This article originally appeared in the Illinois Review under the title, “Linda Sarsour and Others Push Anti-semitism, Conspiracy Theories at Chicago Palestinian Convention.“
The former “Women’s March” leader who once called for a “jihad” against Donald Trump is back in the news, following leaked video of her diatribe against Israel as a “Jewish Supremacist” state. Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian American activist and Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate claimed that “Israel was built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.” Sarsour was speaking before a crowd at the annual Palestine Convention of the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), held in Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Nor was Sarsour the only anti-Semitic speaker. Rather the entire event was dominated by Anti-Semitic diatribes, conspiracy theories, and distortions of Israeli history, all taking place while AMP security aggressively denied access to anyone attempting to accurately report on what was said.
Joining Sarsour at the AMP convention was Nihad Awad, co-founder of Council on the American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) spoke about a Western conspiracy where the “transnational Zionist movement” and neoconservatives use Islamophobia as a “funnel” to “spread misinformation,” and propaganda, using “sophisticated networks.”
According to audio of the Awad’s presentation, captured by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Awad claimed “For me, at CAIR, as the executive director of CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we deal with racism, Islamophobia and Zionism on [a] daily basis.”
Awad has led CAIR since its founding in 1994 at a meeting of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee in Philadelphia. According to evidence submitted by the U.S. Government at trial, CAIR leaders were linked to Hamas.
While CAIR claims that it is an advocacy and civil rights organization, the IPT article puts it differently: “The conspiracy was to support Hamas in its efforts to destroy Israel. In saying CAIR deals with Zionism daily, Awad puts that assertion in a new light.”
Other speakers at the AMP conference painted the Israeli-Arab struggle in a religious dimension, which polarizes Arabs and Muslims against Israel and Jews.
Sheikh Aly Hassan, the imam of Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America (MECCA) near Chicago told audiences: “Jerusalem is the station of Israa and Miraj [Muhammad’s night journey to Heaven], and the place where hundreds of prophets are buried. It’s a place where angels descended, and Al Aqsa (Al Aqsa Mosque) is the only place where all prophets prayed,” adding: “Palestine is a theology that we need to talk about and teach to our children, to Arab and non-Arab Muslims (…).”
As previously reported in the American Thinker, the MECCA mosque says its goals are “to guide young Muslims” and “build bridges of understanding with other cultures and faiths,” yet displays “a willingness to promote hate preachers and anti-Semitic demagogues…” Several leaders affiliated with the mosque have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, on the topic of Islamization of Jerusalem, Dr. Abdullah Maarouf, a Palestinian professor with a history of antisemitism spoke extensively at the convention. In a follow up interview for Facebook by Sheikh Kifah Mustapha, who was linked to the Holy Land Foundation effort to support Hamas and known for extremist positions, asked Marouf to “enlighten” the young Muslim generations with his Islamist “insights.”
Maarouf tells Mustafa that, according to Islamic tradition, Solomon was not the first “prophet” to designate the Temple Mount as a place of worship; but “the first was Adam.” The Palestinian professor emphasized that Adam had built the Kaaba (in Mecca), then built al Masjid al Aqsa, thousands of years before Solomon.
Marouf concludes that the [Islamic historical] narrative is “linked to religious rights” and that “the place does not legitimately belong to the power that occupies Palestine today.”
Mustapha commends Maarouf for his insights and asks him to provide audio-visual resources on that topic to the young Muslim generations who do not know anything about the history of Jerusalem, except what they learn in Western schools and colleges.
Such views deliberately shift the Israeli- Arab struggle from a political issue to an existential struggle that cannot be solved unless Israel is annihilated.
Ironically, while happy to post such positions on social media in Arabic, AMP seeks to tightly regulate what is reported about them in English, unsurprising given the tendency of AMP’s conventions to devolve into obscure Islamist theorizing and antisemitic screeds. AMP routinely seek to deny access to reporters and researchers who do not subscribe to their ideology.
Samantha Mandeles, researcher and reporter for Legal Insurrection was escorted out and harassed by AMP security guards at this year’s AMP convention. Last year, Salah Sarsour, AMP’’s chairman with a history of Hamas ties personally removed this author from the conference after recognizing him as a writer on Islamist issues.
This glimpse of the Anti-Semitic discourse, conspiracy theories, claims of victimhood, identity culture, the distorted Islamization of Jerusalem’s history, and the promotion of un-American values show how detrimental AMP and its ilk are to an American Muslim community seeking to integrate into the larger American landscape. Given their efforts to avoid objective reporting, its clear that the Islamists recognize how discrediting their efforts to stoke hate and perpetuate bitterness appear in the eyes of every day Americans. That’s why it remains more important than effort to expose these hate rallies wherever they take place.
Hesham Shehab is the Chicago Associate of the Counter Islamist Grid (CIG).