Newsletter #11 – More AMAC Profiles

Muslims living in Tennessee have demanded an elevated status in state politics and Governor Haslam’s administration has provided it.  The most recent as discussed in earlier newsletters, has been the partnership created by Commissioner Gibbons’ Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, and the AMAC.

Some members of the AMAC have been discussed in previous newsletters – it is continued here:

Daoud Abudiab, Kamel Daouk, and Rasheed Fakhruddin, are all AMAC members, but they also share another, perhaps more troubling connection – they are individually linked to Awadh Binhazim.

Awadh Binhazim has been a central figure in Tennessee’s Muslim community.  He is aggressive in Islamic dawa (prosletizing), promoting Shariah as an immutable and politically dominant way of life, and freely associates with Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

Prior to relocating to Nashville, Binhazim was working in Texas.  A January 9, 1997 article in the Austin Statesman newspaper identified him as the president of the Austin chapter of the Hamas affiliate, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  In 2008, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.  In 2011, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld CAIR’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Approximately two years after settling in Nashville, Binhazim started the Olive Tree Education organization, a propaganda arm of the Islamic movement that provided lectures and classes at Vanderbilt, Tennessee State University, to local civic groups and law enforcement.  Sometime after the “Losing Our Sons” video became public, and Binhazim was exposed, the Olive Tree Education website was taken down.

A November 11, 2002 University Wire article and a March 19, 2003 AP article identified Binhazim as a spokesman and “public relations director” for the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN).  The imam during this time was Abdulhakim ali Mohamed – he will be covered in a separate newsletter.  Binhazim was also on the Shura Board of the ICN for many years (the shura board is a consultative body which implements Sharia law).

In 2006, Binhazim was part of a panel at the Vanderbilt First Amendment Center discussing the “Mohammed cartoons”.  At that time he was identified as an adjunct professor of Islam at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. Binhazim was quoted as stating, “Islam is not something to ridicule” and furthermore “all Muslims” view the publication of the cartoons as a “provocation.”  It was reported that he openly supported suppressing speech and that Muslims “do not share the value of free speech as it is recognized here”; a statement consistent with Islamic blasphemy laws and current actions by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Islamic organizations in the U.S. and Europe, to criminalize speech that Muslims find offensive.

A May 19, 2011 article about a Vanderbilt Muslim Student Association (MSA) program identified Binhazim as the volunteer Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt.  Binhazim confirmed during the program’s Q&A that Islamic law mandates capital punishment for homosexuality.  This was widely reported and the video posted on youtube.” When he was asked whether he accepted or rejected the Islamic punishment for homosexuality, Binhazim also confirmed, that “as a Muslim he does not have a choice of whether to accept or reject what Islam teaches.”