Around 1,000 Jews and Christians gathered on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 for a mid-day rally to support the nation of Israel outside Metra’s Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center, the office complex of the Israeli Consulate at 500 W. Madison in downtown Chicago. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the first U.S. Muslim Brotherhood political party, joined in solidarity with approximately 200 pro-Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS supporters in a counter demonstration at a time of increasing tensions between Muslims and Jews in the Chicago metropolitan area.
As reported on its Facebook event page, the anti-Israel event Stand with Gaza: Protest Zionism in Chicago! held on the 22nd of July was hosted through the US Palestinian Community Network,and convened by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine members in the Chicago metropolitan area. The event included participation by the following organizations: American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Islamic Center, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, Mosque Foundation, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-Chicago, andUnited States Palestinian Community Network.
A highly visible law enforcement presence that included the Chicago Police Department (CPD), CPD SWAT Team, and US DHS police closely guarded the perimeters of the rally to prevent any escalation of violence, as Israel’s Operation Protective Edge entered its 15th day destroying HAMAS tunnels in the face of stiff opposition from Palestinian fighters, who continued to lob rockets and missiles into Israel.
As confirmed by CPD News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada in a report from the Chicago Tribune on 20 July, half a dozen cars in Chicago were targeted with anti-Jewish leaflets. These antisemitic incidents are now under investigation by the CPD Hate Crime unit. The anti-Jewish leaflets explicitly threatened violence against Jews in Chicago if Israel did not cease its military operations in Gaza.
The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations was represented at the anti-Israel event in Chicago notably by the USCMO Secretary General Ousama Jammal’s Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, where he is currently Vice President. Another USCMO member group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), co-founded and chaired by Dr. Hatem Bazian (also the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine), showed up as well, carrying AMP posters and signs.
Member participation from the USCMO at the “Stand with Gaza: Protest Zionism in Chicago!” event marks its first public demonstration in solidarity with HAMAS, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Covenant commits HAMAS to the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. The USCMO only recently concluded its inaugural banquet together with senior Muslim Brotherhood leadership in June 2014 at a Washington, D.C. venue. Jammal’s Mosque Foundation features a troubled history of individuals associated with Muslim Brotherhood front organizations openly supporting HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Jamal Said, current sheikh at the Mosque Foundation, was listed by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial. Several years ago, Said hailed “activists and freedom fighters who gave up their personal ambitions and their own lives so our cause may live.
In a deposition for Boim vs. Quranic Literacy Institute, Kifah Mustapha, current sheikh at the Mosque Foundation and active fundraiser for Muslim Brotherhood organizations, was identified as a “registered agent for HLF in Illinois” who raised money for the HLF from the mid-1990s until 2001 when HLF’s assets were frozen. Mustapha also served on a Volunteer Committee for the now defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a support arm for HAMAS.
Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP Chairman and frequent guest speaker at Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America Muslim Brotherhood conventions, has openly called for an intifada in the United States. Bazian once stated: “We’re sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.” He added: ‘They’re gonna say, ‘some Palestinian being too radical’ — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!” At least two current AMP board members, Osama Abuirshaid and Salah Sarsour, have ties to HLF.
Law enforcement documents confirm that Salah Sarsour helped raise money for HAMAS and formerly worked for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). AMP’s Osama Abu Irshaid was an editor of the Arabic newspaper Al-Zaytounah published by IAP. Chicago Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys ruled in December 2004 that IAP (and Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, or HLF), was liable for a $156 million lawsuit for having aided and abetted HAMAS in the West Bank in the killing of David Boim, a 17-year-old American citizen. Thereafter, the U.S. government froze IAP’s assets and shut it down on the grounds that it was funding terrorism.
The AMP is also known for its Islamic anti-Semitism campaign advertisements on mass transportation across the country. Notwithstanding, members of Students for Justice in Palestine, co-founded by Bazian, have terrorized Jewish students with acts of antisemitism on collegiate campuses, while attempting to suppress individuals with pro-Israel views. SJP has used its connection with AMP to work more closely to further the goals of HAMAS, and is known for its nationally-coordinated Israel Apartheid Week.
Throughout the course of the anti-Israel counter demonstration on July 22 in Chicago at the southeast corner of Madison and Canal, common themes fomenting anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, and anti-Zionist sentiment were evident among the crowd. The following chants were continuously repeated by the pro-Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS supporters:
- “Israel, Israel, you cannot hide, we charge you with apartheid.”
- “Netanyahu, you cannot hide, we charge you with genocide.”
- “Hey Israel, we can see, you are no democracy.”
- “Hey Israel, what do you say, how many kids did you kill today?”
- “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the occupation has got to go.”
- “Free, free, Palestine, killing children is a crime.”
- “We want justice, you saw how? End the siege of Gaza now.”
As Jews and Christians gathered peacefully in Chicago to support America’s beleaguered ally Israel, the counter-demonstration of pro-Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS supporters screaming hate-filled invective posed a harsh counterpoint to their quiet prayers and songs.
Since Operation Protective Edge began on 8 July 2014, HAMAS terrorists have fired well over 2,100 rockets and missiles at Israel. In the absence of an agreement to a lasting ceasefire, more anti-Israel demonstrations are planned across the country. Chicago residents braced for more traffic disruptions as pro-Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS supporters prepared for the 25 July Chicago Day of Al-Quds, when they were expected once again to march through the downtown area.