Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative (www.kaufmansecurity.org) and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
Giving gifts to underprivileged children is usually an act of benevolence and kindness. However, when Islamists and groups associated with terror are part of the gift giving process, opportunism not altruism is behind it and all of those involved should be investigated and shunned for their involvement. That was the case last month, when the Broward Young Democrats (BYD) and the Broward Chapter of the Women’s March co-hosted a holiday toy drive with the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF), an umbrella group for South Florida’s radical Muslim institutions.
‘UNITED FOR MIGRANTS TOY DRIVE’ was the title given to this shameful and cynical act of exploitation that took place at various South Florida venues, including two radical mosques. One of the mosques was Darul Uloom, a past haven for al-Qaeda operatives, including convicted ‘Dirty Bomber’ Jose Padilla, who was a student at the mosque, and now-deceased al-Qaeda commander, Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who was a prayer leader there. The founder and current imam of Darul Uloom, Shafayat Mohamed, was thrown off a number of county boards for his fiery rhetoric against homosexuals, including blaming gay sex for the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.
Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) was one of the sponsors of the toy drive. The group’s logo is found on a flyer for the event. HHRD is a charity run by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the largest Islamist movement in South Asia, and a group with links to Kashmir-based terrorist organizations. In August 2006, HHRD was a partner and donor to JI’s charity Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to the then-Damascus, Syria residence of then-global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, to present him with a check for $100,000 to continue terrorism against Israel.
Another sponsor of the toy drive was Emgage, formerly Emerge USA, an Islamist group that attempts to pass its extremist agenda off as political advocacy. In February 2010, the South Florida Director of Emgage, ICNA volunteer, and Adjunct Professor at Broward College, Syed Ammar Ahmed, following a debate he participated in at a school, wrote on Facebook, “I hate white people” and joked that he “should have threatened to blow up the school.” The founder and current national Chairman of Emgage, Khurrum Wahid, has made a name for himself by representing high-profile terrorists, including the most violent of al-Qaeda operatives.
Darul Uloom, Helping Hand and Emgage are all member organizations of SFMF. The Executive Director of SFMF, Nezar Hamze, was previously a representative for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). This past July, SFMF announced that it would be conducting town hall meetings led by a cast of extremist imams, including Masjid Jamaat Al-Mu’mineen (MJAM) Imam Izhar Khan, who was charged by the FBI with helping to finance the Taliban. Recently, SFMF cut ties with its Facebook manager, Abdur Rahman al-Ghani, after it was exposed that al-Ghani made posts on social media calling Jews “demonic” and gays “evil.”
One of the contacts for the December toy drive was Farzana Ghani. This past November, Ghani posted onto her Facebook page a graphic with the words, “Stop Israeli Terror.” Ghani had copied the post from Days of Palestine, a Facebook page that celebrates Hamas anniversaries, memorializes deceased Hamas icons, showcases young children dressed in Hamas garb, denies Israel’s existence, and posts photos of Palestinians setting pictures of President Donald Trump on fire.
More and more, the Democratic Party has been embracing groups and individuals who associate with terror and bigotry. This is evidenced in the fact that Shafayat Mohamed, the imam from the al-Qaeda-linked Darul Uloom, who was thrown off Broward County boards for his hateful discourses against homosexuals, has been a regular invitee and participant at the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Blue Gala events.
However, it is interesting that the Women’s March would get involved with entities such as this, as it was only months ago that Islamist activist Linda Sarsour was forced to resign from her leadership position within the Women’s March for fostering anti-Semitism and anti-gay sentiments. As well, the Women’s March just booted CAIR-California official Zahra Billoo from its Board of Directors for similar anti-Semitic and extreme anti-Israel rhetoric.
Two more groups involved in the toy drive were the Broward Young Black Progressives (BYBP) and the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida (DHCF). Both organizations purport to care about tolerance of others, posting photos of and quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. (by the way, a supporter of Zionism) and the like onto social media. DHCF even posted a memorial for those who perished on September 11, 2001 and has made posts embracing the gay community. Yet, why would BYBP and DHCF participate in an event with those who spread bigotry and terror, unless they themselves condone their agenda and rhetoric?
It is time for Democratic and Progressive organizations to stop providing cover to Islamists. Allowing charitable acts to be used to foster goodwill to hide the malevolent nature of the Islamist groups, behind them, endangers both the community and national security by legitimizing the groups.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.