January 8, 2011 Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
On a late Saturday afternoon on January 8, 2011, by the entrance of the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center various groups gathered to protest this weekend’s conference for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), is prominently featuring Jamal Badawi, an author and lecturer who has advocated domestic violence against women. In his book, Gender Equity in Islam, Badawi states that, if a wife has shown disobedience towards her husband, her husband is permitted to beat her. He calls this a “permissible beating” and says that by taking this action, it can “save the marriage.” Jamal Badawi has had alleged links to terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood Group. ISNA was co-founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader and convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian, and the organization was recently named by the U.S. government a co-conspirator for a federal trial dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.
The prominent group spear heading the protest is Americans Against Hate (AAH), terrorism watchdog group, located in broward County, Florida. AAH Chairman Joe Kaufman, who spoke at the protest, stated, “If we truly have a war on terrorism and if terrorism is not okay, then why would a group like ISNA, which was created by and which supports terrorists, be allowed to exist inside the U.S.? We believe terrorism is not okay, and we therefore believe groups like ISNA should be shut down.” Furthermore he questioned why the County of Broward would allow their tax payer funded convention center to be utilized by people who wish to do harm to Christians and Jews.
There were originally two elected officials in Broward that were listed to speak at the event: 1) Sunrise Commissioner-elect Larry Sofield; 2) Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. However, while their names were removed, another name was added, Florida State Representative Ari Abraham Porth. Representative Porth cancelled at the last minute only after a flood of phone calls from Tea Party groups bombarded his office Friday with information concerning ISNA’s ties to terrorism and anti-Semitism. As such, Representative Porth’s name has been removed from the event program on ISNA’s national website.
There were approximately 50-70 people who attended the protest right at the beginning of the 17th street causeway bridge where many tourists come from cruise ships. There were Tea party supporters, members of Americans Against Hate, bloggers and media types, and a conservative African-American group called the Boss Brothers headed up by Michael Warns (http://www.michaelwarns.com). The cars driving by the event showed their support by blowing their car horns and shouting out phrases like “God Bless You,” or “Keep up the good work!” The question left unanswered is why the Broward County Government allowed terrorist linked groups access to their jewel convention center. For more information on Joe Kaufman and his organization you can visit his web site at: http://www.americansagainsthate.org/