When Sadia Gul Covert was elected in 2018 and sworn into the office of Dupage county commissioner, she took her oath on the "Quran, Torah, and the Bible," in what seemed at the time like a symbol of unity and moderation. But Covert's decision to cast her lot with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) raises questions about the extent of her moderation.
On February 8, Covert will be featured with other Islamist speakers at the CAIR-Chicago 2020 Banquet fundraiser. CAIR was connected to the terrorist organization Hamas during the terror-financing trial against the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). According to a Justice Department report published in 2009, "HLF became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas."
In 2010, former assistant attorney general Ronald Weich sent a letter to four members of Congress which included trial transcripts and exhibits demonstrating "a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders, and the Palestine Committee."
In addition, Mrs. Covert is a board member of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, a Muslim political advocacy organization dominated by anti-Semitic voices. She sits on the steering committee with fellow board member Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of CAIR-Chicago, and board president Dilara Sayeed. In 2018, Sayeed failed in her bid for the Illinois House of Representatives, after which CAIR-Chicago named Sayeed as a "Trailblazer" and gave her the "honor" of speaking at CAIR-Chicago's 15th Annual Banquet. According to a report in the Chicago Crusader, Sayeed, who "ran a campaign on integrity and transparency, hoping to connect to disillusioned Black voters in district 5," paid $10,000 to a Chicago Defender journalist in 2017 in exchange for a glowing editorial, causing the reporter to lose her job.
Fundraising for CAIR alongside Covert will be the Orland Park Prayer Center (OPPC)'s Imam Kifah Mustapha, who has a history of supporting violent anti-Semitism. In a 2015 Facebook post, Mustapha was caught supporting the "stabbing intifada" against Israelis, writing, "An uprising in the blessed land will reflect blessings on all the Arab revolutions, God willing."
In one of the videos used as evidence during the HLF trial, Mustapha chants in Arabic: "O mother, Hamas for Jihad. Over mosques' loudspeakers, with freedom. Every day it resists with stones and the dagger. Tomorrow, with God's help, it will be with a machine gun and a rifle."
Covert is not the only local government official who will be promoting CAIR. Two Virginia politicians, Virginia state delegate Dr. Ibraheem Samirah and Fairfax County school board member Abrar Omeish, will also be speaking. Both have documented ties to Islamist groups.
Samirah is a member of Virginia's House of Delegates, who has a history of anti-Semitism and supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement. In one of his social media posts, Samirah said that "sending [U.S.] money to Israel is worse than the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)."
Samirah is the son of Dr. Sabri Samirah, a well-known Islamist who was considered a "security threat" and was banned from entering the U.S. for ten years. The elder Samirah was the board chairman of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), an organization responsible for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas and acting as a propaganda machine for the Palestinian terrorist group in the U.S.
In the case of Samirah Jr., the apple did not fall far from the tree. The Virginia delegate expressed the same Islamist position as his father in a Facebook post:
My father is my role model. I can only dream of living up to the moral standards he exemplifies. I pray that I make him proud, as always I pray that I quickly find full stability and raise my future son, Sabri, to be like him and better. I would not have dedicated myself to the Palestinian human rights' cause without him. I am forever grateful to all he has given me.
The other Virginia Islamist appearing at CAIR-Chicago's fundraiser is Abrar Omeish, who served as the master of ceremonies for a memorial event honoring Jamal Khashoggi, the late Washington Post columnist with ties to Islamist groups who Turkish agents murdered in 2019.
Omeish's father is Dr. Esam Omeish, a former president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), another Muslim Brotherhood affiliate which supports Hamas. Dr. Omeish was flagged for having ties to terrorism by a security committee of the Libyan government. The Clarion Project reported that Ms. Omeish led a 2014 campaign to silence Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born American feminist who was the victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia and now advocates for women's and children's rights.
The presence of Covert, Samirah, and Omeish at CAIR-Chicago's fundraiser is a reflection of the growing importance Islamists are placing on local politics. While CAIR has faced scrutiny for its efforts to woo federal legislators, local media rarely criticize their hometown politicians for harboring ties to Muslim extremist groups.
Hesham Shehab is the Chicago associate of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG).