If Ahmed Bedier's United Voices for America (UVA) was a peaceful organization, with the series of events which occurred earlier this month, you wouldn't have known it. On the day termed by the group "Muslim Capitol Day," one of UVA's members, Bassem Alhalabi, attacked two individuals, this author included. A warrant was issued in his name, culminating in his arrest. This, among other things, leaves into question the true intentions of the UVA.
United Voices for America – United Voices for short – was the brainchild of the former Executive Director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa), Ahmed Bedier. According to Bedier, UVA was created to lobby Florida's legislature on such issues as education reform, health care reform, and stimulation of the economy. Given Bedier's long history of extremist activity, though, one would need to be skeptical about such motives.
Bedier began working for CAIR in February 2003, the same month that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian was arrested by the FBI. This was no mere coincidence. Bedier was just coming off a stint as Outreach Director of a radical mosque, the Islamic Society of Pinellas County (ISPC), and CAIR needed someone in the Tampa Bay area to defend al-Arian, one of the founders of CAIR's parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Bedier fit the bill.