A federally-funded Muslim social services group that counts an accused former Hamas operative as its spiritual leader says that Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions should be disqualified from serving as attorney general.
Wafa House, based in Clifton, N.J., appears to be concerned that a Sessions-led DOJ will cut into its funding stream because of the Republican’s past votes against the Violence Against Women Act, a 1994 law which provides billions of dollars in funding to investigate and prosecute violence crimes against women.
Wafa House, which focuses on cases involving Muslim and immigrant victims, received $800,000 in federal grants last year through VAWA and a DOJ victims assistance program.
The non-profit’s grants last year far surpassed previous years’ totals as well as its entire budget for 2015. The group received $45,000 in each of the previous three years. In 2015, its entire budget was $360,000, its tax forms show.
In a Facebook post last month, Wafa House urged supporters to contact the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to voice opposition to Sessions, who in 2013 voted against re-authorizing VAWA.
“Also, oppose Senator Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General. His legislative and prosecutorial history disqualify him from the position of the nation’s top law enforcement officer and victim advocate!” the group wrote.
The Senate will vote on Sessions’ nomination later Wednesday.
It is unclear if Wafa House’s activism violates the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees and, in some circumstances federally-funded organizations, from engaging in certain political activities.
Wafa House’s spiritual leader is Mohammad Qatanani, the imam at the Islamic Center of Pasaic County in New Jersey.
Qatanani is currently facing deportation for failing to disclose in his 1999 green card application that he was imprisoned in Israel in 1993 based on alleged ties to Hamas, the terrorist group.
Qatanani has claimed that he was tortured by Israeli police and forced to confess to the Hamas ties. His case is currently under appeal in New Jersey.
Wafa House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.