Why is a group of medical professionals in Northern California funding a gathering of extremists organized by a local Islamist organization? In particular, why is the El Camino Women's Medical Group (ECWMG) paying $5,000 to be a "Gold Sponsor" of an upcoming gala organized by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)?
It just doesn't make any sense for a group of physicians committed to providing obstetrics, gynecology, and infertility treatment to women in the San Francisco Bay Area to fund an event featuring Linda Sarsour who, in 2011 declared, "Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She's asking 4 an a$$ whippin'. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don't deserve to be women."
If the doctors at the El Camino Women's Medical Group were to support a gala, it should be one feting Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a well-known victim of FGM and advocate of women's rights, not Sarsour.
Sarsour, who was forced to resign from the board of the Women's March in 2019 because of her ties to Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan (who spoke of "satanic Jews" at an event in 2018), simply does not merit a gala. Earlier this year, the insurance giant GEICO canceled a diversity event for its employees featuring Sarsour because of her past comments.
Sarsour isn't the only extremist speaking at the gala slated to take place this Saturday, November 19. Also attending is Ebrahim Rasool, former South African Ambassador to the United States who recently eulogized Yusef Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Prior to his recent death, Qaradawi promoted the downfall of secular democracies, incited violence against homosexuals, and lamented that Hitler didn't wipe out all the Jews during the Holocaust.
Another scheduled speaker is Ahmed Billoo who, in 2019, took to Facebook to complain of "feeling annoyed" about being at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. To deal with his apparent annoyance over the presence of Jews in the building, he wrote a prayer: "Oh God, reduce their numbers, exterminate them, and don't leave a single one alive." He added the hashtag "Zionists."
Ahmed Billoo is the brother of CAIR-SFBA's executive director, Zahra Billoo, who achieved notoriety in late 2021 when she warned her followers to be on guard against "polite Zionists" in the Anti-Defamation League, "Zionist synagogues," and local Jewish federations and Hillel chapters in the United States. Like Sarsour, Billoo was also ousted from the leadership of the Women's March in 2019 because of bigoted statements about Israel.
In 2015, Zahra Billoo — who has not responded to a request for comment — took to Twitter to assert that the FBI was recruiting young Muslims to join the Islamic State in Syria, apparently suggesting that these efforts were conducted under the guise of the U.S. government's efforts to counter Islamist ideology. "I'm more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than of the mentally ill young people the #FBI recruits to join ISIS. #CVE," she wrote. (The hashtag "CVE" is a reference to "countering-violent extremism" programs that Western democracies have adopted to stop the spread of ideologies that generate attacks.)
ECWMG, an apparently all-woman medical practice located in Mountain View, Calif., did not respond to either an email or phone inquiry about its sponsorship of CAIR-SFBA's gala.
Other sources of funding for the gala include the Pacific Bay Pediatric Dentistry practice located in Fremont, Calif., which, like the El Camino Women's Medical Group, is listed as a "Gold Sponsor" of the event.
The East Bay Community Foundation, a community development organization, is listed as a "Bronze" sponsor for the gala, denoting a $1,000 donation, as is the Washington Hospital Healthcare System. None of these institutions has responded to phone and email queries about their support of the gala.
In addition to receiving funds from medical professionals in the Bay Area, CAIR has also received public funds to advance its agenda. In October, CAIR California, the umbrella organization for local CAIR chapters throughout the state, received $15,000 from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to cover its banquet expenses. Muzammil Siddiqi was a featured speaker at CAIR's San Diego banquet. Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, has expressed support for Muslim countries executing homosexuals. In the early 2000s, the Investigative Project on Terrorism documented Siddiqi supporting violent jihad in front of a Muslim audience.
"When people really carry on jihad, they carry on [...] Islam in its peak, in its totality," he said.
Dexter Van Zile is managing editor of the Middle East Forum publication Focus on Western Islamism.