Many people’s idea of interfaith events revolves around those of different religious backgrounds getting together for innocuous talk with one another. Almost always there are positive connotations surrounding such affairs. Yet, there have been many instances in the past, when interfaith gatherings have been used as a way to provide cover for and legitimize fanatics. South Florida’s JAM (Jews and Muslims) and ALL is a prime example of this, where radical Muslim groups and individuals have been embraced and made to appear to the public as messengers of peace, while the reality is anything but. This piece was written to expose this reality.
JAM and ALL is the brainchild of David Kamrat, the son of Holocaust survivors. Per the organization’s website, JAM was established in September 2001, “in response to the events of 9/11,” over concern that the attacks “would lead to backlash against Muslims.”
The Muslims Kamrat recruited to join his cause had significant links to terrorism, themselves. They included Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the future South Asia Director of KindHearts, a Hamas fundraising “charity” that would be shut down by the FBI, and Shafayat Mohamed, the imam of the Darul Uloom Institute (DUI), who would soon co-found JAM with Kamrat.
According to JAM, in June 2002, as a result of the US government “pouring lots of money and resources into anti-terrorism, and generally speaking there were no additional acts of terror in the USA,” JAM thought it would be a good idea to hold a “Festival for Peace” using Mohamed’s DUI. What was absurd about this choice of venue was that DUI was quickly becoming a haven for high-profile al-Qaeda terrorists and the focus of numerous FBI investigations.
“Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla, a convicted terrorist who conspired to set off a radiological bomb in the US, was a student of Mohamed’s at DUI. Now-deceased al-Qaeda commander Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who ordered the September 2009 plot to blow up New York’s subway system, was a prayer leader at DUI. And DUI Arabic teacher Imran Mandhai, along with mosque goers Hakki Aksoy and Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, hatched a plot at DUI to blow up different South Florida structures, including electrical power stations, Jewish businesses, and a National Guard armory. Mohamed, himself, claimed that one of the 9/11 hijackers was said to have passed through DUI.
At the conclusion of JAM’s 10th Year Commemoration, which was held at the ArtServe auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Kamrat made the following observation: “Two things were proven: (1) JAM & ALL continues even as we lose some of our visionaries and (2) we are a very diverse group. We should reach out to black and people of color groups and native Americans; also LGBT. We have to prove that our message of peace is wide and inclusive.” However, like the absurdity of the “peace festival” being held at terror-related DUI, the notion that JAM should reach out to members of the gay community is, as well, at odds with reality.
Throughout his time with JAM, Mohamed has used his pulpit to target homosexuals with the worst bigotry. In February 2005, DUI published an article written by him, ‘Tsunami: Wrath of God,’ claiming gay sex caused the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. In the piece, he quotes the Quran, saying “most” Jews and Christians “are perverted transgressors.” During an August 2015 DUI sermon, Mohamed lamented the existence of gay Muslim communities. His deeds caused him to be thrown off several Broward County boards. He complained he “got sacked,” because “a lot of gay people” spoke out against him. He said, “I had a choice to sit in paradise or go to hell.”
In his youth, Mohamed was a proud student of now-deceased bigot Ahmed Deedat, author of the anti-Christian screed Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction? who, according to The New York Times, was “a vocal anti-Semite and ardent backer of Osama bin Laden,” and who would callously refer to gays as “Sodomites.” On the DUI website, one can find a photograph of Mohamed shaking hands with Deedat in Deedat’s facility, what was at the time known as the Bin Laden Centre. Following Deedat’s death, Mohamed traveled to Deedat’s home, in Durban, South Africa, to meet with Deedat’s son and zealous Adolf Hitler fan, Yusuf Deedat, and to pray by his grave.
JAM and ALL recently held its 20th Anniversary Celebration. One of the sponsors of the event, as shown on the JAM website, was the Al-Hikmat Islamic Network, the media/publishing arm of DUI. Indeed, Mohamed and DUI still play a large role in JAM. Mohamed presently sits on JAM’s Advisory Committee, and the current President of JAM, Kamruz Hosein, who has had much involvement with DUI in the past, was originally brought onto JAM’s Board of Directors at the behest of Mohamed.
Also displayed on the same page as Al-Hikmat are JAM’s “Interfaith Partners.” They include: the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), which contains texts in its web library that label Jews and Christians “enemies” and promote domestic violence against women and death punishments for gays; and the Islamic Center of South Florida (ICOSF), which is owned by a government named co-conspirator of Hamas financing and which showcases an imam, Fadi Kablawi, who refers to Jews as “the lowest of the lowest” and blames female victims of rape for the acts perpetrated against them.
No doubt, it appears that, since its inception, the organization JAM and ALL – along with its guise of “interfaith” – has been used and cynically exploited to safeguard Shafayat Mohamed, his terror-linked DUI, and others from public scrutiny and negative media coverage and to possibly hinder law enforcement. Additionally, the group’s founding premise of ‘shielding Muslims from backlash after 9/11’ perversely implies that the Islamists in JAM and their ilk represent the real victims of the attacks.
While JAM and ALL may very well have participants who are well-meaning and ignorant of the sinister intentions of at least some of the group’s leadership, it does not excuse the fact that Islamic extremism has been legitimized and protected by JAM. Interfaith or no interfaith, terror and bigotry will always remain terror and bigotry.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.