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Keith Ellison’s Mysterious CAIR Meeting By: Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, October 16, 2006

At the beginning of this month, I received an e-mail about a lecture that was taking place on October 14th at the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center, located in Pembroke Pines, Florida.  The event was being sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Keynote Speaker was listed as Keith Ellison, a candidate for United States Congress from Minnesota and a man that has raised thousands of dollars through CAIR.  Our group, Americans Against Hate, planned to be there and welcome him in protest.  All was fine, until we attempted to sit in on the event.

When I received the e-mail concerning the lecture, I wanted to corroborate the information to make sure that it was correct.  I searched the Internet.  I found nothing.  I went onto CAIR’s and CAIR-Florida’s websites – nothing.  I went onto Keith Ellison’s campaign website – nothing.  Details about this event were nowhere to be seen.  It wasn’t until I spoke with someone from the Pembroke Pines Police Department that I found out the information was indeed accurate.  Questions popped up in my head:  Why is this event being made a secret?  Why is a Congressional Candidate from Minnesota campaigning in South Florida?  And right before the election?


We obtained the permit, and the protest went on as planned.  What we were protesting was the fact that Keith Ellison had accepted campaign donations from CAIR officials.  We were also protesting Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Davis for doing the same.  Ellison had taken money from CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Chairman Parvez Ahmed, and CAIR’s Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor.  Jim Davis had accepted money from CAIR-Florida’s Communications Director Ahmed Bedier.  Given CAIR’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, given the fact that four CAIR representatives have previously been charged by the U.S. government with terrorist activity, and given the fact that CAIR is being sued for its role in the attacks on 9/11, we believed our case was strong.


Our protest consisted of a small group of people holding appropriate signs.  They included:  “GIVE BACK THE MONEY!” “BEWARE OF CAIR,” “KEITH ELLISON, JIM DAVIS, CAIR LAP DOGS,” and one sign containing pro-terror quotes from Nihad Awad and Ahmed Bedier.  We stood across from the entrance of the center, so that we could get a good look at the attendees.  From what we saw and what we heard, there seemed to be very few people attending this event, which led to more questions.


Somebody that resembled Ellison was driven up to the front and was quickly ushered in.  CAIR-Florida’s Legal Director, Areeb Naseer, passed by.  Earlier, the Executive Director for the group, Altaf Ali, was spotted.  A CAIR operative sat outside the door to the entrance – I figured either to greet guests or to watch us – or both.  Thankfully, police officers were set up there, as well.


Eventually, another CAIR op came outside to videotape us.  We did the same to him.  I told him it was worse for him – CAIR already knew what I looked like.  We asked him questions, but like a good CAIR soldier, he didn’t say a word.  When it was time for our speeches, which were made at a podium we had brought, the op moved closer to video them.  My speech contained some hard-hitting evidence of CAIR’s terrorist ties.  The op just stood there expressionless.  I assumed he had no problem with what was being said.  As I spoke, I wondered to myself what the guy was capable of.  After my speech, I thanked everyone for coming.


We were about to leave, when I made the conscious decision to go inside to see the event.  If someone from CAIR was videotaping us, why shouldn’t we be able to do the same?  We asked the police officers if it was alright to go inside to videotape.  They said it was okay, as long as we didn’t disrupt anything.  Two of us went in.  As we reached the entrance to the affair, we were stopped by two people.  “This is a private event,” one said, as he put up his hand to stop us.  We said we received permission from the officers.  He repeated his statement a couple more times.  Areeb Naseer rushed out to speak with the officers.  Altaf Ali looked nervous and confused.  We took CAIR totally by surprise.


In the end, the officers said, since it was a “private” event we had to abide by what they were telling us.  My colleague stated that it was a public place – the center was owned by the city – and we should be able to pass through.  However, we didn’t press much further and soon left.  With all of the preceding questions, a new question arose: Why did they not want us inside?  Keith Ellison is running for public office.  Why was this a “private meeting”?  What was being said inside that made it so private?


These are questions that Keith Ellison should be asked.  He comes all the way to South Florida from Minnesota, less than one month before his election, to a private meeting that no one knows about, attended by only a small number of people, with individuals guarding the entranceway, an event sponsored by a group that has numerous ties to Islamic terrorism.  Is it just me, or does this picture look strange?


As I write, the homepage of Keith Ellison’s website offers a glaring contradiction to his mysterious Florida meeting.  On it, he states, “Between now and November 7 -- and for as long as I have the privilege of serving you in Congress -- I'm going to be seeking opportunities for us to connect face-to-face.  I'd like you and your neighbors to join me in town hall discussions around the district where we can talk about the issues that are important to us: the challenges we face and the successes we want to build on.”


How is Mr. Ellison going to “connect face-to-face” with his constituents, when he’s in another state and he won’t even let the public into his events?  It’s just one more question that needs to be answered.  Minnesotans should demand to know these answers, before their votes are cast.


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Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch.

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