In March, recently fired CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill will be the keynote speaker for a Chicago-based group the Israeli government recently declared to be “terrorists in suits.”
Hill, who was fired by CNN following a speech at the United Nations where he used the anti-Israel eliminationist rhetoric “from the river to the sea,” will speak at a fundraising event for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Founded in 2005, AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has provided a platform for anti-Semitism. The organization seeks to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state, and plays a leading role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States. AMP campaigns have depicted Israel as an apartheid state and have called for an end to American aid to Israel.
A report published by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs just this month noted that leaders and senior members of AMP were involved, directly and indirectly, in providing funding assistance to Hamas.
The report added that the funding activity took place through the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an organization the U.S. government alleges was set up to provide propaganda services for Hamas. Formerly the largest Islamic charity in the United States, HLF and five of its directors were convicted of multiple terrorism-related charges, including material support for terror.
The report concluded that leading figures in HLF and IAP subsequently joined AMP, and now hold senior positions in the organization.
At the March AMP fundraiser, Marc Lamont Hill will be joined by several Chicago-area Islamic leaders who share AMP’s long history of ties to Hamas-linked groups. The event will feature two leaders of the Bridgeview mosque, also known as the Mosque Foundation: Imam Jamal Said, and Mosque Foundation leader Kifah Mustapha.
The Mosque Foundation and several of its leaders, including Said and Mustapha, have a long history of ties to and support for Islamist organizations known to fund terror groups. In 2005, the mosque had its bank account shut down over concerns related to large donations to the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), which has been designated by the U.S. as an al-Qaeda-funding charity. In total, the mosque allegedly provided $374,000 to organizations the U.S. government would designate for financing terror.
According to an investigative report by the Chicago Tribune published in 2008, Jamal Said became the Bridgeview mosque’s imam following a takeover of the mosque by hardliners with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. A group of moderates who had founded the mosque were forced out.
Matthew Levitt, in his book Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, described Jamal Said as “a leader of the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.”
Documents submitted as evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial show Said on a Palestine Committee phone list. The Palestine Committee was an organization established by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas, according to the organization’s own records. These were also submitted at trial.
A third Mosque Foundation leader with alleged ties to Hamas, Muhammad Salah, told Israeli security officials that Jamal Said recruited him into the Muslim Brotherhood. He later retracted the claim.
It’s unsurprising to find Said speaking at the AMP fundraiser, given his history of appearing at conferences held by the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), where he called for providing funds to the families of “martyrs.” Levitt concluded that “such Islamists do not believe in the rule of law and order in the West and try to build Islamist communities that reject the civil authorities in the West, instructing their members not to talk to law enforcement.”
Local Muslim residents have reported to this author that Sheikh Said has chastised Bridgeview Muslims and those in the surrounding area for reporting crimes to the police, instead of reporting them to Mosque Foundation leaders to handle within the community.
Said has used weekly sermons to urge Chicago’s Muslim population not to assimilate within American society, culture, and lifestyle. Said has called upon male Muslims to keep their female household members under control, demand they wear the hijab, and apply Sharia law to their lives.
The radical Bridgeview imam often calls upon devout Muslims to donate generously for the expansion of the mosque, or for the creation of new programs for the Muslim youth, “before it becomes too late and we may lose our children because they are living in an un-Islamic society.”
The progressive Left should consider the negative impact that radical leaders like Jamal Said have on young Palestinian and Arab immigrant communities.
Chicago-area Muslims deserve leaders who reject radical Islam and anti-Semitism. Leaders like Jamal Said drive Muslim communities to the abyss of extremism, towards supporting violence and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.