Omar Holding Secret Fundraisers With Islamic Groups Tied to Terror

Closed-door events spark further questions about anti-Semitic rhetoric

US Representative Ilhan Omar / Getty Images

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Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) has been holding a series of secret fundraisers with groups that have been tied to the support of terrorism, appearances that have been closed to the press and hidden from public view.

The content of these speeches, given to predominately Muslim audiences, remains unknown, prompting some of Omar's critics to express concern about the type of rhetoric she is using before these paying audiences, particularly in light of the lawmaker's repeated use of anti-Semitic tropes in public.

Omar recently spoke in Florida at a private event hosted by Islamic Relief, a charity organization long said to have deep ties to groups that advocate terrorism against Israel. Over the weekend, she will appear at another private event in California that is hosted by CAIR-CA PAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR a group that was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive terror-funding incident.

Omar's appearance at these closed-door forums is raising eyebrows in the pro-Israel world due to her repeated and unapologetic public use of anti-Semitic stereotypes accusing Jewish people of controlling foreign policy and politics. With Omar's popularity skyrocketing on the anti-Israel left, it appears her rhetoric is translating into fundraising prowess.

It remains unclear what Omar has told these audiences in her private talks. Washington Free Beacon attempts to obtain video of past events were unsuccessful, and multiple local news and television outlets in the Tampa, Fla., area, where Omar spoke to Islamic Relief last month, confirmed they were unable to gain access to the closed door event.

Islamic Relief has come under congressional investigation for what lawmakers have described as its efforts to provide assistance to terrorist group such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The charity has been banned by some countries as a result of these ties.

In 2017, Congress sought to ban taxpayer funds from reaching the charity due to these terror links.

A representative from Islamic Relief declined to provide the Free Beacon with any material related to Omar's appearance.

"The event was closed to the media. No materials are available," the official said.

On Sunday, Omar will hold another meet and greet in Irvine, Calif., for CAIR-CA PAC. Those wishing to hear Omar speak are being asked to donate anywhere from $50 to $250 dollars, according to a flyer for the event.

The CAIR event also appears closed to the press. Free Beacon attempts to contact the organizer and obtain access were unsuccessful. Requests for comment on the nature of the speeches sent to Omar's congressional office also were not returned.

CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group known for its anti-Israel positions, was named by the U.S. government as part of a large network of groups known to be supporting Hamas.

CAIR has been cited by the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, for using its network of supporters to promote an "anti-Israel agenda."

"CAIR’s anti-Israel agenda dates back to its founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas affiliated anti-Semitic propaganda organization," according to the ADL. "While CAIR has denounced specific acts of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, for many years it refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah by name, which the U.S. and international community have condemned and isolated."

Sarah Stern, founder of president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, a pro-Israel group that has condemned Omar for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, told the Free Beacon that the private nature of these events before controversial Islamic groups is very concerning.

"I just wonder what is Rep. Omar saying to a group of Islamic supporters that she feels is so secretive that she cannot say it to the American people, as a whole?" Stern wondered. "What is so secretive that it has to be off the record and closed to reporters? Will she say the same things in public to her Jewish voters in Minnesota that she says to her Islamic friends? What does this tell us about her openness, her honesty and her integrity?"

One veteran Republican political operative expressed concern about the secretive nature of these talks, telling the Free Beacon that Democrats must hide behind-closed-doors to appease these groups with anti-Israel rhetoric.

"Of course she's holding these meetings in secret. That's just how Democrats roll these days," the source said. "They're for limiting your ability to spend money on the candidates you want to support, and for secretly fundraising from Islamist groups who support them. It really puts their support for campaign finance reform into perspective."

After last month's Islamic Relief event, Stern's EMET and many other pro-Israel groups penned a letter to Democratic leaders in the House demanding Omar's removal from the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. These groups argued that Omar's anti-Semitic rhetoric and secretive meetings should disqualify her from a seat on that committee, which oversees the U.S.-Israel military alliance.

"Rep. Omar's presence as a keynote speaker to raise funds for Islamic Relief USA, whose parent organization and chapters have documented ties to terrorist organizations, demonstrates that she has learned next to nothing over the last few weeks when she was reprimanded by your office and by other Democrats for posting ugly, anti-Semitic attacks on Jews and their organizations," the pro-Israel groups wrote in a letter send to House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Elliott Engel (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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