In response to the Pittsburgh attack in which 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue were killed, Americans from all over the country have expressed grief and solidarity with the Jewish community.
While the immense outpouring of support for the Pittsburgh Jewish community is heartwarming, some of it rings hollow as those with a history of anti-Semitism also sent messages of solidarity.
There is a pattern of American Islamists pretending to be sympathetic to domestic U.S. Jews to build credibility that they are not anti-Semites. Several of these Islamists have been involved in crowdfunding campaigns to aid the Pittsburgh synagogue.
This is not to imply that American Muslims do not genuinely want to help Jewish people without having any nefarious motives. Countless well-intentioned American Muslims unconditionally stand with their Jewish brothers. However, there are groups and individuals associated with these giving campaigns whose anti-Jewish history make their motives suspect.
Among those with questionable motives are:
MPower Change is a group co-founded — and under the direction of — the inflammatory left-wing activist, Linda Sarsour. Sarsour has a long history of ties to radicalism and inflammatory remarks directed at the Jewish community.
She supports the discriminatory and terror-tied BDS Movement and claimed “nothing is creepier” than Zionism. She has also discounted anti-Semitism, saying “while anti-Semitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it’s different than anti-black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.”
Sarsour associates with the organization Al-Awda and its co-founder Abbas Hamideh, an open and unapologetic Hezbollah supporter. While having distanced herself a bit from Al-Awda, Sarsour has attended numerous rallies sponsored by Al-Awda, promoted and solicited donations for their events and spoken at their rallies. She has never renounced the organization. Sarsour and Hamideh have playfully joked around with each other on Twitter questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish people’s connection to Israel.
Sarsour also has ties to Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Farrakhan has a long history of anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-white and conspiracy-filled preaching. Farrakhan regularly calls Jews “satanic” and claims that they “control everything and mostly everybody.” In a recent sermon, he compared Jews to termites and called his Jewish critics “stupid.”
In 2015, Sarsour spoke at a NOI event where she attacked Israel. Last year, Sarsour sat on an anti-Semitism panel where she accused the “Jewish media” of ruining her reputation and claimed that Farrakhan was not an “existential threat to the Jewish community” (note that the anti-Semitic rhetoric used by the Pittsburgh shooter mirrored that of Farrakhan).
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh
Yet, the bylaws of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh state that its property is owned by North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and is affiliated with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). NAIT is a Muslim Brotherhood entity and “constituent organization” of ISNA.
Declassified FBI memos show that agency investigators identified NAIT as being a foreign-financed front “under the direction and control of the IKHWAN [Muslim Brotherhood] in the United States,” which holds “as its ultimate goal political control of all non-Islamic governments in the world.” The Muslim Brotherhood has a long history of Jew hatred, which can be seen most openly in its Palestinian chapter, Hamas.
NAIT appealed the label; however, the designation was upheld as the court concluded there was “ample evidence” linking NAIT to the Hamas financing network. (This including a NAIT bank account which gave checks, designated for “Palestinian mujahideen [jihadi warriors]” to the Holy Land Foundation, which then distributed the funds to Hamas. Palestinian jihadi warriors are regularly given financial rewards for attacking and murdering Jews in Israel.)
Imam Hassan Qazwini
The Detroit Free Press recently highlighted statements of condolence from various Muslim leaders throughout the Detroit area. One name that stuck out was Imam Hassan Qazwini, who has a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Qazwini, who currently serves as an imam at Az-Zahraa Islamic Center, formerly served as the imam of the Islamic Center of America (ICA). Qazwini left ICA amid controversy over the mosques finances. While he was the imam of ICA, the mosque hosted Louis Farrakhan as a guest speaker.
Qazwini has also boasted of his closeness to Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a spiritual leader of the anti-Israel Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah.
In a sermon, Qazwini claimed that ISIS was created by Israel, stating, “ISIS is playing the role of the arm of the Zionist in the Muslim world, to kill more Muslims and non-Muslims … The number one beneficiary of all of these atrocities, I tell you, is the Zionists, and it is the Zionist regime.”Yet Qazwini has let his “anti-Zionism mask” slip at times to show overt anti-Semitism, for example when he described Bernie Sanders as “an honorable man, even though he is a Jew.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Last week, an ad was placed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from an organization called the “Western States Center.” The ad was an open letter signed by hundreds of people pledging to “vote against antisemitism.”
Multiple officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) signed the letter.
CAIR grew out of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a group founded in 1981 by Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook. FBI wiretaps in 1993 reveal that CAIR was established to deceptively push the Islamist agenda in America.
In 2007, the U.S. government labeled CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas. In November 2014, CAIR was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, along with a host of other Muslim Brotherhood entities.
Among the CAIR officials who signed is the executive director, Nihad Awad. Before working for CAIR, Awad was the public relations director for IAP. IAP was responsible for publishing a pamphlet titiled, “America’s Greatest Enemy: The Jew! And an Unholy Alliance!”
During a speech at a university in 1994, Awad said he was “in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.” In a 1998 interview with The Georgetown Voice, Awad accused Jews of controlling U.S. foreign policy.
Another CAIR official who signed the open letter is Zahra Billoo, the executive director of CAIR’s northern California chapter.
Billoo has a history of praising Hezbollah, tweeting “AH [All Hail] for Hezbollah having the courage to do what the Arab governments won’t” and has likened Hamas to a victim of rape, implying her support of Hamas rockets being fired into the civilian population of Israel.
Earlier this year, Billloo’s history of hateful rhetoric prompted an interfaith group to rescind an award they were planning to bestow upon her. Billoo blamed the loss of the award on pressure from Jewish members of the organization.
These shows of sympathy from otherwise anti-Semitic Islamists are hollow, and the people engaging in this spectacle should be seen for what they really are: snake oil salesmen.
The cynical exploitation of a community in mourning to garner favorable public relations should not be rewarded.