RICHMOND — The Republican Party of Virginia is demanding that Attorney General Mark R. Herring apologize for holding a town hall meeting at a “terror-linked” mosque in Northern Virginia.
Herring (D), who is running for reelection, made an appearance Friday at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church along with immigration attorneys and experts to discuss the Trump administration’s travel ban.
Herring is one of several attorneys general challenging the ban, which would block travel to the United States by citizens of several Muslim-majority countries. Dar Al-Hijrah’s 20,000 congregants hail from more than two dozen countries, including Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Iran.
Republican officials, who have made appearances at other mosques, said they objected to this specific house of worship because of its controversial past.
A former imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, went on to become an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, where he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers attended the mosque, as did Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, who killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex.
“The Republican Party of Virginia does not object to politicians visiting mosques, in fact our own Chairman visited a Muslim house of worship quite recently,” John Findlay, executive director of the state GOP, said in a statement. “However, the Party does object to Mark Herring holding an event at a center with an extensive and well-documented history with anti-American terrorists.”
Findlay questioned whether the mosque’s ties to radicals were truly in the past. He pointed to a comment that Imam Shaker Elsayed made at a prayer service in October 2011, when he acknowledged Awlaki’s death and said that he would face Allah’s judgment.
He said that those who killed Awlaki “need to equally prepare for that moment” when they also will be judged by Allah, The Washington Post reported at the time.
“Mark Herring needs to state whether he agrees or disagrees with the current Imam who said, “[US forces that kill terrorists] need to equally prepare for that moment when they also will be judged by Allah,’ ” the party’s statement said.
The Virginia GOP also criticized the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which took part in the town hall event. The party’s statement described CAIR as “a Hamas-linked group.”
Democrats are making it very clear which side of the existential battle they are on:
- Vermont Democrats Elect FBI-Investigated, Terror-linked Muslim as State Party Chairman
- San Diego: Dem Congressman holds town hall at 9/11 linked mosque, urges uprising
- New Jersey: Dem State Sen & Mayor Tells Muslims Union City is a Sanctuary for Illegals
- Democrats Delayed Firing Pakistani IT ‘Hackers’ Because They Were Muslim
- Democrats Balk at Bill Listing Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group