Ahmed Bedier leads a dual life. As President of the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council (THHRC), he enjoys the fortune of being mistaken by government officials and media personalities for a civil rights leader. The rest of the time, Bedier portrays his real self, an Islamist whose existence is devoted to hatred of Israel. Now, he has started a new group to fool the masses, United Voices for America (UVA). How long will those in positions of influence continue to fail to recognize the other side of Ahmed Bedier?
On February 6, 2008, a song invaded the Tampa, Florida, airwaves about “Palestine.” According to the vocalist, it was sung “in honor of our shahids” – shahid, meaning a holy martyr or an individual seeking death (suicide) in the cause of Allah, a term most widely used in association with terrorists. What followed the tune was an anti-Israel hatefest, the same hatefest that is heard week after week on WMNF-FM’s True Talk, a Muslim talk show hosted by Bedier and his cohort, Samar Jarrah.
Bedier has been involved with radical Islam since at least 2002, when he was the Outreach Director for the Islamic Society of Pinellas County (ISPC), a mosque whose website features material calling for violence against Jews. After the stint with ISPC, much of Bedier’s life has centered around organizations and individuals connected to and in support of anti-Israel terrorist groups overseas, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Hezbollah.
Bedier and Hamas
In February 2003, Bedier began working for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), soon to become the group’s Communications Director. In December of 2003, CAIR opened a separate office in Tampa, and Bedier was named its Executive Director. All of this was subsequent to CAIR’s involvement in the funding of Hamas, which took place prior to December of 2001, when Hamas’s American financing wing, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), was shut down by the U.S. government. CAIR was named as a co-conspirator in the 2008 HLF trial, where all of the defendants were found guilty of all charges.
Bedier left CAIR in May 2008, but that hadn’t stopped his association with those who support Hamas. On December 30, 2008, he joined hundreds of others in a pro-Hamas demonstration in Tampa, one of a number of similar protests which took place on the same date across the nation. The event, which was organized in large part by the extremist Muslim American Society (MAS), featured signs that read “End Zionism” and “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate It.” Additionally, some participants at the protest donned keffiyehs, Palestinian symbols of violence worn as scarves.
Bedier and PIJ
When Bedier joined CAIR in February of 2003, it was no coincidence that that same month terrorist and former University of South Florida (USF) professor Sami al-Arian had been taken into custody by the FBI. Al-Arian, along with others, was indicted for his leadership role within PIJ. Al-Arian founded a mosque, a children’s school, a think tank, and a charity all in the name of furthering PIJ operations at home and abroad. Since al-Arian’s activities were based in Tampa, Bedier was the perfect person to be brought in as his “unofficial spokesman.”
Bedier held press conferences voicing concern about the government’s treatment of al-Arian. As well, Bedier allowed his radio show to be used as a propaganda tool for al-Arian’s family and his PIJ colleagues.
In December 2005, Bedier appeared on local Fox 13 WTVT’s Your Turn with Kathy Fountain to discuss al-Arian’s legal troubles. During the show, Bedier was asked if he believed that al-Arian’s involvement with PIJ was immoral, to which he replied, “To a certain degree. Now, before 1995 there was nothing immoral about it.” This, while PIJ had taken credit for five terrorist attacks before 1995, including one suicide bombing, which resulted in the deaths of eight innocent people.
Bedier and Hezbollah
When it comes to controversial topics brought up on Bedier’s radio show, many times Bedier speaks through his guests. On July 21, 2006, in the course of Israel’s war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, Bedier’s entire show was devoted to lauding the terrorist group. All three of his invitees heaped praise on Hezbollah, such as:
- “I’m not very good at being brief about Hezbollah, but I’ll try. I’ll just say that it’s not at all the picture that is portrayed of it in the West, as some sort of cartoonish terrorist group. It is a liberation movement in many senses for the Lebanese Shia that has huge support, probably more than any party in Lebanon… It has quite a clean record, and its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, is revered probably by most Lebanese as a fairly eloquent and capable leader.”
- “Let everyone understand that Hezbollah is not a building, Hezbollah is [not] a street. Hezbollah is composed of families that believe in liberation, families that believe [in] dignity, families that believe [in] purpose.”
- “They have been trying to invade Lebanon since the first day. Yesterday alone, there was a 20-hour battle between the Israeli army and the National Resistance Movement of Hezbollah. For 20 hours they fought. This speaks volumes about the heroic nature of Hezbollah.”
- “The fact of the matter is that Hezbollah has a lot of the voice of the people here, so ultimately Hezbollah’s voice needs to be heard. You can’t just keep shutting it away, because it’s always gonna rise again.”
All three of the groups mentioned – Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah – are found on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), yet Bedier has sought to surround himself with individuals and groups associated with and in support of them. This is troubling in itself, but what makes it more so is the fact that Bedier has persisted in his quest to gain access to those in positions of power and influence.
As President of the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council, Bedier has had unwarranted interaction with the Tampa Mayor’s office, which has provided a personal liaison to his group. He has also been granted accreditation by members of the media, who mistakenly consider him a legitimate source of information. Now, Bedier is looking to expand his sinister ambitions with a brand new group he established, a political advocacy organization called United Voices for America.
On March 9th and 10th, Bedier and his UVA will be hosting what he calls a “Lobby Day” in Tallahassee, the location of the Florida legislature. According to a February 9th letter he had e-mailed, the event, entitled “Florida Muslim Capitol Day,” will provide members of his organization a “unique opportunity of speaking directly with your elected legislators and [this] empowers us collectively to change Florida.”
The change which Ahmed Bedier seeks for Florida, given his extensive terrorist ties, can and should be viewed as a threat to America, her ally Israel and Israel’s backers in the Sunshine State, which as of now includes most if not all of the Representatives and Senators he is targeting. If Bedier has his way, those in office will turn their backs on America’s friend abroad. It is incumbent upon all to recognize the true nature of this man, for a man with dangerous intentions, such as Bedier has, will never stop until he is convincingly turned away.