On July 30th, presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee spoke at the Islamic Center of Detroit about his policy positions on "issues that matter to Muslim communities." Unfortunately, the moderator of the event was Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Walid chose to lead off with a question about the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel—which is probably not the most critical issue to American Muslim voters facing more urgent problems, but is highly important to CAIR.
It is surprising that Gov. Inslee would agree to have Dawud Walid as his moderator, given Walid's long-running campaign in support of extremist imam Luqman Abdullah. Abdullah was shot by FBI agents in 2009, after he pulled a gun during his arrest on conspiracy charges. Over the next year and a half, Walid repeatedly charged the FBI with a coverup, claiming that the agents murdered Abdullah in cold blood, even after three separate independent reviews of the shooting concluded otherwise.
Moreover, Walid claims that Abdullah was innocent of his accused crimes—which included being a highly-placed leader in a Detroit-based terror network. Even now, Walid continues to defend Abdullah as an innocent man. (Walid has likewise accused the FBI of "manufacturing their own terror suspects" and "cultivating and inciting people toward extremism" in order to justify its activity in the War on Terrorism.)
Walid himself has a long history of extremism, and resorts to the most juvenile deflections to excuse it. In a 2010 rally, Walid demanded that terror group Hamas (or as he put it, "the government in Gaza") be included in the then-ongoing Mideast peace talks; when challenged for his statement, Walid merely responded, "I didn't even mention the word Hamas." Similarly, regarding the infamous 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas operatives at which the proposal for CAIR's founding was approved, Walid falsely claimed that "Hamas was never mentioned in this 1993 meeting by name." (It was.)
He has also repeatedly said that Jews are "cursed," have "incurred the wrath of Allah," and that Israelis are training American police to shoot unarmed black people.
Islamist Watch reached out to Gov. Inslee's campaign, asking if Inslee had been aware of Walid's history of bigotry and calling on him to condemn Walid's offensive statements about Jews. We also asked if Gov. Inslee was planning to meet with any moderate Muslim leaders, now that he has given the extremists his time. However, the campaign has given us no response.
It's commendable that Gov. Inslee wants to reach out to many different communities of voters. But in this case, and in Inslee's appearance at the Muslim Caucus Education Collective's recent conference of Islamist politicians and activists, Inslee is allowing extremists to claim to represent the American Muslim community as a whole. Next time, Inslee should try speaking to the American Muslim moderates, rather than Islamists.