Broward Commissioner Sharief: I’m not talking to Islamic Society

A large, umbrella Muslim organization is not having Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief as a speaker this weekend.

Local activist Joe Kaufman claimed Sharief was speaking, and said his group would be protesting. He accuses the Islamic Society of North America of having terrorism ties and of espousing anti-Semitism.

I reached out to the ISNA, and was told that Kaufman’s claims are “hogwash.”

The ISNA is an umbrella group for many Muslim organizations. It is not on the State Department’s watch list.

“These guys say what they say,” Miramar resident and ISNA board member Asad Bayunus said.. “… They are not legitimate, and completely full of misstatements and inaccuracies. … It astounds me when I hear things like this.”

Bayunus, who lives in Sharief’s district, is in charge of this weekend’s conference. He said Kaufman’s claims are untrue and that his group is the largest, most “mainstream” Muslim group in America.

Sharief said she’s been the target of criticism over the event, even though she won’t be there.

She said she rejected the group’s request long ago because she was busy and didn’t know who they were. She had no idea her name became attached to this weekend’s event at the Broward County Convention Center.

Kaufman and his group Americans Against Hate, which describes itself as “the anti-bigotry, terrorism watchdog group,” has been circulating a news release this week that includes this statement: “AAH will be condemning any member of government who participates in ISNA’s conference. Scheduled to speak at the conference are Sunrise Commissioner Larry Sofield and Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief.”

Kaufman’s group plans to hold a protest Saturday outside the meeting. He issued corrective press releases after he found out Sharief and Sofield weren’t going to show.

Click here to see the event schedule Kaufman based his news release on. The schedule shows State Rep. Ari Porth as well, but Porth told me he withdrew after getting e-mails about it and doing some Internet research that gave him heartburn. I’ll post some of those e-mails on the jump, including one calling President Obama a “Muslim-born Pretendent.”

On the jump, Kaufman’s release, and much more:




Broward Politics

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.