When Sadia Gul Covert was elected in 2018 and sworn into the office of Dupage County commissioner, she took her oath on the “Quran, Torah, and the Bible,” in what seemed at the time like a symbol of unity and moderation.
But Covert’s decision to cast her lot with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) raises questions about the extent of her moderation.
Covert will be a speaker at the CAIR-Chicago 2020 Banquet fundraiser in February, among other Islamist speakers.
CAIR was connected to the terrorist organization Hamas during the terror-financing trial against the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).
According to the Justice Department report published in 2009, “HLF became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas.”
In 2010, former assistant attorney general Ronald Weich sent a letter to four members of Congress in which he “included trial transcripts and exhibits” “which demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders, and the Palestine Committee.”
In addition, Mrs. Covert is board member of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition that includes in its steering board Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of CAIR-Chicago, and Dr. Dilara Sayeed as board president. Sayeed had failed in her bid for the Illinois House of Representatives, District 5, in 2018. CAIR-Chicago named Sayeed as a Trailblazer and gave her the “honor” of speaking at CAIR-Chicago’s 15th Annual Banquet in 2019. According to report in the Chicago Crusader, Sayeed, who “ran a campaign on integrity and transparency, hoping to connect to disillusioned Black voters in district 5,” paid $10,000 to an editor in the Chicago Defender in 2017 and caused the journalist to lose her job.
Fundraising for CAIR alongside Covert will be the Orland Park Prayer Center (OPPC)’s Imam Kifah Mustapha, who has a history of supporting violent anti-Semitism. In 2015, Mustapha was caught supporting the “stabbing intifada” against Israelis on Facebook, writing, “An uprising in the blessed land will reflect blessings on all the Arab revolutions, God willing.”
In one of the videos used as evidence during the HLF trial, Mustapha chants in Arabic:
“O mother, Hamas for Jihad. Over mosques’ loudspeakers, with freedom. Every day it resists with stones and the dagger. Tomorrow, with God’s help, it will be with a machine gun and a rifle.”
Covert is not the only local government official who will be promoting CAIR. Two Virginia politicians, Virginia state delegate Dr. Ibraheem Samirah and Fairfax County school board member Abrar Omeish, will also be speaking. Both have documented ties to Islamist groups.
Samirah is a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, who has a history of anti-Semitism and supports the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement. In one of his social media posts, Samira said that “sending [U.S.] money to Israel is worse than the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).”
The elder Samirah “was a board member and Chairman of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which also conducted its activities as the American Muslim Society (AMS) … [and] according to court records and terrorism experts, the IAP provided both propaganda and fundraising services to Hamas,” according to a website set up by Virginia activists critical of Samirah’s Islamist ties.
In the case of Samirah Junior, the apple did not fall far from the tree. The Virginia delegate expressed the same Islamist position of his father in a Facebook post:
My father is my role model. I can only dream of living up to the moral standards he exemplifies. I pray that I make him proud, as always I pray that I quickly find full stability and raise my future son, Sabri, to be like him and better. I would not have dedicated myself to the Palestinian human rights’ cause without him. I am forever grateful to all he has given me.
The other Virginia Islamist fundraising for CAIR-Chicago is Abrar Omeish, who served as the M.C. for a memorial event for Jamal Khashoggi, the late Washington Post columnist with ties to Islamist groups who was killed in 2019 by Saudi agents in Turkey.
Omeish’s father is Dr. Esam Omeish, a former president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), another Brotherhood affiliate and organization that supports Hamas. Dr. Omeish had been identified as having ties to terrorism by a security committee of the Libyan government. The Clarion Project reported that Ms. Omeish, In 2014, led a campaign to silence Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born American feminist who was the victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia and now advocates for women’s and children’s rights.
Covert’s, Samirah’s, and Omeish’s presence at the CAIR-Chicago fundraiser is a reflection of the growing importance Islamists are placing on local politics. While CAIR has faced scrutiny for its efforts to woo federal legislators, local media rarely identify local politicians for their relationships with an extremist group.
Hesham Shehab is the Chicago associate of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG).