Florida Governor Rick Scott
It was the third annual Florida Muslim Capitol Day in Tallahassee organized by ex-Tampa CAIR director, Egyptian-born Ahmed Bedier, former spokesperson for convicted terror supporter Sami al Arian, and founder of United Voices for America (UVA). There were Florida National Guardsmen armed with sub-machine guns patrolling the courtyard of the Capitol Rotunda building. Unlike last year there was relative calm this year.
Last year Joe Kaufman of Americans Against Hate and The United West (TUW) videographer, J. Mark Campbell were involved in separate assaults and battery by a Muslim professor at Florida Atlantic University and Islamic Center of Boca Raton leader, Bassem Abdo Alhalabi on Florida Muslim capitol day on March 11, 2010. Alhalabi was a research assistant of convicted felon Sami al Arian, a former computer science Professor at the University of South Florida convicted of raising funds for Palestinian terrorist group, Islamic Jihad. Professor Alhalabi pled guilty to the assault and battery charges against Kaufman and Campbell in a Tallahassee court decision in February, 2011.
This year on Florida Muslim Capitol day, Bedier got an endorsement from Governor Rick Scott. This despite evidence that Rich Swier in a Red County article “Florida Muslim Brotherhood Organizes Muslim Capitol Day” portrayed Bedier’s “two faces” –speaking about grass roots democracy in both Florida and Egypt while advancing the Muslim Brotherhood’s green flag. Bedier, according to Swier, wants Democracy for the Muslim Brotherhood and not for the rest of us.
Scott may have been under the influence of a Muslim sympathizer and noted conservative, Grover Norquist. Red-bearded Norquist was seen frequently on Governor Scott’s campaign bus during the 2010 gubernatorial election campaign in Florida. Norquist is the doyenne of Conservative lobbyists on Washington’s K-street. He is viewed by many as the architect of the Bush tax cuts. He was instrumental in inviting Washington conservative Muslim American Lawyer and former Congressional aide Suhail Khan to join the American Conservative Union (ACU) board. ACU sponsors the annual, well attended, Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington; a must stop for GOP Presidential candidates and conservative icons. Suhail Khan in a video answer to TUW activist J. Mark Campbell’s question at the 2011 CPAC said that “Sharia doesn’t exist in America.”
For whatever reason today Governor Scott chose to do a ‘Kabuki dance’ with Bedier and his UVA contingent while stiff arming anti-Sharia activists organized by the newly formed The United West (TUW) organization led by Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council. 24 TUW activists showed up, including six teenagers, in Tallahassee to distribute information about the activist group and materials in support of the Florida versions of the “American Laws for American Courts”, SB 1294 and HB 1217. Earlier in the day, several TUW activists approached the Governor’s office and inquired whether he would meet with Bedier and several hundred United voices of America (UVA) supporters. They were informed that nothing was listed on his appointment scheduled. However, later he did show up at the UVA meeting.
TUW activist and videographer J. Mark Campbell approached Governor Scott three times following the meeting with Bedier and specifically asked him why he was meeting with a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and the revolution in Egypt. Scott simply opined, send me your information. Campbell noted to this writer, “either Scott is totally ignorant or he is complicit.” Or was this part of Governor Scott’s ‘kabuki dance’ with the Muslim Brotherhood, without revealing his cards.
We interviewed several TUW activists who were present at the Bedier encounter with Governor Scott. Here were their impressions of what occurred.
The UVA meeting was held in a room on the 22nd floor of the office building adjacent to the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee. TUW activists spoke of constantly being hassling and their pictures taken by security people at the UVA meeting. Some were threatened with being ejected. TUW event coordinator Alan Kornman was told to leave the public area by a Capitol police officer who previously told him that his presence was a disruption. Kornman complied, but then later returned. TUW videographer, Campbell was also ordered to leave but refused. Capitol police later agreed with Campbell’s right to stay.
Bedier told his audience that American Muslims had to become empowered by entering into the political process and standing for elective office. On specific initiatives this year he focused on their opposition to the Florida Senate and House anti-Sharia bills, “American Laws for American Courts” legislation, as an affront to their dignity and freedom of worship as American Muslims. Bedier argued that undocumented aliens should not be subject to criminal prosecution and their children permitted to attend public universities. That was a reference to Florida HB 55 introduced by State Rep. Bullard exempting so-called undocumented students from paying non-resident tuition in the Florida College System. That fit Bedier’s portrayal of undocumented aliens as impoverished immigrants.
Gov. Scott spoke about his themes from his election campaign: jobs, reducing taxes and attracting business to the Sunshine state. He did not endorse their anti- anti-Sharia and pro undocumented aliens stands. While he did pose for a group picture, and a picture with Bedier who blocked the Governor’s exit. When the governor was asked by a TUW activist later why he made the appearance at the UVA event, he answered that he was just doing his job.
Following his departure and the conclusion of the UVA meetings, Governor Scott held a press conference at which J. Mark Campbell posed his questions about the UVA Muslim Brotherhood connections that received no good answers.
Bedier will clearly use the pictures as evidence of an endorsement by Governor Scott. We can visualize the Governor’s media minder spinning the argument that he was simply making a courtesy stop with his ‘constituents’ visiting the State Capitol.
TUW activists present on Florida Muslim Capitol Day said that there were not as many people present as were at last year’s event. Moreover, there were not many young people with the exception of a couple with two small children used as props for supporting ‘education’ aid. The usual assortment of women swathed in head coverings were present including an American convert to Islam. Bedier said the UVA gathering was evidence of Muslims in Florida gaining power and that they should smile at opponents and act superior. Because they represent a superior culture, or so they believe.
I found the interview with the teenage TUW volunteer to be precious and an uplifting experience. She was compelled to come along with her Godmother, because she was concerned about women being oppressed and denied equal rights under Sharia. She commented that it was an empowering experience for her and the other young people who came to the TUW sponsored event because they got to see how government works and how advocacy can affect outcomes. She is 17 and will be off to college next year with the intent of possibly entering the law. She was articulate and thoughtful – a harbinger of the next generation of activists in the TUW “boots on the ground” mold.
It would appear that she knows more about the subject of Sharia and the Muslim Brotherhood than does Governor Scott who appears to have struck a Hogan’s Heroes Sgt Schultz pose saying “I know nothing.” But then it’s all politics, right?
by Jerry Gordon
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