Or as originally titled via The Congressman and the Imam | Washington Free Beacon.
New Jersey Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell is under fire for supporting a Muslim cleric who was convicted in Israel of having ties to the terror group Hamas and who believes Israel’s creation was “the greatest disaster which occurred on the face of the Earth.”
At issue is the veteran lawmaker’s longtime association with Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a prominent New Jersey spiritual leader who is battling the federal government as it attempts to deport him for allegedly lying about his ties to Hamas.
Pascrell has defended Qatanani, helping him to remain in the U.S. despite the imam’s ties to Hamas affiliates.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Pascrell’s Republican challenger, has publicly condemned Pascrell’s relationship with Qatanani in recent days and has circulated to reporters a research document detailing the imam’s anti-Israel rhetoric.
“On such a day, a human disaster occurred,” Qatanani stated during a lecture on May 15, 2009, the anniversary of Israel’s creation. “The 15th of May 1948 was the greatest disaster which occurred on the face of the earth.”
During a 2010 protest to defend Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, a major Muslim holy site, Qatanani regaled the crowd with an anti-Israel diatribe.
“Aqsa Mosque will stay for Palestinian people because they are the owner of the land,” he declared, according to reports. “You can’t say it is a holy land just to steal it.”
“Palestine will be free one day, and we will see it very soon by your actions, by your standing for justice, justice, freedom, the liberation of the land will be very soon,” Qatanani said.
The imam, who was born in the Palestinian area of Nablus, cites erroneous historical facts to purge the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel.
“We must understand that this land called Palestine has been an Arab land from 4,000 years ago before the presence of Abraham,” the imam said during a 2010 lecture, in which he also said Israelis are just “immigrants from Ukraine, Poland or New York.”
“We [Palestinians] have a historical and geographic right” to the land, he said. “We must teach this to the young and our children.”
“The State of Israel was established on the land of Palestine,” he said.
In a 2004 interview, Qatanani defended the practice of giving charity to the children of suicide bombers.
During a lecture in 2008, Qatanani said, “we expect the world to be a Muslim empire from Morocco to China,” and said that the “reason for the spread of Islam is because the West has been bankrupt spiritually.”
In a 2007 speech that could possibly influence Qatanani’s impending deportation hearing—a battle that has raged since 2008—the imam can be heard defending the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity that was shut down by the federal government for funneling money to Hamas.
“Assist our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land Foundation,” Qatanani says, according to translations of his Arabic speech performed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism and circulated by the Boteach campaign. “Remove the difficulty that they have been inflicted with … Oh Allah to prove them non-guilty.”
Pascrell has stood by the imam throughout his deportation ordeal.
And what Adam Kredo of the Beacon fails to mention is the Republican governor, then US Attorney, Chris Christie has also stood by the imam throughout his deportation ordeal, has defended him, and was possibly a factor in allowing him to stay here this long and possibly forever.
The Islamic Center of Passaic County, where the imam preaches, also has a history of association with Hamas. Established in 1989, it was soon discovered that founder Mohammad el-Mezain was financing Hamas—a crime for which he was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Pascrell has had “plenty of time to distance himself [from Qatanani] and read up on him. He didn’t do it. This is how the man feels and it’s politically convenient for him,” she said.
Republican challenger Boteach told the Free Beacon that Pascrell must renounce Qatanani publicly.
Then so must Chris Christie and Adam Kredo should ask him to respond.