Dem Sen. Patty Murray Seeks Millions for Anti-Semitic Mosque Whose Leader Called Jews 'Despicable Apes'

The Muslim Association of Puget Sound hosted speakers who praised Palestinian 'martyrs,' referred to Jews as 'filth'

Sen. Patty Murray (Getty Images)
June 20, 2024

Democrats’ top Senate appropriator is seeking millions of dollars in taxpayer funds for an Islamic organization in Washington state that has preached anti-Semitism, cheered Hamas’s "victory" over Israel, and hosted Palestinian activists who urge resistance against Israel "by any means necessary."

Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), the chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, requested $2.5 million for the Muslim Association of Puget Sound last month for the construction of a clinic, a massive windfall for an organization that received $6.2 million in revenue in 2022. That’s on top of an $850,000 earmark that Murray landed for the organization earlier this year to provide tech training for "underrepresented communities."

It’s the latest Democratic request for taxpayer funds to Islamic groups hostile to Jews and Israel. The Biden administration has awarded millions of dollars in Department of Homeland Security grants to mosques whose leaders have called Jews "an arrogant breed of people" and called on Allah to "eradicate [Zionists] from existence," the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The Muslim Association of Puget Sound, the largest Islamic group in Washington, has provided a platform for similar rhetoric. Mohammad Joban, the mosque’s head imam, apologized in 2019 for preaching that Allah transformed Jews into "despicable apes" for disobeying him.

Joban and other speakers hosted by the Muslim association have praised Hamas and other "liberation" groups’ attacks on Israel.

Weeks after Hamas’s October 7 invasion, Joban appeared to celebrate that Israeli forces had failed to "destroy the resistance" in Gaza. What’s more, Joban said in the Nov. 17 sermon, was that "many of the aggressor soldiers … have died."

The cleric, who referred to Israel as "the killers of the babies," declared the residents of Gaza the "winners" of the Israel-Hamas war. As evidence of Israel’s defeat, Joban said, "there’s no school, no university, no services" in some parts of Israel.

During a sermon on Nov. 3, Sheikh Hasib Noor called on Allah to "accept our martyrs" in Gaza and "destroy their enemy and your enemy," according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. Noor prayed to "destroy the occupying Zionists" and "cleanse the Al-Aqsa Mosque of their filth."

Then there is an event with Palestine Chronicle publisher Ramzy Baroud, whose outlet published the writings of Abdullah Aljamal, a Hamas affiliate who held three Israelis hostage in the wake of the October 7 attack.

Baroud declared at a talk hosted by the association on June 4, 2021, that Israel has "no right to self-defense" and Palestinians have a right to liberation "by any means necessary."

"Israel is a colonial apartheid regime, and we are a people who are fighting a war of liberation," said Baroud, who has also written for websites the United States government seized for publishing propaganda from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Free Beacon reported.

Murray’s latest request comes months after a top official at the Muslim association publicly criticized her for failing to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

​​"We need [Murray] to take action and join the majority of the world, the majority of Americans, who call for a ceasefire now," Aneelah Afzali, the executive director of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound’s American Muslim Empowerment Network of Puget Sound, said at a protest outside the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle in November.

It is unclear if Murray’s earmark request was spurred by that criticism. But other Democrats have sought to appease anti-Israel activists in hopes of thwarting criticism over the Israel-Hamas war. President Joe Biden has dispatched White House and campaign officials to meet with Arab and Muslim community leaders in Michigan, who have mounted a boycott of the president in the swing state. As part of that outreach, Biden officials have met with Arab-American community leaders like Osama Siblani, who has referred to Hamas as "freedom fighters" and urged Arabs to fight Israel with "stones" or "guns."

Murray’s office and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound did not respond to requests for comment.