Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, likes to tout his support for Israel and the “strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” but some of his supporters throwing money at his 2018 re-election campaign are known for having the opposite interest.
Brown has scooped up thousands of dollars in donations from individuals associated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which bills itself as a Muslim “civil rights” organization but has long been linked to Hamas by the U.S. government.
Hamas is listed by the U.S. State Department as a designated foreign terrorist organization for, among other reasons, its repeated call for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian land dispute and its willingness to use violence to achieve that goal.
Brown continues to see donations pour in from CAIR-affiliated men and women, including one Columbus man who no longer lives in the U.S., residing since 2008 in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch database, which tracks Islamist money flowing into U.S. politicians’ pockets, Brown has received nearly $7,000 from such sources in recent years.
One of his more controversial Islamist donors is Ahmad al-Akhras, the former Ohio chapter president for CAIR who has contributed nearly $1,000 to Brown, the majority of it in 2017 and 2018. Al-Akhras is a Jordanian-born U.S. citizen and engineer who, according to his LinkedIn page, now resides in the UAE city of Dubai, where he serves as a top transportation advisor to the Emirate government. In 2008 al-Akhras left his family in Ohio, to work in Dubai but said he would not sell his Columbus home in case he should decide to return.
Al-Akhras’s departure from Ohio in 2008 was celebrated by Patrick Poole of Ohioans Against Terrorism, in an article titled “Ahmad Akhras Set to Flee the Country for Dubai.” Poole said al-Akhras would not be missed in his “longtime cushy government job with the mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.”
Besides Al-Akhras, other top donors on the Islamist Watch radar who have contributed money to Brown’s campaigns are:
- Dr. Ihsan Ul-Haque, a medical doctor and member of the Cleveland CAIR board of directors, donated $3,000
- Jennifer Nimer, legal director for CAIR Ohio and executive director of CAIR Columbus, donated $1,000. Her main practice areas at CAIR are employment discrimination and federal immigration delay litigation.
- Dr. Junaid Malik, a medical doctor and chapter president of CAIR Cincinnati, donated $1,100.
According to the Islamist Watch website, Brown is one of Ohio’s top political recipients of Islamist cash and in the top 25 among politicians nationally who are involved in the 2018 election cycle, said Oren Litwin, who maintains the database for Middle East Forum.
“More generally, just for the 2018 election cycle he is number 23 on the list, not at the top like a Keith Ellison, [D-Minn.] but certainly up there, as we’re tracking over 200 politicians right now,” Litwin told The Ohio Star. “So they’ve been making a serious effort to reach out to him.”
“He hasn’t been much on our radar of being on the forefront of the anti-Israel movement so I’m curious what they are trying to buy.”
Here is what the U.S. Department of Justice had to say about Brown’s buddies at CAIR:
“Moreover, since its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.” [No. 07-4778, USA v. Benkahla, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, p. 58]
CAIR remains an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case, U.S. Department of Justice v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
CAIR co-founder and longtime board chairman Omar Ahmad, as well as its chief spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, have made statements about how Islamic law should be imposed in the U.S. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story.) CAIR chapters frequently distribute pamphlets telling Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. A CAIR operative in 2016 called for the overthrow of the U.S. government.
Yet, not a single member of the mainstream Ohio media has questioned Sen. Brown on why he feels the need to accept money from members of such a notoriously anti-Israel and anti-American organization.
Brown is opposed in the Nov. 6 midterm election by Republican Congressman Jim Renacci, who has accused Brown of “voting 97 percent with Chuck Schumer and almost 95-plus percent with Elizabeth Warren.” That allegation was investigated by Politifact Ohio and rated “mostly true.”
By cuddling with CAIR, Brown is assuring Ohioans those percentages won’t be falling anytime soon.