Izhar Khan, Imam of the radical Margate, Florida-based Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), is out as Ameer (President) of the South Florida Muslim Federation’s (SFMF) Council of Imams. Earlier this month, the group elected Abdul Hamid Samra, the Imam of the Islamic Center of Greater Miami (ICGM), to replace Khan, the Federation’s first Ameer. Whatever the reason for the group not continuing with Khan as its head, the fact that someone like Khan would be able to serve in such a position, while being linked to terrorist financing and a mosque that promotes bigotry and violence, is a direct reflection on SFMF, itself.
In May 2011, Khan was arrested and spent 20 months in a federal detention center for his alleged participation in a scheme to ship $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban to be used to kill US troops. The indictment against him said he worked with members of his family to “collect and deliver” funds to the terror group, “knowing and intending that they be used in preparation for and in carrying out… a conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country.” While the first judge in the case said the evidence against Khan was “compelling,” a later judge released Khan from custody, citing lack of evidence. Khan’s father, Hafiz, would be convicted.
Since before his arrest, Khan has been serving as the imam of MJAM. Today, MJAM’s website contains an online library that can only be described as wall-to-wall intolerance and brutality. Within this library, one finds material denigrating Jews, Christians, and Hindus, sanctioning domestic violence against women, glorifying female genital mutilation, encouraging jihad (holy war), and mandating death punishments for gays. One MJAM text, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, states “Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them.”
The Imams election was held at a restaurant and was attended by a dozen local Muslim religious and community leaders, including SFMF President Samir Kakli, who in October 2020, called for the release from prison of Hamas fundraisers affiliated with the terrorist charity, Holy Land Foundation (HLF). One of the imams participating at the election meeting was Shafayat Mohamed, the founder and Imam of the Darul Uloom Institute (DUI), a past haven for high-profile al-Qaeda operatives. Mohamed has been thrown off numerous community boards for his hate-filled talks against homosexuals.
Interestingly, Khan was absent from this month’s election proceedings. This was in stark contrast to the previous month when he led a panel discussion on health for the Imams Council. A photo from the panel discussion depicts Khan arm-in-arm with Kakli, as other imams also stand and pose next to Khan. Not long ago, Khan, Kakli and other Federation imams enjoyed wakeboarding excursions together. No doubt, these South Florida Muslim leaders embrace Khan.
The leaders’ acceptance of Khan is hardly surprising given the composition of the Muslim Federation, as it is little more than an umbrella organization for the majority of South Florida’s extremist Muslim institutions. This includes Islamist groups related to terrorism, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and Islamic Relief (IR). All of the imams from the Federation’s Council of Imams represent radical mosques.
Prior to Kakli taking over as President of the Federation, SFMF was led by Nezar Hamze, an ex-official for the Hamas-linked CAIR. SFMF’s social media was being conducted by Abdurahman al-Ghani, who used Facebook to refer to Jews as “the children of Satan”; the US as the “World’s Number One Terrorist Organization”; and gay Muslims as “stone cold kaffirs outside the fold of Islam.” Al-Ghani encouraged his followers to violently “wipe out the CIA.” In September 2012, he promoted a graphic from dead al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki with the message, “Allah is preparing us for victory.” In November 2012, he posted, “We love u Hamas. U are the real hero.”
The South Florida Muslim Federation named Izhar Khan as the President of its Council of Imams not ignoring Khan’s fanatical background, but welcoming and appreciating it. And just because Khan is no longer the head of the Council, does not mean that anything will change.
In fact, Khan’s replacement, Abdul Hamid Samra, has his own extremist resume. In March 2018, Samra, who also serves as a Muslim Chaplain at the University of Miami, was the Conference Chairman for a Miami conference organized by the Muslim Brotherhood-related Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Indeed, Samra’s ICGM mosque, a.k.a. Muslim Communities Association of South Florida (MCA), is affiliated with ISNA. Furthermore, the mosque property is owned by ISNA’s asset holder, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).
ISNA was co-founded by former Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian. Al-Arian created a Tampa-area PIJ network and was convicted of providing material support to PIJ. A December 1987 declassified FBI memo about NAIT leadership states that there is evidence for “their support of JIHAD (a holy war) in the U.S.” Both ISNA and NAIT were named co-conspirators by the US Justice Department for the Hamas financing trials prosecuting leaders of the Holy Land Foundation terrorist charity. When HLF was established in 1987 as the “Occupied Land Fund,” it used ISNA’s official mailing address as its own.
As well, the two imams, Samra and Khan, are close with one another. The two have participated in events together, and in December 2017, Khan was honored by ICGM at its ‘A Light for Humanity’ celebration, where Khan sat facing the congregation along with Samra and fellow ICGM imam, Roshan Ali.
The South Florida Muslim Federation will continue to be the radical institution it always has been, and its Council of Imams will do the same. The only action that will ever deter these entities is if the government and the American public wake up, see these groups for the threats they pose to national security, and shut them down.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.