Debbie's Date with Radicalism

DNC chair to attend fundraiser hosted by man on terror watch list

March 1, 2012

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing criticism for her upcoming appearance at a fundraiser hosted by an American Muslim leader who was placed on the Federal Terrorist Watch List.

Wasserman Schultz is set to keynote an annual fundraising dinner for EMERGE USA, a Muslim community group led by Khurrum Wahid, a controversial attorney with a track record of defending accused terrorists and associating with Muslim Brotherhood-backed groups.

Democrats and Republicans alike are wondering why Wasserman Schultz, described by the Jewish Daily Forward as a "proud Jewess," would associate with Wahid.

Born in Pakistan, Wahid honed his legal chops post-9-11 when he started "representing immigrants detained for questioning in the wake of the terrorist attacks," according to the Miami News Times. He also co-founded Florida Muslim Bar Association and serves as its current president.

Since 2004, Wahid has represented a man convicted of plotting a subway station bombing, as well as a Florida doctor who was sentenced for "conspiring to treat wounded al Qaeda militants," the News Times reports.

Wahid currently represents a father-son team of imams who stand accused of providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban. The 20-page federal indictment against the duo claims that they bankrolled the purchase of guns and paid to send kids to an Islamic school that taught them how to slay Americans in Afghanistan.

According to a report by the Sunshine State News’ Kenric Ward, "Wahid has spoken at an event sponsored by the American arm of the South Asian Muslim Brotherhood (Jamaat-e-Islami) and the Islamic Circle of North America, an organization that has been connected to the financing of both al-Qaida and Hamas."

One prominent Jewish Democrat told the Washington Free Beacon that Wasserman Schultz's actions are troubling.

"I'm not sure how much money they will raise at this event, but there is no amount that is worth having the head of the Democratic Party associated with anyone who appears to have a soft spot for terrorism," the Democrat said.

Wasserman Schultz's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Joe Kaufman, a Florida Republican who hopes to unseat Wasserman Schultz in November’s elections, told the Sunshine State News that the DNC chair has a "false pro-Israel persona."

"Wasserman Schultz likes to flaunt her Jewish identity and false pro-Israel persona, but how can she begin to do so when the organization she will be addressing maintains staff who display animosity toward the Jewish state?" Kaufman told the paper.

The Democratic National Committee did not return multiple requests for comment.

UPDATE: Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz may be backing out of a scheduled appearance at a fundraiser hosted by an American Muslim leader who has been on the Federal Terrorist Watch List, according to a press release from her Republican opponent Joe Kaufman.

Jonathan Beeton, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, tells the Free Beacon "there was a miscommunication, she is not speaking to the organization," clarifying that "we never agreed to do a fundraiser, nor this event."

In a statement to the Free Beacon, Kaufman said "I’m happy that, based on my information, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz will no longer be speaking at EMERGE USA’s fundraiser. Even though the group has an innocuous sounding name, no doubt, its leadership consists of persons who spread anti-Jewish and anti-Christian bigotry and who actively support terror-related individuals and organizations who target America and Israel. Debbie should never have agreed to help raise money and be the keynote speaker for such a radical group, and it is unfortunate that it took criticism from myself and others for her to finally decide not to do it."

The Free Beacon will update as events warrant.