A Democratic Party caucus chairman vying to become Missouri’s next secretary of state is a 9/11 Truther who has associated with a radical Muslim cleric and trafficked in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
MD Rabbi Alam is an Obama campaign ally and Missouri-based Democratic activist who chairs the National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus (NDPAAC), a Democratic National Committee-sponsored organization that liaises with Asian minorities.
Alam, who was born in Bangladesh, served as a "satellite campaign manager" for then-candidate Barack Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 elections, and has since been invited to the White House.
Alam has speculated about Jewish involvement in the September 11th terrorist attacks and participated in an event with a Muslim cleric who has accused Israel of terrorism and alleged that the U.S. invented the HIV disease.
"Why [was] 9/11 was a official holidy [sic] for all jewish [sic] people worked in the the [sic] WTC?" Alam asked in an Internet discussion titled, "Was 9/11 a conspiracy??"
Alam went on to tout the 9/11 Truther film Loose Change 9/11, and challenged readers to "tell me how many of the Jewish people died on the 9/11 tragedy?"
Asked in an interview Monday about his provocative views, Alam stood by his controversial writings, admitting that he has been "waiting to discuss it with somebody."
"My question was, ‘What’s the reason not a single Jew was killed on that day,’" Alam said, maintaining that his inquiries are based on facts, rather than a bias against Jewish people. "Was there a single Jew killed on that day?"
The State Department long ago debunked the insinuation that Jews, forewarned about the attacks, stayed home on September 11. Officials estimate that somewhere between 200 and 400 Jews died in the World Trade Center; five Israeli citizens also perished in the attacks.
Alam, however, still has many questions, and cites "articles and research" purportedly showing that Jews were not killed.
Alam spent the next 20 minutes of the interview explaining the impossibility that commercial airliners could have singlehandedly knocked down the Twin Towers.
"I have 100 percent doubts. It doesn’t add up," he said. "My bottom line is the plane is not solely responsible for destroying the whole building."
Alam’s longstanding ties to the president and Democratic Party make his radical views about the 9/11 attacks and Jewish people all the more startling, political insiders and campaign experts say.
"When people make the Jewish claim with respect to the 9/11 attacks, that is such a red flag for an anti-Semite," said Debra Burlingame, a board member of the national security group Keep America Safe. "It’s a dirty little truth for the 9/11 Truthers."
"Missourians should be very concerned about this," added Burlingame, who is the sister of Charles Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was steered into the Pentagon by terrorist hijackers on September 11, 2001. "All of those ‘questions’ have been debunked. It’s not the questions they care about. It’s the smears."
Others wondered how the DNC could allow Alam to rise in its ranks.
"That the DNC would in any way affiliate itself with a 9/11 Truther who spews such anti-Semitic lunacy, and defends and repeats such bile when confronted, is beyond deeply troubling, it's simply wrong," said Josh Block, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
"This guy's sentiments are especially outrageous in the context of 9/11, and are incredibly offensive to the families of all victims of al Qaeda's vile terrorist attack on America. One can only assume the DNC allowed such a relationship unknowingly."
Alam’s foray into Democratic activism started in 2007 when he founded the Missouri Democratic Party Asian American caucus, "one of the three statewide political organizations affiliated and working closely with the Missouri Democratic Party," according to Alam’s website.
He also serves as the president of the North American Bangladeshi Association for Bangladesh, "a non-profit Educational based organization working closely with the US Department of Education."
As Obama began his 2008 bid for the presidency, Alam signed on as a manager in the campaign’s greater Kansas City office, later transforming his business suite into a local campaign headquarters.
Alam—a military veteran who served "two term tours in Middle East and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as his six years overseas tour in Germany"—views himself an ally of Vice President Joe Biden and DNC chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.).
Alam defended his participation in the event, maintaining that he need not agree with an individual in order to interact with him.
"I call myself a student," Alam explained, stating that he reserves the right to associate with "every single leader, coming from any type of group."
"I’m learning from other people’s experiences," he said. "I am not 100 percent or 15 percent with [Yasin]. I only listen to people."
Alam is also on record decrying the arrest of Sami Al-Arian, a Muslim activist who pled guilty to soliciting money on behalf of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which had been designated a terrorist group committed to Israel’s destruction.
"Who does not know about Dr. Arian, a Florida university professor falsely accused and victimized by [the] war on terror?" Alam asked in a 2009 video recorded for the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City.
Alam suggested in the video that his religious allies get involved in "mainstream" politics.
Asked by the Free Beacon about his defense of al-Arian, Alam backtracked somewhat.
"I do not have any personal information about that gentleman," Alam said, explaining that he was merely using al-Arian as an example to motivate his viewers to get involved in politics.
Alam is running in the August 7 Democratic primary to become Missouri’s Secretary of State. In 2010, he lost a Democratic primary bid to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives.
The DNC should distance itself from Alam, observers in Washington, D.C., say.
"What is shocking is how someone with such repugnant views can rise so quickly to a position of prominence in the Democratic Party," said one D.C.-based communications adviser.
"The Democratic Party of Missouri needs to disavow him," said the source. "The DNC and its Asian American caucus need to disavow him, and the White House needs to make clear he will not be credentialed or granted access to the Democratic National Convention."
The convention is scheduled to take place September 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.
Alam remains optimistic about his candidacy. He predicted that he would receive "50,000 votes" from minority voters, "somebody whose name sounds like my name."
The end goal, Alam said, is to galvanize the community and leave a "legendary legacy, like after Martin Luther King Jr."