Carleen Vincent-Robinson and Ellen Cohn are members of the faculty at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida International University (FIU). One is an expert in terrorism preparedness and the other, criminal behavior and analysis. Given their backgrounds, someone would be hard-pressed to figure that the two would be related to Sofian Zakkout, an individual who actively promotes Hamas and is a rabid anti-Semite. Yet, this is the case, as all three are board members together in Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade County. Vincent-Robinson is President of it, and Cohn is Secretary. Why would the two embrace a man like Zakkout?
On March 29th and 31st, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, the President of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), took to Facebook to boast about his position with the anti-crime organization, Crime Stoppers. He wrote the same thing both times – once using a Crime Stoppers graphic and logo to help make his point – “Just a reminder! Sofian Zakkout, an executive board member at the Miami Dade county Crime Stoppers. Serving against crimes since 2005.”
This was not the first time Zakkout has bragged about his involvement in Crime Stoppers. In fact, he has done so on many occasions. And while this normally should be seen as a matter of pride for someone to proclaim their involvement with what is known as a virtuous community service organization, considering Zakkout, it must only be viewed as an attempt by him to create a false sense of legitimacy for his sociopathic behavior.
Just four days earlier, on March 25th, Zakkout posted a graphic on his Facebook page of a large group of masked Hamas militants kneeling in prayer next to a cache of rifles – a picture that has been widely circulated among supporters of Hamas. The picture contained a link to the pro-Hamas Gaza News Agency. According to the news outlet, “The Gaza News Agency has now published the image in support of the Palestinian resistance to its steadfastness and steadfastness in the confrontation and challenge with the brutal Zionist occupation.”
Also, on March 25th, Zakkout posted a graphic depicting five interlocking hands, each hand bearing the logo of a different Palestinian terrorist organization, all surrounding a map of the state of Israel draped in a Palestinian flag. Zakkout has posted this ‘terror unity’ picture on his Facebook page repeatedly for years.
And only days after all of these posts, on April 2nd, Zakkout wrote the following words denying the existence of the Jewish state: “Occupation is occupation and israel doesn’t exist!”
Zakkout’s extremist history is filled with acts such as these and worse.
In July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Zakkout and his organization AMANA for featuring what the ADL called a “venomous” anti-Semitic video on the AMANA website. The video was produced by and featured white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, whom Zakkout has championed as “David Duke a man to belief in!”
In July 2014, Zakkout led a pro-Hamas rally outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Miami, where his rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Above photos from the event, Zakkout wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” In August 2014, he declared, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” In February 2015, over a graphic of deceased Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, he wrote, “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.”
In December 2015, Zakkout posted a photo of decorated Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, writing, “You’re a Jew, the grandson of a monkey and a pig.” In February 2016, Zakkout advertised on social media a report titled ‘How the Holocaust was faked.’ It begins: “The alleged ‘Holocaust’ of ‘6 million Jews’ at the hands of Adolf Hitler and National Socialist Germany during WWII is the biggest lie ever foisted upon humanity.” In July 2017, Zakkout posted on his Facebook a four minute clip from a speech made by Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan, where Farrakhan repeatedly labels the Jewish people “Satan.”
In March 2016, Zakkout posted onto his Facebook page a graphic memorializing Osama bin Laden. And last April, less than one week after he bragged another time about how he sits on the Board of Directors of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, he posted a live video of global Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh calling for the complete liquidation of Israel.
When Zakkout stated, last month, that he has been “serving against crimes since 2005,” he could very well have been alluding to how he sought to attach himself to anti-crime groups – he is also on the board of Citizens Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County – following the closure of a terror-related charity he was involved with. In April 2003, the Health Resource Center for Palestine (HRCP), a Hamas-linked organization Zakkout was Vice President of, was shut down.
Surely, Carleen Vincent-Robinson and Ellen Cohn, experts in crime and terrorism, respectively, along with the other board members of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, would not wish to be associated with or be seen as enabling Zakkout’s behavior. However, for whatever reason, they have refused to do anything about it. They have not sought to condemn Zakkout for his activities and insist they cease nor have they demanded his ouster from Crime Stoppers.
Instead of helping protect the community from harm, which is Crime Stoppers’ mission, it is aiding and abetting someone who wants to do harm to the community. By harboring Zakkout, the organization has become a danger to society, and its leaders have become partners in spreading terror and bigotry against Jews.
If Vincent-Robinson, Cohn and the rest of the board cannot divest themselves of a terror advocate like Zakkout, they should all resign and let law enforcement and other qualified bodies deal with the problem. Crime Stoppers is making a mockery of their mandate by sanctioning terror and bigotry and, in doing so, promoting more harm than good.
What use is a Crime Stoppers that embraces terror and bigotry?
If you wish to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers President Carleen Vincent-Robinson, call 305-348-3882 or send an email to [email protected]. If you wish to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers Secretary Ellen Cohn, call 305-348-5846 or send an email to [email protected]. Please be respectful in any and all communications with these individuals.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.