had a bout of selective memory.
Ruiz made this statement in his role as Communications Director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical Muslim organization in its own right.
Both AMANA and CAIR-Florida have co-sponsored rallies together. This includes a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami, in July 2014, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, Sofian Zakkout, who was the organizer for the event, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
AMANA’s dehumanization and vilification of homosexuals and Jews is precisely the type of thing that could influence the mind of an Omar Mateen or someone like him. In propagating material condemning and calling for the killing of homosexuals, AMANA should bear some responsibility when an attack, such as the one that happened in Orlando, takes place.
AMANA has long been a hub of Islamist and incendiary activities such as those described above. Omar Mateen would have found a justification for his atrocity there.
Question: When will law enforcement shut down AMANA, so that its propagation of bigotry and violence can end?
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.