On Saturday, March 1st, the city of Fort Lauderdale will be playing host to two U.S. government named “Unindicted Co-Conspirators,” the Islamic advocacy group CAIR and Brooklyn imam Siraj Wahhaj. The event will be taking place with the full knowledge of the city, while the citizens of Fort Lauderdale will be left in the dark, unaware of what their elected officials are allowing to operate in and fundraise in their town.
CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations was created in June of 1994 as a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a quad of groups looking for ways to finance Hamas from the United States. The committee was headed by Mousa Abu Marzook, then the Political Bureau Chief of Hamas. Today, CAIR has over 30 offices based throughout the U.S. and Canada, one of them being CAIR-Florida.
CAIR-Florda, like its parent and “Brother” organizations, holds annual events highlighting speakers well known to the radical Muslim community. The venue for this year’s affair, its 2008 South Florida Annual Fundraising Banquet, will be the Broward County Convention Center. The theme of the gathering is ‘Let the Conversation Begin.’ However, the real conversation should start with how and why an organization connected to Hamas would be given the go ahead to utilize a government owned facility for its event, especially when that group is using it to collect money.
In June of 2007, 13 years after its founding, CAIR, along with other terror-related entities, was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for a Dallas trial that dealt with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. CAIR being implicated in the funding of terrorism abroad is a concern, as the group will be using the Broward government center to raise money. Question: Where will that money wind up?
Also of concern are the speakers. Featured at this year’s event, as has been the case in past events, is Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brooklyn, New York. Wahhaj is also the Amir or President of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), an umbrella group for African-American mosques and Islamic centers.
In February of 1995, Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to a list of “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Also found on the list are Osama bin Laden, bin Laden mentor Abdullah Azzam, and Fawaz Damra, who was deported from the United States, in January of 2007, for his involvement with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
With regard to the ’93 bombing, Wahhaj has been linked to the spiritual leader of the operation, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, and bomb-maker Clement Rodney Hampton-El. The attack, which was part of a much larger conspiracy to destroy major landmarks throughout New York City, took the lives of six people.
Also featured at this year’s CAIR event are Juan Cole, an anti-Israel blogger and conspiracy theorist, and Maz Jobrani, an Iranian comedian who has built his career on anti-Bush statements veiled as jokes.
This is not the first time Broward County has opened its doors to CAIR. In March of 2003, a “diversity awareness” video featuring CAIR-Florida Executive Director Altaf Ali was shown in every public school in Broward and viewed by the youngest of Broward’s students. The video was produced by the Broward County School Board.
In August of 2005, Broward County allowed CAIR to use its Main Library in Fort Lauderdale to hold a series of six lectures, as part of CAIR’s ‘Explore Islamic Culture & Civilization’ project. The project began in September of 2002, for the purpose of distributing sets of Islamic-oriented books to thousands of public libraries across America. The texts included: a version of the Quran that was banned by the Los Angeles school system, a book justifying the beating of women by their husbands, and a book defending convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi. The Broward County Library Magazine publicized the event using the Broward County government logo.
And last year, in March of 2007, just as it is doing this year, Broward County allowed CAIR to use its convention center. And Wahhaj spoke at that event, as well.
When is Broward going to figure out that it is wrong to allow groups and individuals with ties to terrorism to use its facilities, especially when it comes to those groups using the facilities to raise money? Do Broward’s government officials worry about where that money is going, what it’s going for, or who it’s going to? Do they truly care about the safety and security of their citizens?
The CAIR/Wahhaj event is only weeks away. That is enough time for Broward to change its disastrous course, show that radical Islamists are unwelcome, and shut the fundraiser down.