It is election season here in the US, and candidates are clamoring for votes. A problem arises, though, when those seeking votes look for them from those who would wish America harm. That was the case, when politicos, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz primary challenger Tim Canova, showed up to the Islamic Foundation of South Florida, an extremist mosque located in Sunrise, Florida, for an event sponsored by the organization Emerge USA.
Emerge USA is a radical Muslim group which tries to mask its Islamist agenda by claiming to be a political advocacy organization. The main individual behind Emerge is Khurrum Wahid, a South Florida attorney who has built his name on representing high profile terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda and financiers of the Taliban. The group holds events at mosques tied to terrorism. They include Tampa’s al-Qassam Mosque, which was founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, and Pembroke Pines’ Darul Uloom, which has served a number of al-Qaeda operatives and which is headed by an anti-gay imam, Maulana Shafayat Mohamed.
On June 8th, Emerge organized an event – its annual Ramadan Iftar dinner – held at another extremist mosque, the Islamic Foundation of South Florida. Attending the affair were elected officials Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, Coconut Creek Mayor Mikkie Belvedere, School Board Member Robin Bartleman, State Representative Hazelle Rogers, Broward County Clerk of Courts Howard Forman, and United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer. Many candidates attended as well, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz primary challenger Democrat Tim Canova.
Formerly named the School of Islamic Studies of Broward, the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF) has been incorporated since September 2009. The Registered Agent for the group’s corporation is Emerge USA’s Khurrum Wahid.
One of the co-founders and current director of IFSF is Mohammed Javed Quereshi. Quereshi was the Manager of the Taco Bell where “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al-Muhajir, worked before Padilla met with al-Qaeda leaders and plotted to set off a radiological bomb in the US. According to Padilla, Quereshi gave him his first Quran and invited him to attend mosque. Following Padilla’s conversion, Quereshi would see him at IFSF and the Islamic Center of South Florida in Pompano Beach. Padilla also spent much time at Darul Uloom and Masjid Al-Iman in Sunrise, which was then-headed by imam and Hamas fundraiser Raed Awad.
IFSF partners with and uses its facilities to play host to a number of groups that have been linked to terror. They include the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), ICNA Relief, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), Islamic Relief (IR), American Muslims for Emergency & Relief (AMER), and the Muslim American Society (MAS).
In April 2014, IFSF and MAS held an affair featuring MAS National Executive Director Mazen Mokhtar. In March 2000, Mokhtar began work for Azzam Publications – named for Osama bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam – designing al-Qaeda and Taliban fundraising and recruitment websites. Between 1992 and 1996, Mokhtar posted on an internet forum his views in support of terrorism, calling Hamas operations “heroic” and suicide bombings “an effective method of attacking the enemy and continuing jihad.” In April 2007, Mokhtar was arrested at his New Jersey home and charged with failing to file tax returns and filing false tax returns.
In June 2013, IFSF hosted a Ramadan Prep Youth Night featuring Masjid Jamaat Al Mumineen (MJAM) imam Izhar Khan. In May 2011, Khan was arrested and spent 20 months in a Miami federal detention center on charges of terrorism. According to the indictment against him, “Izhar is a Pakistani Taliban sympathizer who worked with [his father Hafiz Khan] and others to collect and deliver money for the Pakistani Taliban… Izhar… provided and attempted to provide material support and resources… knowing and intending that they be used in preparation for and in carrying out… a conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country.”
The IFSF Youth Director is Abdur Rahman al-Ghani (aka Samuel Pittman). Al-Ghani has used social media to post anti-American, anti-Jewish and Islamic supremacist language and images. In December 2012, he wrote, “Zionist/Israelis… are demonic and the most evil on earth.” In March 2012, he posted a graphic stating, “ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD” and wrote by it, “Yes, Allah has Decreed we will overtake the world in numbers…” In September 2012, he posted a graphic promoting al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. And in February 2012, he posted a graphic of the CIA logo spattered in blood with a caption that called for “wiping out the CIA.”
With all of the menacing history of IFSF, it is deeply disturbing that elected officials and candidates for high public office would enter into such a sinister establishment. Given the terror-related groups it partners with, given the terror-related speakers it hosts, and given the radicals who are directly involved with the mosque, elected officials and candidates should balk at the mere thought of appearing at such a place.
It is the duty of our elected officials to protect their constituents, not consort with those who threaten the public’s safety and security. The only connection that our government representatives should have with IFSF is in the context of an investigation in conjunction with law enforcement, aimed at safeguarding the community by shutting the mosque down.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.