Bob Buckhorn is the new Mayor of Tampa Bay, Florida, replacing long time incumbent Pam Iorio. At his swearing-in ceremony, he made sure to include as participants leaders of all faiths. However, one of the invited – a local imam named Al-Inshirah Abdel-Jaleel – is currently involved in a terror-related institution and has exhibited extremism, himself.
On April 1, 2011, Bob Buckhorn was sworn-in and became the city of Tampa’s 58th Mayor. The ceremony, which at least one reporter described as “impressive,” took place at the Tampa Convention Center.
Religion played a prominent role at the event, as a number of participants included clergy from various faiths as well as a four dozen-plus member gospel choir. What is of concern, though, is that one of these clergymen was radical Muslim Al-Inshirah Abdel-Jaleel.
Abdel-Jaleel is a teacher of Islamic studies at the American Youth Academy (AYA), a children’s school founded by convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian, which originally went by the name Islamic Academy of Florida (IAF).
When al-Arian was taken into custody for his involvement with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), IAF was named in the indictment as being part of the global “PIJ Enterprise” and a front for terrorist fundraising. After concerned lawmakers dropped the academy from Florida’s private school voucher program, IAF reincorporated under an innocent-sounding new name, American Youth Academy, using a street address directly adjacent to IAF.
One of the present directors of AYA, Ayman Barakat, was previously a director of IAF. As well, he is currently a director of the mosque al-Arian founded, the Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT), which is located on the same block as AYA. While it was incorporated as the Islamic Community of Tampa, the center also uses the name Masjid al-Qassam, the same name as Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s main mosque in the Gaza Strip.
A former director for AYA, Ibrahim Khader, co-founded with al-Arian a Tampa-area subsidiary of al-Baraka, a Saudi banking and investment corporation with reported ties to al-Qaeda financing. Former federal prosecutor John Loftus has alleged that funds from the local group might have reached the 9⁄11 hijackers. Khader and al-Arian dissolved the group less than three weeks after 9⁄11.
Khader, as well, was a contact for AYA and used, as the contact address, the address for the mosque, which according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). In 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Justice Department named NAIT a party to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.
Imam Abdel-Jaleel, besides having ties to this radical children’s school, has shown signs of his own extremism.
As this author writes, Abdel-Jaleel has on his personal Facebook page, under the heading ‘Activities and Interests,’ “Israel is not a country.”
Buckhorn, for his efforts of “inclusivity” at the inauguration, gained the praise of at least one Islamic extremist, Ahmed Bedier. Bedier, a Tampa-area leader of the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is the former unofficial spokesman for al-Arian.
About Buckhorn, Bedier stated on the radio program he co-hosts, “[K]udos to Bob Buckhorn for doing the right thing in being inclusive, kicking off his administration the right way.”
This is not the first time a Mayor of Tampa has been affiliated with radical Muslims. Previously, Pam Iorio had signed four annual proclamations in the name of CAIR (“CAIR Days”).
However, after Mayor Iorio became educated about the fanatical history of CAIR, she declared that she would never issue another award in the group’s name – and she didn’t.
It is this author’s wish that Mayor Buckhorn will get educated about Abdel-Jaleel and his associates and will follow Iorio’s lead.
Radical Islam must have no place in politics, swearing-in ceremonies or otherwise. Its adherents should be shunned, rather than legitimized by those elected to protect us.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.
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