By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
In 2007, U.S. federal prosecutors named the Council on American-Islamic Relations as one of several "unindicted co-conspirator" organizations accused of funding Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation, based in Texas. The 2007 case against the Holy Land Foundation ended in a mistrial.
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper told New Times that the organization is dedicated to defending the civil liberties of Muslims who are discriminated against in America. As for Kaufman's accusation that Badran supports terrorism, Hooper said: "As a policy, we don't dignify allegations like this with a response." He continued: "There is a cottage industry of Muslim-bashers out there who spend their time spreading messages of bigotry and intolerance, and we hope that one day, eventually they will stop."
Kaufman, however, is relentless in his desire to see Badran removed from the committee. He points to a 2006 Sun-Sentinel article about South Florida Arabs being afraid to speak publicly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Badran is quoted as saying that "Hamas and Hezbollah are committing acts of defense against the acts of the Israelis" and that "the only weapons that we have are to strap bombs on our bodies and do whatever damage and destruction we can." Kaufman says Badran has made it clear he sympathizes with suicide bombers.
The 2006 article is posted on the same websites as Kaufman's video of Badran. On the site JewishPride.org, the blog moderator writes: "I certainly hope that terrorist [sic] like Joe Badran, who support suicide bombings, are afraid of being arrested and jailed... He got off lucky being deported instead of executed as a terrorist traitor. Hope Joe Badran won't be so lucky."
The website for Muslims Against Sharia, which apologizes for radical Islam, recently gave Badran its Distinguished Islamofascist Award.
Americans Against Hate created an online petition requesting that the School Board remove Badran. About 150 have signed the petition. And on the night before Rosh Hashanah, Kaufman sent a letter to every member of the School Board, the superintendent, and the Florida Department of Education. In it, he wrote, "Badran's support for terrorist organizations and violent views, along with his radical associations, are... a danger to the school children of Broward County... Please do not ignore it... The citizens of the public, especially the parents of Broward's children, have a right to know that their tax dollars are being used to harbor terror-supporting individuals in Broward's school system."
Kaufman says Parks told him that, though he would not remove Badran from the diversity committee, he wouldn't reappoint him when this term is over.
Kaufman , who has no children (or nieces or nephews) who attend Broward County public schools, says that's not good enough. He says the people of Broward County shouldn't have to wait another day.
But actually, they won't need to wait long. Kaufman's fight will soon become irrelevant, because Badran's term on the diversity committee is over next month.