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Cleric Linked to Prominent Michigan Dems Accuses Pro-Israel Lawmakers of ‘Treason’

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An imam linked to prominent Michigan Democrats like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Rashida Tlaib said in a sermon this month that pro-Israel members of Congress were “stooges” of the Jewish state who should be charged with “treason.”

On May 3, Hassan Qazwini, the imam of the Islamic Institute of America, railed against lawmakers who days earlier voted for the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. The measure, which passed with a vote of 320-91, would require the Department of Education to adopt a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism for investigations into anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses.

“If there was justice in this country, those congressmen and women would be indicted and convicted of treason,” said the Iraq-born Qazwini, whose remarks were first reported by the Middle Eastern Media Research Institute. He asserted lawmakers who voted for the bill “do not work for the interest of the United States, rather for the interests of a foreign country.”

“Nothing but stooges of Israel,” he said.

Two months before the fiery sermon, Tlaib and Dearborn mayor Abdullah Hammoud, a rising star in the anti-Israel movement, attended a fundraiser with Qazwini for the Islamic Institute of America, based in Dearborn Heights. Qazwini honored Tlaib and Hammoud at the banquet for their “courage and outspokenness against American biases towards Israel.” The trio posed for a photo at the ceremony, attended by a number of Dearborn city officials and Arab-American community leaders.

Whitmer, considered a potential Democratic presidential candidate, appeared at a fundraiser for the mosque in 2022 and was photographed with Qazwini.

Qazwini’s anti-Semitic views are nothing new, raising questions for Tlaib and Hammoud about their affiliation with the cleric. In 2020, Qazwini came under fire for his remarks several years earlier that the terrorist group ISIS “somehow is connected to Israel.” In a 2016 sermon, Qazwini said that Israel has used the United States as a “cash cow” and that President Barack Obama was “bowing to the pro-Israeli lobby.” He referred to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who Qazwini later endorsed for president, as “an honorable man, even though he is a Jew.”

Tlaib’s office and Hammoud’s office did not respond to requests for comment about their recent contact with Qazwini.

Tlaib’s affiliation with anti-Israel and pro-terrorist elements are well known. She has met with and attended fundraisers hosted by numerous Hamas supporters. Qazwini contributed $500 to her congressional campaign in 2021, according to campaign finance records. The House of Representatives censured her for circulating the statement, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a call for the eradication of Israel.

While Tlaib has been somewhat marginalized within the Democratic Party, Hammoud has emerged as a darling of the pro-Palestinian cause. In a glowing profile last month, the Washington Post praised Hammoud for leading the anti-Israel movement while balancing the duties of mayor of a medium-sized city. The Post, which said Hammoud has gone from “little-known mayor to national figure,” touted Hammoud’s refusal to meet with Biden campaign officials earlier this year over opposition to President Joe Biden’s military support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

Unmentioned in the positive press coverage is Hammoud’s alliance with Dearborn-based activists who endorse Hamas’s violence. Osama Siblani, the publisher of the Arab-American News, introduced Hammoud at an event in 2022 with a speech in which Siblani called on the United States to provide Palestinians with “military aid to fight Israelis.” Siblani has called Hamas and other terrorist groups “freedom fighters” and urged Islamic militants to fight Israel with “stones” and “guns.”

Hours after the Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion, in which 1,200 Israelis were murdered, Hammoud said the attack should be viewed in the “context” of Israel’s “illegal military occupation” of Gaza.

Dearborn has emerged as a hotbed of anti-Israel activity under Hammoud’s watch, with the Wall Street Journal dubbing the city “America’s Jihad Capital.”

Hammoud and Tlaib decried the moniker. Weeks later, attendees at a rally outside Dearborn City Hall chanted, “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

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