As the nation remembers the nearly 3,000 Americans killed by Islamic terrorists 17 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is promoting two events this month in Ohio meant to portray Islam as a “religion of peace.”
CAIR-Ohio will launch its “Teatime for Peace” interfaith dialogue on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Brecksville United Church of Christ in Brecksville and the second annual “Muslim Day at the State Capitol” on Sept. 25 in Columbus.
One of the main drivers behind both Ohio events is a man named Isam Zaiem, a Syrian-born activist in Westlake, Ohio, who co-founded CAIR-Cleveland and has strong ties to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Nevermind that CAIR has documented ties to Hamas, a militant group designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, as spelled out in U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a terror-funding case prosecuted by the FBI in 2007-08.
According to a Nov. 15, 2017 article in the American Spectator a similar interfaith event was supposed to occur last year before it was abruptly canceled due to its connections with Zaiem, whose background includes ties to radical imams and other unsavory characters.
According to the Spectator article, an event titled “Know Your Muslim Neighbor” featuring Zaiem was suddenly scrapped last year without explanation, prompting the CAIR-Cleveland mainstay to deplore the cancellation as ‘pressure from bigots who think that freedom of speech does not apply to me as well!!!'”
Yet, as the Spectator points out, opposing Zaiem does not require bigotry.
Zaiem uses his right to free speech in indefensible ways — for example, defending Islamists who try to murder police officers. When Eren Beyah shot at construction workers renovating a church near his home, a police standoff followed. Beyah fired on officers several times, and after numerous attempts to end the confrontation through non-lethal force, police entered the residence and fatally shot him. Zaiem responded by condemning the Cleveland police and demanding ‘a thorough and impartial investigation into Police tactics in this matter.'”
In 2016, Zaiem posted a tweet calling on President Barack Obama to “issue a medical parole” for Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), a black-nationalist racist with a history of terrorism, inciting riots and cop-killing. Al-Amin was jailed in 2000 for murdering a police officer who was serving a warrant for his arrest.
So this year Zaiem is again rolling out his deceptive interfaith dialogue under the title “Teatime for Peace” and he has incessantly promoted the event on his Facebook page as an invitation to “get to know your Muslim neighbor.” A link to the event’s promotional site says the goal is to “Break through the stereotypes and build bridges of faith by focusing on our similarities and celebrating our differences.”
Bridges of faith?
While nobody would suggest that Christians and Muslims should not try to get along, they would be hard-pressed to make “similarities” of faith the basis of their friendship.
Islam teaches that Allah is not a father and did not have a son. Jesus Christ was merely a prophet, and an inferior one to Muhammad at that. He did not die on a Roman cross, nor did he rise from the dead, nor does he have the power to forgive sin. That covers 100 percent of what makes up essential Christianity – all rejected as blasphemy by Islam. Perhaps Christians will find something different about Islam worth celebrating, maybe their fine Middle-Eastern cuisine and spirit of hospitality, but it’s unlikely to center on issues of faith and doctrine.
Meanwhile, “Muslim Day at the State Capitol” on Sept. 25 will consist of Muslims learning to lobby state lawmakers for racial justice, more gun control and less profiling by law enforcement in anti-terror investigations.
CAIR will be granted a prime stage at the Ohio Capitol despite its ties to anti-American, anti-Israel extremism, including the terrorist group Hamas.
According to EventBrite.com, attendees of Muslim Day will receive lobbyist training, education on CAIR’s perspective on the issues, and then an opportunity to meet with legislators.
The registration fee of $35 includes lunch, training and all materials.
“We will be advocating for racial justice, economic justice, and gun safety reform,” CAIR says on the site.
Again, one of the main drivers of this event is Zaiem. Last year, he offered on his Facebook page to pay for the tickets and transportation to Muslim Day at the Capitol for 10 young activists seeking training on how to influence Ohio legislators for the benefit of Islam. Zaiem wrote:
“Just bought my ticket. I will drive to Columbus offering FREE ride for 4 more people, particularly the next generation of young people who want to see how we, as ordinary citizens, can participate in interacting with the policy makers and inform them of the policies that effect our daily lives. Please join me, learn and have fun as well. I will purchase tickets for the first 10 young activists. Any takers?? Just call me 216-337-7928.”
Attendees of the 2018 Muslim Day will be advocating for the passage of the following bills:
- Senate Bill 84 – “Prevent Biased Policing and Status Profiling”
- House Bill 616 – “Prohibit Arrest and Citation Quotas”
- House Bill 576/SB 277 – “Increase State Minimum Wage to $15 by 2025”
- House Bill 585/SB 288 – “Revise Firearms Control Laws”
CAIR says it will be opposing House Bill 228/SB 180 regarding “Self-Defense and Handling Firearms,” a bill that provides a “Stand-Your-Ground” provision for people defending themselves from violent attackers.
Under current law, Ohioans have the duty to retreat before using lethal force to defend themselves from an attacker – and CAIR wants it to stay that way.
Sherrod to the rescue
And what does Sherrod Brown have to do with all this?
At last year’s inaugural “Muslim Day” at the Capitol in Columbus, on Oct. 31, the CAIR-Ohio delegation made sure to consult with Brown.
The Spectator reports:
“The senior Ohio senator is a longtime ally of CAIR. At a 2011 banquet hosted by the Islamist group, Brown offered a congratulatory written statement that both Brown’s office and CAIR refused to publicize despite multiple formal requests to see the remarks.
“In 2010, Zaiem donated $500 to Brown, which has no doubt encouraged the senator’s apologias for Ohio Islamist groups such as CAIR. Like his CAIR associates, Brown is keen to obfuscate the link between terrorism and radical Islam. After Brown rebuked Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) from the Senate floor for arguing that the U.S. is ‘at war with militant Islam,’ Sasse responded by asking his critic if ‘there is any connection between our enemy and Islam?’ Brown punted. ‘I guess — I don’t know — I’m not here to debate this,’ he answered. ‘I don’t know exactly what that means, ‘a connection between our enemy and Islam.'”
Last month, The Ohio Star reported on the money flow from CAIR-affiliated men and women to Brown’s re-election coffers.
According to the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch database, which tracks Islamist money flowing into U.S. politicians’ campaigns, Brown has received nearly $7,000 from such individuals in recent years.
Whenever CAIR, whose leaders repeatedly refuse to denounce Hamas, needs protection from people in power, it knows it has a reliable ally in Brown.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.