Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison has backed out of speech he was set to give at an annual meeting for the Muslim American Society, an Islamist umbrella organization that is affiliated with the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
Ellison, who hopes to take over as chair of the Democratic National Committee, was listed earlier this week on a Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America (MAS-ICNA) program as a keynote speaker for the event, which will be held in Chicago next Tuesday.
MAS-ICNA announced on its Facebook account last month that Ellison would be appearing at the conclave. A new program schedule for the MAS-ICNA meeting shows that Ellison’s time slot is filled with a presentation by Atlaf Husain, a professor at Howard University.
The Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank that tracks radical Islam, claimed on its website that it was responsible for Ellison backing out of the speaking engagement. The group, which says that MAS-ICNA confirmed Ellison’s cancellation, drew attention to the extremist backgrounds of several other speakers that are set to attend the convention.
It is unclear exactly why Ellison cancelled his speech, which was to be entitled “Our Voice Will Be Heard,” but he has faced withering criticism in recent weeks over past comments about Israel and of his ties to Muslim extremists.
Ellison has apologized for some of his past remarks. He has also said he regrets his past support for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has made anti-Semitic remarks.
Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish civil rights group, said that Ellison’s controversial past should disqualify him leading the DNC.
An appearance at the MAS-ICNA event would likely have further eroded his chances of taking over the DNC.
As The Middle East Forum notes in a dossier it released this week, one speaker listed in MAS-ICNA’s program is Mohammad Qatanani, the imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County. Qatanani currently faces deportation from the U.S. because he failed to disclose on his green card application that he was once a member of Hamas, the terrorist group.
Jamal Badawi, a founder of MAS and former director of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., is also listed in the program. Badawi has made controversial statements in the past. In 2004, he issued a fatwa saying that husbands may beat their wives under certain circumstances.
The group noted that several other speakers have made extremist statements against gays, women and Israel in the past. Others have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamists.
Sheikh Kifah Mustapha, a Chicago-based imam, has praised Hamas in the past. Documents filed in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case stated that Mustapha was recorded on tape praising the terrorist group. The cleric served as an Illinois state fundraiser for The Holy Land Foundation, which was found to have illegally funneled money to Hamas. He was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
Ellison, who was elected to Congress in 2006, has strong ties to MAS.
In 2008, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed group paid $13,500 for a trip Ellison took to Mecca, the Muslim holy site. Ellison failed to disclose that transaction and was investigated by the House Ethics Committee.
And in 2009, he headlined a fundraiser for Esam Omeish, a former president of MAS who was running for Virginia state assembly. (RELATED: Keith Ellison Headlined Fundraiser For Muslim Activist Who Embraced ‘Jihad Way’)
Omeish is a controversial figure in his own right. In 2007, he was forced to resign from a Virginia state immigration commission after video from 2000 surfaced showing him denouncing Israel and calling for Palestinians to embrace the “jihad way.” Omeish has also praised Hamas and anti-Israeli suicide bombers.
Ellison has said he will resign from Congress if chosen to lead the DNC. He is running against Labor Sec. Tom Perez for the position.
[h/t Washington Free Beacon]