Radical Muslim political advocacy organizations are celebrating the election of 62 Muslim Americans who won races at all levels of government, from local school boards to the U.S. House of Representatives. Their victories mark another banner year for Islamist groups that seek to train, fund, and elect their favored politicians.
Among these winners are a handful of Islamist politicians who espouse radical views and associate with extremist groups. Many of these newly elected officials belong to the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, but others have even more troubling resumés, leading Islamist student movements and nonprofits or owing their political fortunes to Islamist underwriters.
On November 3, several states elected Islamist lawmakers affiliated with disreputable anti-Semitic organizations. Chief among these is Democrat Ako Abdul-Samad, who was reelected to the Iowa state legislature’s 35th district. Since 2015, State Rep. Abdul-Samad has been the chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), a controversial political action group whose leaders have promoted violence against Israel.
“The statements that are attributed to the organization and some of its members are offensive and outrageous,” Hillary Clinton said in 2000 after returning a $50,000 political donation to AMA.
Although Samad claims to be the “new face” of AMA, he has already taken legislative action reflecting his group’s anti-Jewish agenda. In March, he opposed an Iowa House bill to combat the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes, despite the state legislator’s persistent attempts to educate the public about “Islamophobia.”
Nida Allam, winner of the Durham County Commissioner race in North Carolina, apparently believes that local government should concern itself with matters of foreign policy — at least when it comes to Israel. As a political activist in 2018, she successfully lobbied the Durham City Council to pass a resolution prohibiting local police training with Israel, a measure relying on the distorted theory that these infrequent joint training sessions are responsible for police brutality in America.
“Local government should focus on paving roads, not Israel,” a Durham public official told Voice4Israel in response to the resolution.
Allam has repeated anti-Semitic tropes predicated on conspiracies about Jewish world domination. “This is the United States of Israel,” she tweeted in June 2018 after the Trump administration froze aid to the Palestinian Authority over concerns that it was incentivizing terrorism.
Other recent winners maintain similar connections. State Rep.-elect Iman Jodeh of Aurora, Colorado, serves as the spokeswoman for the Colorado Muslim Society, a Denver mosque that banned women from attending worship services during a coronavirus shutdown. In Delaware, State Rep.-elect Madinah Wilson-Anton’s resumé includes senior leadership positions with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a campus club that uses violence and intimidation to harass Jewish students and further the Palestinian agenda, and the Muslim Student Association (MSA), a university-based nonprofit founded to serve as a recruiting pipeline to the pan-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood.
Jodeh and Wilson-Anton did not wait to be officially sworn into office before associating with anti-Semitic hate groups. Shortly after securing election victories, both legislators were listed as guest speakers at American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) annual convention. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for anti-Semitism.”
Islamists often take for granted that their elected leaders will support a pro-Palestinian agenda, but at least one freshman state congressman has rejected this premise. Indiana State Sen.-elect Fady Qaddoura, a Palestinian American who is by all accounts a pious and observant Muslim, believes in a two-state solution and has denounced the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
“I personally never was, never will be, a member of the BDS movement, never supported it personally,” he told the Jewish Insider. “I will not be supportive of any law that basically allows or attacks, in any shape, way or form, the state of Israel.”
Unfortunately, Qaddoura’s benevolence appears to be lacking from other recently elected officials. Michigan State Rep.-elect Abraham Aiyash is cut from the same cloth as Madinah-Anton, having served as president of Michigan State University’s MSA chapter, although his acquaintance with extremists doesn’t end there.
Aiyash received help in his bid to win legislative control over the Muslim-majority city of Hamtramck. The Muslim political advocacy group Emgage USA credits Aiyash’s victory to its outreach efforts in Michigan after it organized 67,000 text messages, 17,000 phone calls, and 6,000 “mailers” on his behalf. Emgage was co-founded by an attorney known for representing some of the most notorious terrorists in U.S. history, and it often holds its candidate forums at extremist mosques.
Aiyash kicked off his campaign with an April Facebook live rally featuring prominent local Islamists such as Hamtramck NAACP President Asm Kamal Rahman, who was called on to resign from the NAACP and the Michigan Coalition of Human Rights for making anti-LGBT statements.
Rahman opposed a bill to protect LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination. “It could be animal, it could be children,” Rahman said, voicing concerns that the law would promote bestiality and pedophilia. “Not just man-to-man, but man-to-animal… I know it sounds crude, but this is the fact. ”
In November 2017, Aiyash tweeted his support for another extremist friend, telling Mika’il Stewart Saadiq that “we love you.” Saadiq spent 10 years under the tutelage of the late Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a black Muslim separatist killed in a 2009 shootout with FBI agents. Abdullah’s group sought to overthrow the U.S. government and replace it with an Islamic state. Moreover, Saadiq is “unapologetically supportive” of Islamist cop killer Jamil Al-Amin.
After running unopposed for New York’s 36th Assembly District in Astoria, Zohran Mamdani promised to “build a socialist New York.” Mamdani is the co-founder of an SJP chapter at Fordham University that was shuttered in 2016 after hosting militant anti-Semites and intimidating pro-Israel students.
In August, Mamdani participated in a Times Square protest opposing the construction of a Hindu temple over the site of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya, India. Friends With Kashmir, an anti-Indian protest group known to praise violent Islamists and advocate for the release of terrorist prisoners, was among the extremist South Asian agitators in attendance. He referred to the demonstration as “a fight against fascism.”
Mamdani isn’t the only soon-to-be state legislator associated with South Asian extremists. Mauree Turner, the nation’s first non-binary state legislator and Oklahoma’s first Muslim lawmaker, belongs to a mosque that features a clinic run by the Islamic Circle of North America, the unofficial U.S. branch of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist revolutionary movement responsible for war crimes in Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence.
She is also a board member at the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood legacy group that the United Arab Emirates designated in 2014 as a terrorist entity. At least seven CAIR board members have been detained or convicted for terrorism-related offenses.
Understanding the importance of local politics, Islamists are graduating from radical campus clubs to local seats of power, forging bonds along the way with anti-Jewish provocateurs, Kashmiri separatists, and black identity extremists. Despite the limits of local governance, their ambitions go far beyond filling potholes and promising fair wages, to promoting divisive foreign policy issues and privileging Islam above other faiths. Instead of celebrating the “first-ever” election of certain ethnic and religious minorities, Americans should prepare to experience the rigid illiberalism of municipal Islamization.
Benjamin Baird is the director of Islamism in Politics, a project of the Middle East Forum.