Lady Liberty and Old Glory adorn the latest announcement flyer from CAIR-Florida for its annual banquet that is to be held Saturday, April 3, 2004. It’s a huge event for the group, described on the flyer as “A Defining Moment.” Nihad Awad (Hammad), the Executive Director of the national headquarters -- scheduled to speak at the event -- is sure to be a large draw to all those in the area that care about the propagation of the Islamist cause.
The other part of the description on the announcement reads, “A Night of Heroes,” alluding to one of the featured speakers, a “Muslim activist” firefighter from New York City named Kevin James, who according to the CAIR flyer, “participated in the 9/11 rescue efforts...” James is an easy exploit -- a showpiece to say, “Hey, we’re proud Americans just like you.” This all goes along with the patriotic illusion already mentioned.
In reality, that’s all this event is -- one big illusion.
Wherever Nihad Awad goes, he brings with him a lot of baggage. Thanks to the work of counter-terror expert Steven Emerson, Awad’s ties to an overseas Palestinian fanatical group have become legend.
The circumstances which led up to him being affiliated with that group are unclear, though.
In late 1992, Awad found himself spending a month in war torn Bosnia, by way of the Bosnian Refugee Committee, an Islamic aid organization based in Minnesota. This was at a time when Muslim intransigents from around the world were making jihad in Bosnia their personal cause (or as the Koran states, an obligation).
In an article he had written for ‘The Minnesota Daily,’ an independent newspaper at the University of Minnesota where he was active at the time in the Muslim Students Association, Awad discussed his experience in Bosnia. He wrote admiringly of the soldiers of the Bosnian Army, who he said, “courageously [stood] up to the might of Serbian tanks and planes” and who “wore patches carrying the Islamic declaration of faith.”
He also described, in the article, his interaction with Muhamed Vejzagic, who it turns out was a Brigadier General in the Bosnian Army.
A passage in one report from the time period reads: “…the Bosnian government has allowed an odious force -- what might be called an ‘Islamic foreign legion’ -- to become a source of weaponry and trained manpower. In Bosnia, this foreign legion (or mujahedeen) includes Afghan guerillas, Egyptian terrorists, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, in addition to Iranian special forces and Revolutionary Guard operatives.” It goes on to say, “The foreign Islamic forces and local mujahedeen under their influence have, to varying degrees, been assimilated into Bosnian Army Units.”
And according to another report, many of these mujahedeen entered Bosnia “posing as relief workers.”
It was around this time that Nihad Awad got involved with the Islamic Association for Palestine, or in Awad’s words: “After the Gulf War was over, I was offered a job with the Islamic Association for Palestine as their public relations director.” He took the job, and soon after that, he accepted a position as a contributing editor for one of the organization’s publications, the Muslim World Monitor, as well.
The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) is widely regarded as the “primary voice in the United States” of the terrorist group Hamas. The IAP was founded by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a “senior political leader” of Hamas, and the organization is credited with publishing the actual Hamas charter. In a prepared statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, Steven Emerson stated, “internal Hamas documents strongly suggest that parts of the Hamas charter… were first written by members of the IAP in the United States in the early to mid-1980's.”
About the IAP, former FBI counterterrorism chief Oliver “Buck” Revell stated, “IAP is a Hamas front. It’s controlled by Hamas, it brings Hamas leaders to the US, it does propaganda for Hamas.”
The IAP publication that Awad became an editor for, according to Steven Emerson in his book American Jihad, “celebrates successful Hamas terrorist attacks.”
Question: In the month that Nihad Awad stayed in Bosnia, was he there just distributing “relief aid,” or did Awad meet up with Hamas operatives that got him involved in “Allah’s greater cause?”
Whatever the answer to this question is, one thing is for certain, Nihad Awad’s support for Hamas was absolute. In fact, while with the IAP, in a March 22, 1994 symposium at Barry University in Florida, he stated just that. Awad said, “…after I researched the situation inside and outside Palestine, I am in support of the Hamas movement…”
This same year, according to The Weekly Standard, when Mike Wallace of CBS’s “60 Minutes” asked Awad if he supports the “military undertakings of Hamas,” Awad stood up for the terrorist group and told him, “The United Nations Charter grants people who are under occupation [the right] to defend themselves against illegal occupation.”
At the behest of then-IAP President Omar Ahmad, Awad met with him (Ahmad) and Rafeeq Jaber (Ahmad’s successor and current IAP President) to discuss the IAP branching out in another direction. That direction was CAIR.
Just three months after the infamous “I support Hamas” statement, in June of 1994, the ‘IAP three’ incorporated the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), in Awad’s words, “to bridge the chasm of ignorance between Muslims in America and their neighbors.” Nihad Awad became the group’s Executive Director, Omar Ahmad took on the title of Chairman of the Board, and Awad solicited his friend and colleague from the Bosnian Relief Committee, Ibrahim Hooper, as CAIR’s Communications Director.
Using a $5000 dollar “modest donation,” CAIR opened up an office in the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. That donation came from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a self-described charity that, like the IAP, was founded by Mousa Abu Marzook.
Two years after CAIR’s inception, in May of 1996, the group coordinated a press conference to protest the decision of the United States government to extradite Marzook for his connection to terrorist acts performed by Hamas. In addition, CAIR signed a letter, which was printed in the June 1996 edition of the Newsletter of the Marzuk Legal Fund, calling the extradition “anti-Islamic” and “anti-American.”
Shortly after September 11, 2001, while the world grieved over the attacks on America, Nihad Awad and CAIR took advantage of the suffering by placing on their website a picture of the World Trade Center in flames and under it a call for donations. It read, “What you can do for the victims of the WTC and Pentagon attacks,” and by clicking on “Donate to the NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund” one was unsuspectingly sent directly to the website of the Holy Land Foundation. A week later, the wording of the site was changed, as visitors to the site were directly told to “Donate through the Holy Land Foundation.” The link was on CAIR’s website up until the beginning of December, when the information mysteriously disappeared.
On December 4, 2001, the reason for the disappearance was apparent, as the Holy Land Foundation’s assets were blocked by the United States government for funneling money to Hamas. According to the White House website, “The U.S.-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development [provided] millions of dollars each year that [was] used by HAMAS.”
This particular episode is indicative of Nihad Awad’s lifelong journey, coming from a Middle East mired in terrorism and violent rhetoric and bringing that mentality here to the States. Who knows how many individuals lost their lives, because Awad and CAIR used a tragedy to mislead well doers into donating their money to the reprehensible cause that is Hamas!
And now Awad’s deceptive journey will take him to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to rally the jihadi troops in support of his veiled radical Islamist agenda. His success or failure may very well depend on who does or does not take him and his past actions seriously.
On the CAIR-Florida flyer announcing the affair, it’s stated that the event will feature “various regional public figures.” In the past, this has included such officials as from the government and law enforcement.
Allow this author a word of advice -- and caution. To all those officials planning to attend this event: UNDERSTAND THE FACTS. While the banquet may very well feature a 9/11 firefighter, and while the flyer may be emblazoned with the Statue of Liberty and colors of red, white and blue, let there be no question, the results are splattered only in red.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate. You can visit the group’s website, at www.americansagainsthate.com. And you can view all of Joe’s archived articles, at www.joe4rep.com.