Memorial Day weekend with Omar & Ellison

The category of vile Democrats is a large one and the competition for most vile is stiff. As a Minnesotan, I would nominate Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison for the honor.

I have been writing about them for about as long as they have been running for office — since 2016 in Omar’s case, since 2006 in Ellison’s case (running for Congress, Ellison was a state senator at the time I tuned in). I think I am something of an expert on both of them, but most of all I am an expert on what it feels like to beat your head against the wall for years at a time.

Now comes Dexter Van Zile, the managing editor of Focus on Western Islam, to report:

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison are scheduled to attend a conference in Baltimore this weekend featuring talks by Islamists who have declared Western society to be “filth,” sanctioned sex slavery, called on Muslims to hate homosexuals and to support jihad in countries throughout the world.

The two Minnesota Democrats are slated to speak at a convention taking place over Memorial Day Weekend organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). ICNA is a franchise of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a radical, theocratic group that has supported terrorism in South Asia. One of JI’s prominent leaders, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was convicted and executed for his role in the mass murder of civilians during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence.

MAS was founded in the early 1990s by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization committed to promoting sharia law in the Middle East and Western democracies.

Van Zile has more at the link. As Andrew McCarthy explains in his valuable 2010 book, the MAS is engaged in The Grand Jihad. Looking into the MAS here for the Weekly Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross “found that MAS–except in its most public of statements–is quite open about its agenda and allegiances.” Its agenda is the Islamization of the United States and its allegiance is to the Muslim Brotherhood.

I want to take a brief detour on the local angle. Ten years after the founding of the Muslim American Society, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota was incorporated as an affiliate. The MAS-MN puts it this way: “[A] number of activists of the Islamic movement launched the [MAS] in 1992 [sic] to complement the work that has been accomplished in the last four decades and to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has posted a useful account of the MAS here. The MAS-MN’s use of the term “activists” in its canned history is illustrative of the MAS approach to public relations for an American audience.

Minnesota of course has its own growing core of “activists.” The MAS-MN puts it this way: “In Minnesota, Islamic activists began gathering in 2001 to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century. In 2003 the [MAS-MN] was incorporated as an affiliate of Muslim American Society.”

Readers with a long memory may recall the now shuttered Islamic charter (i.e., public) school known as the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in suburban St. Paul. Based on the reporting of then Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten (now a senior policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment), the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit against TiZA for operating a religious school with public funds.

TiZA had been founded by a pair of imams who doubled as top leaders of MAS-MN. One of them served as principal of the school and proved himself to be a voluble liar in conventional Western terms. Let me emphasize the point: TiZA took taxpayers’ money on false pretenses. The MAS-MN executive director was the ringleader of the now shuttered TiZA operation. To say the least, he is a publicly compromised character. The former TiZA principal serves as the MAS-MN’s executive director.

Andrew McCarthy’s initial exposure to the phenomena came as the lead prosecutor of the Blind Sheikh for the World Trade Center bombing. He covered that story in Willful Blindness (2009). Van Zile includes this note bearing on McCarthy’s prosecutorial work:

The convention is also giving a platform to Siraj Wahhaj, the well-known radical imam of At-Taqwa Mosque in New York City. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wahhaj allowed Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, to speak at his mosque prior to the attack. Wahhaj testified in Abdel-Rahman’s defense during the trial, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Wahhaj described the sheikh as a “strong preacher of Islam.”

Van Zile concludes his current report:

Ellison and Omar’s scheduled appearance at the ICNA-MAS convention in Baltimore will not be the first time prominent Minnesota politicians have legitimized Islamist-organized events with their presence. In early March 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz attended an online “Muslim Day at the Capitol” organized by the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-MN). Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman also attended the online event.

Neither Ellison nor Omar responded to email and phone queries about their planned appearance at the convention.

It’s a perfect way for Ellison and Omar to spend this Memorial Day Weekend.

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