Would they have invited Nazi’s during WWII? via: Another Dubious State of the Union Guest :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
A New Jersey Muslim community leader attending tonight’s State of the Union Address with Sen. Cory Booker also serves as treasurer of political group which strongly supports the Muslim Brotherhood and demands its return to power in Egypt, documents discovered by the Investigative Project on Terrorism show.
Ahmed Shedeed is president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City. In explaining his invitation, Booker said Shedeed “has spoken out for religious tolerance and mutual understanding” and shows “how the diversity of America makes us all better.”
Shedeed also serves on New Jersey’s Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council.
It is unclear whether Booker knows of another leadership post Shedeed holds – treasurer of the Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR). The group emerged in 2013, after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Morsi – a member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party – from power.
The move came after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest Morsi and the Brotherhood’s attempts to concentrate their power at the expense of the country’s crumbling economy and infrastructure.
The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt more than 80 years ago and ideally wants to see Islam spread globally and see Islamic law govern society.
In the U.S., the EADHR launched rallies in several cities, including Washington, D.C. While they avoided mentioning the Brotherhood and emphasized a desire to see the “legitimate government” restored, Brotherhood political leaders spoke at the rallies and many organizers were part of groups serving the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Shedeed is listed in an August 2013 Facebook post as a contact for a New York rally.
Many Democrats in Congress made a point of inviting Muslim guests to the annual presidential speech, as a response to an “alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against Muslim Americans and people of the Islamic faith worldwide.”
Booker’s invitation of a Brotherhood supporter, however, is another example of elected officials making poor choices in trying to showcase the breadth of Muslim American ideology. As the IPT reported Monday, two Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) officials have been invited, too.
CAIR has its own direct connection to the Muslim Brotherhood. The organization was founded as part of a Brotherhood-led Hamas-support network in the United States. In addition, FBI records obtained by the IPT through the Freedom of Information Act include an eyewitness’s claim that CAIR’s founders sought the Brotherhood’s blessings for their founding bylaws.
As we noted Monday, there are many Muslim Americans deserving the honor of an invitation to the State of the Union. Surely Booker could have done better than turning to a Brotherhood supporter.
As many as 25 House Democrats are expected to have Muslim guests during Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech. It’s in response to a call from Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim voted into Congress, to counter an “alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against Muslim Americans and people of the Islamic faith worldwide.”
The gesture might not generate much more than a shrug, except that in at least two cases, Democrats invited officials from a group the FBI formally avoids due to historic ties to a Hamas support network. Delray Beach Rep. Alcee Hastings invited Nezar Hamze, regional operations director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida. And San Jose, Cal. Rep. Zoe Lofgren invited Sameena Usman, a 10-year veteran government relations official with CAIR’s San Francisco chapter, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned.
CAIR officials routinely accuse federal law enforcement of entrapping otherwise innocent and peaceful Muslims in order to gin up terrorism prosecutions. Hamze’s colleagues in CAIR-Florida are helping a family sue the FBI over the 2013 fatal shooting of a terror suspect who attacked agents after extensive questioning.
Usman’s office published a notorious poster urging Muslims to “Build a Wall of Resistance [and] Don’t Talk to the FBI.” For its part, the FBI cut off contact with CAIR, except in investigations, in 2008 based on evidence its agents uncovered which placed CAIR in a Hamas-support network in the United States.
Until it can be shown that those connections no longer exist, an FBI official explained in 2009, CAIR is not “an appropriate liaison partner.”
In addition, several CAIR officials have compared Israel to ISIS.
Calls to press contacts in Lofgren and Hastings’ offices were not returned Monday.
Last month, the IPT provided exclusive details from eyewitness accounts about CAIR’s creation, including an account of how a co-founder sought approval from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for CAIR’s bylaws, and how Executive Director Nihad Awad’s move to Washington was “in order to represent Hamas.”
Hastings and Lofgren either failed to check out their guests’ employer or they don’t care. These connections have nothing to do with the faith of CAIR officials. But the organization has a record that elected officials stubbornly insist should be ignored.
Unfortunately, this is part of a pattern of outreach House Democrats seek out with the wrong people. Last month, CAIR-Florida’s Hassan Shibly was invited to the White House for a discussion about religious discrimination. Then, as with the State of the Union speech, no one from the new Muslim Reform Movement – which issued a declaration clearly rejecting “interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam” and standing for “peace, human rights and secular governance.”
In 2012, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sat with Awad, the only executive director in the organization’s history, at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
A seat in the House chamber for the State of the Union bestows undeserved clout to the CAIR officials. And, in trying to show the public that American Muslims are not a monolithic group of radicalized Islamists, Hastings and Lofgren are doing their cause more harm than good.
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