Richard W. Schneider, the President of Norwich University, the nation’s oldest military academy, which is based in Northfield, Vermont, says he has no problem with Sana Hamze attending his institution while wearing her hijab (Islamic head covering). He stated to a reporter, “Change and culture does take time but I don’t see any problem with this at all.” But does he see a problem with the fact that Hamze, the daughter of CAIR Islamist leader Nezar Hamze, attends and participates in events run by designated terrorist groups, even while in uniform?
Hamze has been surrounded and indoctrinated by individuals and groups associated with terrorism for a large part of her life. Her father, Nezar, is the Regional Operations Director and former Executive Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
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. Many representatives from CAIR have served prison time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related activity. CAIR-Florida, itself, in July 2014, 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.”
For high school, Hamze attended the Nur Ul-Islam Academy (NUIA), located in Cooper City, Florida.
The Nur Ul-Islam Academy is the children’s school of the Nur-Ul-Islam Mosque. A former member of the mosque’s Islamic Affairs Council and ex-Vice President of NUIA, Raed Musa Awad, was the Florida representative for the Hamas charity, Holy Land Foundation (HLF). The website of NUIA previously contained links to violent, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian material, including having a link to islamway.com, a website that, according to the US Justice Department, encouraged its viewers to donate money to Hamas.
In October 2013, Hamze participated in the ‘Day of Dignity,’ an event run by her father and his fellow CAIR colleagues and founded and sponsored by Islamic Relief (IR). Pictures from the event show her posing for photos in an official Islamic Relief shirt and helping out in the affair.
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.
In May 2016, Sana Hamze announced that she would be attending Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets with the stated goal of becoming an officer in the US Navy.
Hamze had been rejected by her other choice, the Citadel Military College in South Carolina – a state where her family has roots – because, according to the Citadel, they would not allow Hamze to wear her hijab on campus. While that may be the case, possibly the Citadel was afraid of what would come along with Hamze and her headdress. Maybe they were wary of her and her family’s extremist background. Or maybe they did not wish to be used by her or CAIR, which has promoted Hamze’s cause, to score political or strategic points.
This past November, Hamze attended CAIR-Florida’s annual fundraising banquet, held in Coral Springs, Florida, dressed from head to toe in her Norwich University Cadet uniform. It was an event that featured terror-related entities on the stage, in the hallway, and in the audience.
A keynote speaker for the banquet was the imam of Brooklyn, New York’s At-Taqwa Mosque, Siraj Wahhaj. In 1995, along with Osama bin Laden and others, Wahhaj was named by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for a federal trial dealing with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj had been linked to the bomb-maker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the trial, he was a character witness for the spiritual leader of the attack, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, whom Wahhaj has openly praised.
During the banquet, ICNA Relief, a radical Muslim ‘charity,’ was provided a space to advertise itself. ICNA Relief is a subsidiary of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American affiliate of South Asian Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). JI’s militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, owned the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden resided and was killed at. ICNA has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the web to promote different terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban.
In the banquet audience was the President of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), Sofian Zakkout. Zakkout has described former KKK leader David Duke as “a man to believe in!” and has stated about Hamas, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” This past March, he posted a graphic featuring deceased terrorist leaders, including al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden. Zakkout refers to Jews as “monkeys and pigs” and has posted onto social media material claiming that the “the Holocaust was faked.”
Another banquet audience member was the President of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), Bassem Alhalabi. Alhalabi co-founded ICBR, in October 1998, with Hamas web designer Syed Khawer Ahmad. Before arriving in Boca, Alhalabi was an assistant to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian at USF in Tampa and co-authored publications with al-Arian. In June 2003, the US Department of Commerce charged Alhalabi with illegally shipping a $13,000 military-grade thermal imaging device to Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism.
Yet another audience member was Abdur Rahman al-Ghani (aka Samuel Pittman), the Youth Director for the Islamic Foundation of South Florida (IFSF). Al-Ghani’s Facebook is littered with anti-American, anti-Jewish and Islamic supremacist language and images. In December 2012, he wrote, “Zionist/Israelis are not holy people. They 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 dressing in her Cadet uniform, Sana Hamze had come to the CAIR banquet representing Norwich University. Norwich President Richard Schneider says he doesn’t see a problem with Hamze, but does he see any problem with his military institution being exemplified at a fundraising banquet associated with terror? Does he have any problem with his Cadet’s past and present surrounding her life with such persons and groups? Is this the type of individual President Schneider wishes to serve in – or infiltrate – the US Navy as an officer?
President Schneider, a retired Rear Admiral from the US Coast Guard Reserve, has been entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard his students and his country and must use his position to do so.
Sana Hamze should not be anywhere near the US military, not as a Cadet at a major military college and not as a Naval officer. She and her family, instead, should be investigated for their terror relations.
If you wish to contact President Schneider to give your opinion on this matter, call 802-485-2065. Please be respectful in any and all communications.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.