The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has organized the Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) annual ‘Day of Dignity,’ an event advertised as assisting those in poverty, since October 2013. More than helping those in need, though, doing events such as these help to hide the fact that these two groups, CAIR and Islamic Relief (IR), are associated with international terror and, in at least one case, crude racism. It is a sinister exploit of phony altruism and community service to further the cause of radical Islam.
On November 1 and November 12, 2016, CAIR and Islamic Relief took their extremist show respectively to Franklin Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the Ezell Hester Community Center in Boynton Beach, Florida. Representing Islamic Relief from CAIR-Florida were CAIR-Florida Regional Operations Director Nezar Hamze and former CAIR-Florida Community and Government Relations Director Ghazala Salam. The two have been involved in the event together since 2013.
CAIR was created in June 1994 as part of an umbrella group led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. CAIR has been named by the US government a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. CAIR had used its national website to raise money for the defendant of the trial, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), as well as an al-Qaeda charity, the Global Relief Foundation (GRF). Many CAIR representatives have served prison time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related activity.
CAIR-Florida reflects the same violent extremism of its parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “Hamas kicked your ass.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote in Arabic, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly has referred to Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization” and, in August 2014, tweeted, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...” In November 2012, when Israel launched a war against Hamas in Gaza, after Hamas had rained thousands of rockets down on Israeli civilians, CAIR-Florida Legislative & Government Affairs Director Laila Abdelaziz tweeted, “Don’t worry ya Gaza, we’re working hard for you in Florida.”
In December 2010, Nezar Hamze, himself, repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas, when given numerous chances to do so, stating “I’m not denouncing anybody. I’m not getting involved in the politics.”
The two contacts for the Day of Dignity events were CAIR-Florida Communications Coordinator Shaliya Rahaman and CAIR-Florida Community Outreach and Events Coordinator Nandee Shabazz. Shabazz is an extreme racist, who tweets against white people regularly.
This past October, Shabazz tweeted, “This guy sitting next to me is laughing REALLY LOUD at something he’s watching on his phone like it’s kind a creepy tbh [to be honest]. And of course he’s white so like… I’m kind a freaking out.” Also in October, she tweeted, “Like what is it with white ppl doing inhuman things to other ppl and then want to call out reverse racism when someone says cracker.” In September, she complained, “There’s an increasing number of white ppl in my house and idk [I don’t know] how I feel about this.”
Shabazz also likes to retweet other bigots. In October, she retweeted the following two tweets: “White people can ruin literally anything” and “Hurricanes get white names like Becky, Matthew, and Bob because white people always cause mass destruction.” She, as well in October, retweeted a vulgar piece questioning Israel’s legitimacy as a nation: “Israelis don’t need a costume for Halloween because they already pretend to be Palestinians every day.” And in November, a retweet of hers took aim at “light-skinned Cubans.”
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.
Along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, both CAIR and Islamic Relief have been named by the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) to its official list of terrorist organizations.
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 uses his Facebook page to advocate for such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
At this year’s Day of Dignity, Hamze and Salam – both donning Islamic Relief t-shirts with big IR logos – raffled off bicycles, just as they have in the past. The winners of the bikes had the unlucky opportunity to be used as ‘useful idiots’ and props in photos posing with Hamze.
Of course, the entire event is theatre, made to appear that Islamic Relief is a benevolent group that gives back to the community – a group that is fighting poverty by helping those in need. The reality is more chilling than heartwarming. The attendees are merely pawns in a cynical PR stunt, which is really an exercise in crass opportunism.
Islamic Relief and CAIR are both radical Muslim organizations with ulterior motives and documented ties to international terrorism. There is nothing remotely charitable about these groups who raffle off bikes, so as to appear innocuous and lure poor people to their events.
The ‘Day of Dignity’ is actually a ‘Day of Deceit’ aimed at presenting a warm fuzzy façade to hide these groups’ violent extremism behind a good cause.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.