Instead of Making Sure Deputies Were Ready, Sheriff Israel Cozied up to Terror Group


There have been plenty of takeaways as to what could have been done differently before and during the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and a lot of them seem to center on Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and the team he has around them.

Beyond the general issues (deputies who didn’t enter the school during the shooting, a new report that indicates the Broward County Sheriff’s Department received over 50 calls to the shooter’s house), Sheriff Israel hasn’t helped things with his general mien.

For instance, there was Israel’s statement about a deputy who refused to enter the school during the shooting: “I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility,” Israel said. Or perhaps there was the moment when, under questioning from CNN’s Jake Tapper over his department’s actions, Israel said that “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books,” which was both incoherent and inappropriate.

However, few things are more worrying than the emerging link between Sheriff Israel and those who are close to terror-linked organizations. One of those individuals is even one of Israel’s top deputies.

According to Conservative Review, Nezar Hamze is one of his most veteran deputies, one who’s helped the sheriff with his outreach to the Islamic community in Florida. He’s also a member in good standing of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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Most Americans probably know CAIR as the foremost civil rights group representing Muslim-Americans. However, they were also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism case in American history, in which prosecutors alleged the head of CAIR was present at the founding meeting of the Palestine Committee, a group of Muslim organizations that helped funnel money to Hamas after the signing of the Oslo accord. An FBI agent also testified that CAIR itself was listed among the members of the Palestine Committee.

As if that weren’t enough, CAIR has significant ties to the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood and has also been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, of all places. And Deputy Namze is currently the regional operations director for the Florida chapter of the organization.

However, Hamze has even previously served as the executive director of CAIR-Florida. But surely he left the organization in better hands, right?

“The current executive director of CAIR-Florida is Hassan Shibly, a bigoted preacher who is known to often target homosexuals,” Jordan Schactel at Conservative Review writes.

Do you think Sheriff Israel should resign?

“Shibly has refused to categorize Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. He has also praised individuals linked to terrorist movements and sometimes takes to social media to bash U.S. soldiers serving overseas.”

And then there’s Deputy Hamze himself. While not necessarily the kind of person to go to bat for Hamaz and Hezbollah in public, he’s frequently seen on TV any time there’s a terrorist incident in Florida (and there do tend to be a few of them) talking about what’s really important: namely, that nobody dare blame this on radical Islamist ideology for the sake of all of the Muslims.

In 2011, two Miami-area imams, Hafiz Khan and his son Izhar Khan, were arrested on charges they had sent money to the Pakistani Taliban, a close ally of Al Qaeda. Hamze’s original worry wasn’t that this man and his son had funneled money to an organization that kills U.S. troops and innocent civilians in the name of a perverted version of the religion.

Instead, he focused on what was really important:  “I’m positive that some of them (local Muslims) are scared and won’t go to the mosque for a period of time,” Hamze said. (For the record, Hafiz Khan was convicted and Izhar Khan was acquitted.)

Hamze has also been an outreach tool for Sheriff Israel in trying to cozy up with the Muslim community in South Florida. In fact, according to Frontpage Mag, he introduced the sheriff at the Darul Uloom mosque in Pembroke Pines during an Iftar dinner speech several years back.

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According to Frontpage Mag, the imam of the mosque at the time was Shafayat Mohamed, who “was thrown off a number of boards in Broward County for his outspokenness against homosexuals.”

In one article on Darul Uloom’s website from 2005, he attributed the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to homosexuality: “I have been pondering over the reasons for the recent Tsunami, ever since the incident took place… a time when thousands would have been enjoying themselves during the holidays in the ‘GAY PARADISE’… (A)fter days of pondering, I was able to find a major similarity with the Tsunami and Sodom & Gomorrah.”

Wonderful place to spend your Iftar dinner.

This is but one piece of the puzzle that’s beginning to emerge about Sheriff Israel and the department that he runs. We’ve seen plenty of others, and we can fill in the blanks. In isolation, Hamze’s position and the sheriff’s questionable outreach efforts wouldn’t be a matter of grave concern. Taken as a whole, it’s yet another sign that Israel simply isn’t right for his position. It’s time for his resignation.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture