Imam who Spoke at Sanders Rally Called for Armed Struggle Against Israel

March 1, 2020

4 min read

A closer look shows that Bernie Sanders’ alliance with Muslim supporters goes deep and may hide a lot more than just Jew-hatred. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was born a Jew but much of his campaign support comes from virulently anti-Israel personalities, like Linda Sarsour who is a campaign surrogate of Palestinian descent. Sanders invited Imam Omar Suleiman to speak at a rally in Mesquite, Texas two weeks ago. At Sanders’ rally, he called for “[a]n America of safety, dignity, love, and unity. An America where we uplift our most vulnerable, celebrate our diversity, and unlock our collective genius.”

The imam stopped short of endorsing Sanders but was photographed many times with the candidate who has promised to turn American into a socialist utopia. At first glance, Imam Suleiman, a Muslim of Palestinian descent, appears to be the paragon of diversity and interfaith acceptance. He is the Co-Chair Emeritus of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith coalition of clergy for peace and justice. 

Indeed, Suleiman is known for pretty words. In May 2019, as the month-long fast of Ramadan began, Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he did, praying for “generosity, compassion, empathy, and spiritual renewal.”

But his interfaith work has suffered some serious lapses, showing much less “compassion and empathy” for Jews who live in Israel and many Jewish leaders took offense at his Congressional convocation.

Sometimes Suleiman’s mask of brotherly love slips. In a 2014 Facebook Post, he called “Zionists the enemies of God, His Messengers, sincere followers of all religions, and humanity as a whole.”

In another 2014 Facebook post, Suleiman sided with Hamas, refusing to acknowledge the terror group was using Palestinian civilians as human-shields while accusing the IDF of a “massacre.”

In another post that same year, he celebrated the “beginning of the third intifada”, which he described as “blessed.” He referred to Israel as an “apartheid state.” 

One year later, he upped his rhetoric, equating “apartheid Israel” to the Nazis on Facebook while classifying Israel’s treatment of Gaza as a “holocaust.” To Suleiman, Israel is, of course, a “terrorist regime.”

Also in 2014, Suleiman also made a comment on social media alluding to the antisemitic idea that Israel controls American foreign policy, claiming that it is the “51st state,” referring to the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control world governments.

His concern for Jews in his interfaith work stops short when it comes to Jewish history. After President Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Suleiman spoke at a rally in front of the White House, saying, “Your recognition means nothing to us,” he said. “Your maps mean nothing to us, your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize. Our land is our land, our dignity is our dignity. Our determination is our determination. Our boycott is our boycott. Our Aqsa [the holy mosque in Jerusalem] is our Aqsa. Our Palestine is our Palestine.”

Of course, it may be that Sanders invited Suleiman to his rally because of and not in spite of his hatred of Israel. Ten days ago, Sanders chose not to attend the annual convention of  the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) because of the pro-Israel lobbying groups “bigotry.”

AIPAC responded, calling Sanders remarks “insulting” and “shameful” in a statement. 

“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” the group said. AIPAC said that Sanders’ fellow members of Congress are among those it gives a platform to and that “18,000 Americans from widely diverse backgrounds” participate in the conference. 

“By engaging in such an odious attack on the mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful,” AIPAC’s statement said. 

Suleiman has voiced support for Black Lives Matter and in July 2016, marched with demonstrators in Dallas against the killings of two black men. Five police officers were shot and killed at the protests, the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since 9-11. In what many considered an insult to the murdered policemen, President Obama invited Suleiman to give the invocation at the memorial service.

The strange alliance between left-wing liberal socialists and Islam also creates certain uncomfortable dichotomies. Though the Democrat platform includes gay rights and same-sex marriage, Suleiman has compared gays and lesbians to people who engage in incest and bestiality, though noting that they should not be overly persecuted for their deviant behavior.

“But what if someone is born that way, what if someone is a homosexual and they can’t help that?” he once wrote.”Then we would say that not every impulse is to be acted upon. OK? We don’t allow bestiality. We don’t allow incest.”

Similarly, in several of his speeches, he has implied that promiscuous women should be killed.

It could be that Sanders also approves of these values as well. Sanders attended ISNACON 2019, the national conference of the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA had been created by Muslim Brotherhood members and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas Holy Land Foundation trial.

Like Suleiman, ISNA has advocated for the death penalty for homosexuals. At the 2019 conference, Muzammil Siddiqi, ISNA’s former president who chairs its Fiqh Council, which dispenses Islamic sharia law, claimed that the heads of the feminist movement were all lesbians and therefore subject to the death penalty. It is to be assumed that Sanders sat through that lecture.

At the conference, Sanders spoke at a forum moderated by Salam Al-Marayati, the head of MPAC, who had defended Hamas and Hezbollah and justified Hezbollah’s mass murder of Marines in Lebanon.

Sanders began his address by saying he “believe[s] in the concept of solidarity” but he was wildly applauded when he called for the “ending the Israeli occupation.”


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