Univ. of South Florida and “Hamas On Campus”
Group claims pro-Palestinian students in US tied to terror
Clip produced by advocacy group Hamas On Campus purports to show growing Islamist influence in universities
From: The Times of Israel, October 5, 2014
A new YouTube video is targeting two of the most vocal pro-Palestinian student bodies active on US campuses, attempting to expose the alleged ties between the groups and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to out several of the organizations’ leading members as supporters and initiators of terrorist activities across the globe.
In the video, which was produced by the advocacy group Hamas On Campus, the narrator claims the Muslim Brotherhood has been bankrolling student bodies and effectively using them as proxies in order to spread a message of radical Islam throughout American universities. The video then highlights the Gaza-based terror organization Hamas’s connection to the Brotherhood.
The narrator goes on to assert that the Muslim Students Association and the Students for Justice in Palestine organization have served as hotbeds for potential terrorists, citing several former members of the student bodies who had gone on to join and establish terror groups in the Middle East.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: We recently posted a story about a Students for Justice in Palestine event, “The Hidden Genocide: The Story of Palestine. A Banquet.” scheduled for September 2014 at the University of South Florida (USF). It was to feature motivational speaker Monzer Taleb, a former Hamas fundraiser who had sung with a band** called Al Sakhra (“The Rock”).
It appears the The Story of Palestine USF event was cancelled but promotional material indicated the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Muslim Connection (TMC), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of South Florida and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) were the sponsors. The participation of these groups seems to validate the Hamas on Campus contention that the Muslim Brotherhood is,” bankrolling student bodies and effectively using them as proxies“.
The Muslim Connection (TMC) is a local Islamist group based in Tampa Florida. According to it’s corporate filing, TMC focuses on “bring youth closer to Allah”. It is affiliated with the Islamic Community of Tampa-Masjid Al-Qassam (ICT). The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports:
Al-Qassam mosque was incorporated by Sami Al-Arian in 1992 under the name “The Islamic Community of Tampa, Inc.” Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Federal investigators say that, at the time, Al-Arian was the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
An initial member of the Board of Trustees of Al-Qassam Mosque, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, has been the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Syria since 1995. In addition, Al-Arian’s brother-in-law Mazen Al-Najjar was a founding board member and served as mosque imam until 2001. Al-Najjar appears on the Islamic Community of Tampa’s annual reports up until 2001, when he was arrested by the INS for a visa violation. Al-Najjar was deported by the U.S. in 2002 for staying in the U.S. after his student visa lapsed. In addition, he served on the PIJ’s Shura Council, or governing board, and was indicted along with Al-Arian for providing material support to the PIJ. Since he was deported, Al-Najjar never stood trial on those charges.
Sami Al-Arian was a former tenured USF computer science professor.
One of the current directors of the Islamic Community of Tampa is Osama Kayali. Kayali is listed a business associate with several businesses of the Elkadi family. Former Muslim Brotherhood leader, Ahmed Elkadi was based in Panama City, FL during the 1980s – 90s. He later moved to Northern Virginia then to Tampa, where he died in 2009.
**The Investigative Project on Terrorism has a copy of one of the band’s performances (with a transcript) calling for death to Jews. Taleb is featured singing “I am Hamas” on a second video, around the 3:47 mark. In a 2006 Weekly Standard article, “HAMAS Rock Stars,” Dallas-based investigative reporter Todd Bensman described the band as follows:
It wasn’t exactly feel-good music in the conventional sense. Mufid’s Al Sakhra (“The Rock”) band crooned a gospel of death and hatred toward the Jews at Hamas fundraisers, while the collection plates moved through wildly enthusiastic Arab-American audiences.