It took well over a year, but the verdict is finally in. Ahmad Saleem, the former head of the Orlando, Florida office for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is headed to prison.
On the night of May 20, 2015, Ahmad Abrar Saleem was arrested in Clermont, Florida, a short distance from his Orlando home. He was charged with “use of computer to seduce/solicit/entice a child to commit sex act” and “travel to seduce, solicit, lure a child to commit sex act.”
Saleem was intending to meet the twelve-year-old girl he had been chatting with online, but instead, Saleem met Sheriff’s deputies waiting for him and 21 others in a child sex sting operation. He was detained at 9:35 pm and booked at one-in-the-morning.
This event surely had erased much happier times for Saleem. It was only a few months earlier that he had met with his fellow CAIR leaders to discuss organizational strategy.
A photo taken in February 2015 shows a grinning Saleem posing alongside CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, CAIR-Florida CEO and Regional Operations Director Nezar Hamze, CAIR-Florida Immigration/Asylum Attorney Floyd Huntz, CAIR-Florida Research & Special Projects Coordinator Muazz Hassan, and then-CAIR-Florida Communications Coordinator Ali Akin Kurnaz. Palm trees and the ocean fill the idyllic scenery behind them.
Then, in March 2015, Saleem joined Kurnaz for a press conference to announce CAIR’s plan to initiate a $30 million lawsuit against the FBI over the death of Boston Marathon bomber associate, Ibragim Todashev.
During questioning from the FBI, Todashev admitted to his and Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s involvement in a triple murder that took place in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 11, 2011, well over a year prior to the Boston bombing. The three victims, who were all Jewish, had their throats so violently slashed that they were nearly decapitated.
According to witness reports, following his confession, Todashev, a former mixed martial artist, became enraged and hurled a coffee table at the FBI agent conducting the interview, giving the agent a gash on his head which he would receive stitches for. Todashev then allegedly lunged at the agent with a metal pole, to which the agent responded by opening fire on him. Todashev, once again, attempted to attack, before dying with six shots to the torso and one to the head.
Saleem and CAIR, on the other hand, described Todashev’s ending as a “wrongful death,” employing CAIR’s time-honored strategy of disregarding facts while spinning Muslim terrorists into victims. Given CAIR’s extremist history, how could anyone consider anything the group says to be honest and truthful?
CAIR is widely known as a group that has deep ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. The former head of Hamas and current spokesman for Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, had a hand in CAIR’s founding in 1994; CAIR has been named by the United States government as a party to Hamas financing; and different officials from CAIR, who have had involvement with Hamas (as well as other terror groups), have been convicted in and/or deported from the US.
CAIR’s Florida chapter does little to distinguish itself from its DC-based parent. In August 2010, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly, who has denied that Hezbollah is a terrorist group, wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...” In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
But none of this is of any practical use to Ahmad Saleem now. If he wishes to defend violence or terror or curse Israel or Jews, he will have to do so from behind bars. On December 1, 2016, a judge found Saleem guilty of “Child Abuse.” He was sentenced to two years in a state prison.
At the end of the two years, Saleem will be responsible for $36,500 in incarceration costs and another $1000 in fines and fees.
Following his stay, he may have an issue finding a job as a ‘sexual offender.’ He probably will not be able to rely on his parents, as both their jobs deal with youth, his father being a pediatrician and his mother being a school teacher. And it is doubtful his Psychology degree from UCF will help, except to demonstrate that he was more suited as a patient than a student.
Also, his job at the Orlando office of CAIR has been taken up by Rasha Mubarak, a past organizer of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel demonstrations. For CAIR to bring back a convicted pedophile would certainly be viewed as a lot worse than the fact that they hired him in the first place.
However, Ahmad Saleem’s predicament did and does hurt CAIR. While some people are willing to overlook CAIR’s association with international terrorism and even defend it, no one wishes to be associated with the stigma of sexual predation and deviancy.
Another Orlando CAIR representative who hurt the group this year was CAIR-Florida’s Orlando Outreach Coordinator, Ruanne Zein. In May, Zein posted onto her Facebook page an offensive Holocaust joke depicting a smiling Adolf Hitler with a sandwich in front of him along with the caption, “The best Kosher deli sandwiches are made in the Reichstag. I love the Jews!”
As a result of this author’s exposing Zein’s posting, she is no longer a staff member at CAIR. The difference between her and Saleem, though, is that she gets to go home, and Saleem gets maybe a phone call and visiting hours.
Saleem’s conviction is yet another example of CAIR’s disreputable track record of hiring controversial figures who would later serve jail terms, usually for offenses related to terror and violence.
Sexual predation can now officially be added to the list of sordid activities coming from CAIR representatives.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.