Gerry Connolly, a recently elected Democratic U.S. Congressman from Virginia has once again been accused of accepting campaign contributions from leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The latest accusation was made by Frontpage Magazine, an online conservative political magazine, in connection with a the Islamic Saudi Academy which has been reported to have been using textbooks containing passages that were anti-Semitic, intolerant of various Muslim groups, and which advocated violence against those who convert from Islam. According to the report:
When the Saudi Embassy earlier this year asked officials to renew the lease of a radical school it runs in Alexandria, Va., local residents strenuously objected. They argued the school teaches hatred toward Jews and Christians, and has become a breeding ground for terrorists. Gerry Connolly, at the time the Democrat chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, gave a full-throated defense of the Islamic Saudi Academy, even smearing protesters as anti-Islamic “bigots.” All the while, Connolly was running for U.S. Congress and according to the latest FEC records, accepting thousands of dollars in donations from Saudi bagmen — including some whose homes and offices were raided after 9/11 on suspicion of terror financing (and whose donations to other Democrats have been quietly returned in shame).
Earlier posts have discussed the controversial school where three alumni have been implicated or connected to terrorism. Connolly is a Fairfax, VA County Supervisor who ruled on the extension of the school’s lease and was recently elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Congress. He had earlier been accused of accepting a $500 campaign contribution of Nihad Awad, a leader of the Council of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Brotherhood organization and extension of the U.S. Hamas infrastructure that has received Saudi funding.
Public records confirm that four leaders of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, had made individual contributions to the campaign of Mr. Connolly, all within the same 12-day period. In addition to the $1000 amounts donated by Yaqub Mirza and Hisham al-Talib and the $500 from Omar Ashraf, all reported by Frontpage, FEC records report another $1000 donated to the Connolly campaign by Jamal Barzinji. IIIT was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by important members of the Global Muslim Brotherhood who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge.” IIIT was associated with the now defunct SAAR Foundation, a Saudi-funded network of Islamic organizations located in Northern Virginia that was raided by the Federal government in 2003 in connection with the financing of terrorism. The organization appeared to withdraw from public view following the 2003 raids, but seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late. Barzinji, Mirza, and al-Talib were all founders and early leaders of IIIT and/or SAAR and continue to play leadership roles in IIIT (SAAR was disbanded following the government actions). Omar Ashraf is associated with Sterling Management, a real-estate development firm tied to IIIT and SAAR. Susan Douglas, a former teacher at the Saudi Islamic Academy along with her husband, has taught courses for IIIT which has also published her books.
In 2002, former Demoratic Congresswoman (Dem) Cynthia McKinney was embroiled in controversy following media reports that she too had accepted campaign contributions from U.S. Muslim Brotherhood figures including Mirza, Barzinji, and al-Talib. 1
FEC records indicate that IIIT leaders were also contributing to the failed 2008 Senate campaign of former Republican Virginia governor Jim Gilmore. A previous post reported on Gilmore’s attendance at a June award dinner for Jamal Barzinji.
(Note 1 “Some McKinney donors probed for terror ties” Atlanta Journal-Constitution 8/3/02)