Broward County, Florida, is on everyone’s lips in the United States. What was just another American community has been launched into the spotlight as the location of the latest mass-casualty school shooting. Yet, Broward County, which is just north of Miama and includes Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, has a sinister, and seemingly forgotten, relationship with Islam and terrorism.
A 2002 article in Florida’s The Ledger makes the case that Broward County is a hotbed for terrorists. Several terror plots have been discovered in the county, mosques are well attended, and then there’s the connection to the 9/11 hijackers:
Jose Padilla, accused of conspiring to explode a “dirty bomb” in the United States, worked at a suburban Taco Bell and discovered Islam here.
Two young Pakistani immigrants from nearby Hollywood allegedly hatched a plan to attack South Florida power plants and a National Guard Armory.
And several of the Sept. 11 hijackers roamed the area’s libraries, gyms and beachfront motels.
They all made their home -- at least temporarily -- in South Florida’s Broward County, leading some to wonder if this growing suburban and tourist area north of Miami has become a common destination for would-be terrorists.
The 16-year-old article went into detail about all of the cases which occurred in just the nine months leading up to the report, which included the 9/11 terror attack. Seven of the 19 men responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on that fateful day spent time in Broward County: “Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi went to a Hollywood bar the week before the attacks and played video golf.”
At the time, a 21-year-old computer tech, Safraz Jehaludi, was charged with threats to blow up the White House and a nearby power plant. Forty-year-old Adham Hassoun had also been arrested on an immigration violation and attended the same mosque in Fort Lauderdale as Padilla mentioned above.
The South Florida Muslim community, noted as Arabs on government census, showed a 70% increase over 10 years, bringing the population to 11,000 — and that was back in 2002. The report added:
Observers say the county’s growth and diversity have added a layer of anonymity for potential wrongdoers. Recent census figures show Broward County’s population grew nearly 30 percent during the past decade to more than 1.6 million.
Others point to the proximity to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and the Port of Miami, two of the state’s busiest ports, and the region’s airports and flight schools.
Years later, in 2015, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department had added its first Muslim deputy to the force, a move that shocked and worried residents. Appointing Nezar Hamze was none other than Sheriff Scott Israel, the same sheriff that ordered his deputies to remain outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland two weeks ago while 17 students and teachers were massacred inside, as well as blocked first responders from treating the victims.
While there is no terrorism connection to the school shooting, this information serves to provide another glimpse into a department that has utterly failed its community on every level. Currently, there are over 66 investigations against Broward County Sheriff’s employees including charges of drug trafficking and kidnapping, 40 of which have occurred under Sheriff Israel’s watch including the failures during the school shooting.
FrontPage Mag reported on Deputy Hamze in 2015 and noted that he is a leader in Florida’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, a terror-tied organization and supporter of Hamas. But that’s not Hamze’s only tie to radical Islam:
Nezar Hamze is the Regional Operations Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Florida chapter of CAIR. Previously, he served as CAIR-Florida’s Executive Director. Currently, the Executive Director of CAIR-Florida is Hassan Shibly, an individual who has referred to Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization” and who, in August 2014, tweeted, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.”
Besides CAIR, Hamze has been active in another group which is located on the UAE [United Arab Emirates] terror list and operating within America, Islamic Relief (IR).
“The Broward County Sheriff’s Office made a colossal blunder in giving a radical Islamist like Hamze the position of Deputy Sheriff,” wrote Joe Kaufman in FrontPage. “No one affiliated with a terrorist organization – let alone two – should have anything to do with law enforcement, except as a defendant.”
Sheriff Israel made excuses to the Broward community for this hire, as Kaufman noted in another FrontPage article, assuring them that Hamze was vetted “from every angle that one would expect.” But get this: in the year leading up to Hamze’s new job, the sheriff was “hopping around from radical mosque to radical mosque, getting his smiling face photographed with a number of known Muslim extremists in South Florida.”
And then this happened, as Kaufman reported:
It turns out, during that time period, he has had his own Muslim extremist liaison to introduce him to those radical mosques, Nezar Hamze, the local head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and now Deputy Sheriff.
Since the school shooting, Sheriff Israel has stated on countless national media appearances that arming teachers is a terrible idea to keep students safe. However, Hamze has been to local mosques to teach Muslims how to defend themselves with firearms and to promote the Second Amendment. Here’s video:
There’s also video (at top of article) of Hamze and Sheriff Israel giving a talk at a mosque during Ramadan telling them of the department’s reluctance to jail young people in Broward County. Israel can be heard saying local kids are given “second and third chances” when committing crimes. That must really make the students at Marjory Stoneman feel much better about the shooter who was reported as armed and dangerous to the sheriff’s office dozens of times. He was obviously given more than three chances.
WND adds a few more juicy tidbits to this story:
In June 2007, Hamze covered for his cousin, Abdelaziz Bilal Hamze, after the relative murdered a woman, running her over with a minivan and dragging her body for several miles down the road, scattering her body parts. The cousin then attempted to flee the U.S. to the family’s native Lebanon.
Nezar Hamze was quoted by media saying that while his cousin “made some bad decisions,” he “may have been a little threatened.”
In a column last November for the Gainesville Sun, Hamze dismissed the threat of Islamic terrorism.
He said the shootings in recent years in Las Vegas; Orlando; Blacksburg, Virginia; San Bernardino, California, and many other places “are horrific and deadly examples of mass killings that were committed by criminals that come from various ethnicities and backgrounds.”
“The over emphasis on ‘Muslim’ threats and the vilifying of Islam has made us less safe and has misdirected our much-needed safety resources to play a political chess game,” Hamze wrote.
In reality, it’s the Broward County Sheriff’s Department that has “made us less safe.” Like the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy (and former CIA) Clare Lopez recently stated on Twitter:
And you thought this was as bad as it could get: