Anyone who uses terms including “jihadist,” “violent jihad,” “Islamist terrorism” or “Islamic extremist” is a hater who deserves to be shunned, an influential Muslim political leader argues.
Esam Omeish issued this call last Friday on Facebook, in the emotional wake of the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand.
Omeish is a board member at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., which has exhibited Muslim Brotherhood sympathies. He previously served as president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which prosecutors say was established as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.
“Anyone who uses the following terms is Islamophobic and must stop their hate,” he said.
Memo to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups which have “jihad” in their name: Esam Omeish thinks you hate Muslims.
His list of telltale words and phrases also a bit surprising, given that Omeish’s 2000 praise for Palestinians who chose “the jihad way” to liberation, captured on video by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, led him to resign from a state immigration committee in 2007.
Other statements Omeish now sees as inherently hateful include “Islam hates us,” “Islam is not a religion,” and ban “Shariah law.”
“Islamophobia kills!” he wrote. “Enough of this hate and Islamophobia!”
Granted, his comments came just as the world learned of the horrific terrorist attack that killed 50 Muslims during prayer at two New Zealand mosques.
But Omeish, even in an emotional state, may not be the best messenger to call people out for hate.
In addition to praising “the jihad way,” he also mourned Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004 after Israel assassinated him saying, “It is our tax dollars that have killed our beloved Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.”
He wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama in February 2016 urging support for the Mujahideen Shura Council of Derna against the secular militia leader Khalifa Haftar. But the council has ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as a Libyan Al-Qaeda supporter wrote in a 2015 treatise called “Sorry O’ you Claimed ‘Islamic State’ in Libya.”
John Rossomando is a senior analyst at the Investigative Project on Terrorism.