According to the group’s website, “Citizens’ Crime Watch is a nonprofit county-wide crime prevention program funded by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, grants and donations.” This would sound, to anyone, like a very noble and civic-minded undertaking. That is until he/she finds out about Sofian Zakkout, the pro-terror anti-Semite who sits on the Citizens’ Crime Watch Executive Committee, a position he has exploited for years.
Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout is the founder and President of the Miami, Florida-based American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA). In July 2014, AMANA was the main sponsor of a pro-Hamas rally held outside the Israeli Consulate in Downtown Miami.
It is not out of the ordinary for Zakkout to be involved in such a thing, as he regularly posts, onto the internet, photos and videos of Hamas militants and leaders and has, himself, stated in Arabic that “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” At the rally, Zakkout is shown on video smiling, as a sea of his followers repeatedly scream, “We are Hamas.”
This month alone, Zakkout posted to his personal Facebook page a video of a speech made by senior political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and a report from Hamas representative in Lebanon, Ali Baraka.
However, Hamas is not the only terrorist group Zakkout promotes. This month, he as well posted a video of a speech made by now-deceased leader of Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, Abdullah al-Muhaysini. Before he was killed, al-Muhaysini, a Saudi cleric, worked to bring al-Qaeda and ISIS together in Syria. Over the video, Zakkout wrote in Arabic, “Allahu Akbar, God is great and thank God.”
This past March, Zakkout posted a graphic featuring a montage of deceased terrorist leaders. The graphic included many well-known Hamas figures, like Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and chief bomb maker of Hamas Yahya Ayyash. It also included Osama bin Laden and bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam.
Besides illegal terrorist groups, Zakkout also promotes much bigotry, especially that which is aimed at Jews. He frequently refers to Jews as “pigs and monkeys.” In February, on his Facebook page, he promoted a video claiming “the Holocaust was faked.” In June, he clicked “like” on Facebook in response to a cartoon depicting a tree calling on a Muslim brandishing a rifle to murder the Jew that was hiding behind it [the tree]. The tree stated in Arabic, “Oh Muslim! Oh Muslim! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.”
This month, Zakkout made the claim that religious Jews have a predisposition toward thievery. Zakkout posted onto Facebook photos he apparently had taken of three Orthodox Jews at a supermarket, while writing the following: “I walked into a large store in Miami, Florida. I found those who call themselves Observant Jews stealing grapes and fruit… They stole our country and steal everywhere, even here in America. Uglier than what I saw.” And he signed it “Sofian.”
Also this month, Zakkout posted a video in which Al-Azhar University scholar Ibrahim Al-Khouli attacked Jews, Christians and homosexuals. He stated, “[T]he title ‘Dialogue of the Divine Religions’ is a deception and a lie. There is no such thing as ‘divine religions.’ Allah has only one religion, Islam… To call ‘divine’ what has been distorted by the Church and by the Jews… is a deception of Muslims and non-Muslims alike… [S]uch a dialogue is between a lamb and a wolf, with the lamb being the Muslims and the wolf being the others.”
Al-Khouli further stated, “Between Islam and between Christianity and Judaism, there is a basic contradiction in the essence of faith. What moral values do we share? Fornication and promiscuity? The values of homosexuality? Of the marriage of monks in churches? The marriage of one man to another? Childbirth out of wedlock? This is the downfall of mankind – decent to a level lower than animals.”
This exact sentiment is echoed in an article that was previously placed on Zakkout’s AMANA website, titled ‘The Call for the Unity of Religions – A False and Dangerous Call.’ The author of the article states, “The Christians and Jews want the Muslims to be like them. That is why they support this deceptive call for ‘unity.’”
Further evidence of bigotry coming from both Zakkout and his group AMANA is displayed with their promotion of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Zakkout and his group were chastised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for posting an anti-Semitic Duke video onto the AMANA website; the ADL described the video as being “venomous.” Zakkout calls Duke “a man to believe in!” and says of Duke, “I respect him for his honesty!”
The most disturbing part about all of the above is that Sofian Zakkout, in the midst of perpetrating this, is associated with the boards of community anti-crime organizations. One, Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County, has him sitting on its Executive Committee and listed on its corporation as an “Officer/Director.”
Many of the leaders of Citizens’ Crime Watch, including its President Irving Heller and its Vice President Juan P. Perez, are associated with the Miami-Dade Police Department. Last month, on the group’s website, Perez’s name replaced Miami-Dade Police Director JD Patterson’s name as Vice President, yet Zakkout’s name remained intact.
According to the group, “When neighborhood watch is fully operative, you and your neighbors become the ‘Eyes and Ears’ of [the] local police department… The program educates residents in crime prevention, homeland security, and natural disasters.”
How can this organization educate the public on any of these things, when it is harboring an individual who is a supporter of terror and bigotry and a potential threat to the community?
The inclusion of Sofian Zakkout on the board of Citizen’s Crime Watch is rendering this group irrelevant at best and a risk to national security at worst.
It is time that this travesty was ended and for law enforcement to launch a criminal investigation into Zakkout’s ongoing support of terrorism and anti-Semitic incitement. He should be dismissed from his position at Citizens’ Crime Watch immediately. That he is still there raises the question of “Who is guarding the guardians?”
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.