The Broward Education Foundation (BEF) has set up a fund to assist the survivors and the families of the victims of last month’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which took the lives of 17 innocent students and faculty. The fund has accepted money from many sources, including a group, the South Florida Muslim Federation, that acts as an umbrella organization for a number of smaller groups, many of which have numerous links to terrorism and bigotry.
On March 5th, the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert Runcie and BEF Executive Director Shea Ciriago held, up high, a check containing the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF) logo for $15,668. The money was raised via a page set up by SFMF on the crowdfunding site, LaunchGood. A dozen Muslim associates from the group came for the photo op and to present the check.
A page on the SFMF website has been created to publicize the check presentation. On it are mentioned a number of SFMF groups that helped coordinate the raising of the funds. They include: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), Islamic Relief (IR), and the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF).
CAIR was established in June 1994 by operatives from Hamas, including then-global leader 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. CAIR had used its official website to raise money for the organization on trial, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). A number of CAIR officials have been placed in prison and/or deported from the US for terror-related activity. In August 2014, the Executive Director of CAIR’s Florida chapter, Hassan Shibly, tweeted, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...”
ICNA was founded in September 1968 as the American affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), South Asia’s largest Islamist group. JI’s militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), owned the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was living and eventually killed in. ICNA, itself, has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the internet to promote terror organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In November 2013, former ICNA Secretary General, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, was sentenced to death for his role in the murders of 18 people as a death squad leader during Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence.
AMANA is the brainchild of anti-Semite and Hamas supporter Sofian Zakkout. Zakkout regularly refers to Jews as “monkeys and pigs.” In February 2016, he circulated on social media a report claiming “the Holocaust was faked.” In July 2014, Zakkout organized a pro-Hamas rally in downtown Miami (CAIR and ICNA were co-sponsors), where rally goers repeatedly shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” After the rally, Zakkout wrote, above photos from the event, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” In July 2010, Zakkout and his group AMANA were condemned by the ADL.
Islamic Relief (IR) was founded in the UK in 1984. The Russian government has accused IR 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 May 2006, for providing assistance to Hamas. At the end of 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with IR over concerns about “terrorist financing.” Reports show that IR has sent millions of dollars to and received tens of thousands of dollars from groups related to al-Qaeda. The Chairman of the US office of IR, Khaled Lamada, has used social media to advocate for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
IFSF was established in September 1989. IFSF’s Youth Director, Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, has a Facebook page littered with 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 in February 2012, he posted a bloodied CIA logo with the caption, “Wiping out the CIA.” In April 2014, IFSF hosted a talk by Mazen Mokhtar, a former administrator for an al-Qaeda recruitment website who has pledged his support for Hamas and suicide bombings.
These organizations are only a small sample of the terror-related groups that are part of the South Florida Muslim Federation, but they are more than enough to say that the funds the Broward Education Foundation received should be returned. To keep this money – to be precise, ‘blood money’ – only serves to legitimize these organizations and their poisonous histories.
Worse still, it generates a façade for these groups making them appear benign, so they can promote their radical agendas with impunity. This author warned against the cynical exploitation of the Parkland massacre by terror-tied Islamist organizations.
The South Florida Muslim Federation is a conglomerate of groups, whose associates continue to cause destruction worldwide. Broward should have nothing to do with these organizations or their money.
No one should help victims of violence with funds that are tainted by violence.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.