Keith Ellison, who is campaigning to become Democratic National Committee chairman, met with Hamas fundraiser Mohammed al-Hanooti at a 2009 campaign fundraiser for Virginia House of Delegates candidate Esam Omeish. Ellison was the keynote speaker at the event.
Last week Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller reported on the appearance of Ellison at the Omeish campaign event, noting that Omeish had previously called for Palestinians to follow “the jihad way” against Israel.
Given that, it’s no surprise to find al-Hanooti, who styled himself as “grand mufti” of Washington D.C. and whom FBI documents identify as a top U.S. fundraiser for Hamas, at the campaign fundraiser.
Pictures posted to Flickr by Omeish show Ellision and al-Hanooti chatting at the event.
Mohammed al-Hanooti has been identified by federal prosecutors and top counterterrorism officials as a enthusiastic supporter of Hamas — serving as one of its top fundraisers — and also as an active supporter of terrorism and extremist Islamic ideology for several decades.
He also holds the rare distinction of not only being named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terror-finance case in American history, but also of being listed as a conspirator in the trial of “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned follow-up attack on New York City landmarks. FBI agents have also testified that al-Hanooti was a participant in an infamous 1993 meeting in Philadelphia of senior Hamas leaders in the U.S.
Al-Hanooti’s terror ties go back to the 1980s, when he served for two years as the first president of the Islamic Association for Palestine, an organization founded by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. The group was found liable for $156 million in a civil trial brought by a Chicago couple whose son was murdered by Hamas while waiting for a bus in Israel. In the judge’s order in that case, he cited “strong evidence that IAP was supporting Hamas, consistent with the FBI’s surveillance reports.”
Evidence submitted by the government in the Holy Land Foundation trial also implicates al-Hanooti for his role in the top leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestine Committee, formed specifically to provide support for Hamas. A 1988 list of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders shows al-Hanooti as serving on the group’s sharia court. He also appears on a 1993 list of U.S. and international Palestine Committee members.
Other documents entered as evidence include a 1991 study on Hamas featuring a forward by al-Hanooti, and a 1995 FBI wiretap transcript of al-Hanooti talking with one of the Holy Land trial defendants about how to raise money for the legal defense of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, then facing trial in New York.
A November 2001 memorandum on the Holy Land Foundation’s financial support for Hamas, prepared by FBI counterterrorism assistant director Dale Watson, details information provided by two separate informants that al-Hanooti “was a big supporter of Hamas” who held fundraisers for the terror group, and that “al-Hanooti collected over six million U.S. dollars for support of Hamas.”
As noted in an extensive investigation by the Albany Times Union, during the early 1990s al-Hanooti was the imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic, New Jersey, which members of the 1993 World Trade Center plot attended. One used the mosque’s address to rent the truck used in the bombing. Another frequent visitor to al-Hanooti’s mosque was “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is currently serving a life sentence for his support of the bombers (and who was prosecuted by my friend and PJ Media colleague, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy).
And as the New York Times reported, in August 1999 al-Hanooti appeared as a witness at the trial of al-Qaeda operative Ihab Ali, who refused to testify about his knowledge of the plot to bomb the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. During al-Hanooti’s testimony he backed Ali’s silence, telling the court that Islamic law “gives him the right to abstain from giving testimony in case it hurts him or it hurts any other Muslim.”
Feeling the heat from the blind sheik’s terrorism trial, al-Hanooti moved in 1995 to D.C., where he became the imam of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. He found a home there — in a recording made by the Investigative Project on Terrorism of a speech delivered in 1998, he declares that the D.C.-area mosque was the greatest example of “carrying out the Jihad that Allah calls for”:
At the moment, Dar al-Hijrah is the greatest example in sacrifice, execution, and in carrying out the Jihad that Allah calls for. Allah will give us the victory over our tyrannical enemies in our country. Allah, the infidel Americans and British are fighting against you. Allah, the curse of the infidel Americans and British are fighting against you. Allah, the curse of Allah will become true on the infidel Jews and on the tyrannical Americans.
Al-Hanooti served as imam at Dar al-Hijrah until 2000, replaced as imam by al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, spiritual mentor to several of the 9/11 hijackers. The questioning by the FBI of al-Awlaki’s role in the 9/11 terror attacks didn’t stop al-Hanooti from joining al-Awlaki as the religious leaders of a 2002 Hajj tour organized by a travel agency owned by a top U.S. Hamas supporter.
The Washington Free Beacon reported this week that during a 2008 hajj tour to Saudi Arabia paid for by the Muslim American Society (MAS) — an organization identified by federal prosecutors as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America” — Ellison met with a radical Muslim cleric who endorsed killing U.S. soldiers and with the president of a bank used to pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
In July 2012 I reported here at PJ Media on Ellison’s close association with and public support for MAS and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which FBI agents have testified in federal court is a front group for Hamas.
Despite the volume of damaging information, the Anti-Defamation League endorsed Ellison for DNC chair on November 21.
Many asked us about Rep. Ellison. Here’s our thoughts: pic.twitter.com/CuCcwiBTu3
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 23, 2016
But ADL withdrew that endorsement earlier today because of comments that Ellison made at a 2010 event where he complained that Jews controlled U.S. Middle East policy:
ADL out with a statement saying Ellison remarks on Israel are “disqualifying” pic.twitter.com/AUFEpzPnfC
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) December 1, 2016
Other media outlets have noted Ellison’s comments in support of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
Predictably, Ellison has branded criticism of his comments and voluntary associations as part of an anti-Muslim conspiracy.
Ellison: Comments about American deference to Israeli interests ‘taken out of context’ https://t.co/zGYlsfSGkt
— (((Ron Kampeas))) (@kampeas) December 1, 2016
The new DNC chair will be elected at the DNC’s winter meeting February 23-26, 2017.