Sometimes things aren’t as they seem, and sometimes, on the other hand, they are exactly as they seem. Back in September, the mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, Mohamed Khairullah, was at JFK International Airport in New York City, on his way home from visiting relatives in Turkey, when “Islamophobia” struck and destroyed everything in its path. “We just wanted to go and have a good time,” he said, but upon return, he was held for no less than three hours for questioning. “I don’t go near shady organizations,” he declared and added: “I believe that my constitutional rights were violated” by questions about whether he had met with any terrorists. It turns out, however, that maybe those who questioned Khairullah weren’t racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” after all: Khairullah has a history of support for jihad activity.
Terrorism researcher John Rossomando noted Thursday that “it is more likely that Khairullah was pulled aside by the CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] due to his frequent travel to the Syrian war zone via Istanbul, former CBP agent Phil Haney, who specialized in targeting potential terrorists, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). “This has to do with indicators of potential terrorism,” said Haney.
Also: “The mayor worked on relief missions and was a board member with Watan USA, the American branch of the London, England–headquartered Watan Foundation. Watan’s partner organizations and some of its leaders have supported and assisted al-Qaeda in Syria. Its co-founder and president, Moaz al-Sibaai, belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood–linked Muslim Council of Britain’s Business and Economics Committee. A 2015 IRS tax form listed Khairullah as a Watan USA board member.”
Not only that. “Khairullah’s social media shows he repeatedly expressed support for Jabhat al-Nusra,” al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. “Khairullah even thanked ISIS for taking bandits off the streets of Syria.”
“A good thing that ISIS has done is to eliminate the thieves and bandits in their area of control. Allah knows what was behind this move,” Khairullah wrote in a Jan. 5, 2014, tweet.”
But Khairullah didn’t note any of that when he decided to go public with this complaint about his questioning by the CBP. “It was definitely a hurtful moment where I’m thinking in my mind that this is not the America that I know,” he said. “I am very familiar with our laws and Constitution, and everything that was going on there was a violation.”
Even worse, “it’s flat-out insulting. It’s flat-out stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs.”
The litigation director for the New York chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ahmed Mohamed, added: “And the only reason they’re taken back to secondary inspection and questioned that way is because of their faith, what they happen to be wearing, and what direction they pray.”
But now we know that Khairullah’s faith wasn’t the reason why he was questioned, and the mayor and Ahmed Mohamed likely knew that when they went before the cameras at their press conference. So what is their game? If Mayor Mohamed Khairullah is against jihad terror, as there is no doubt whatsoever that he is, then he shouldn’t mind a bit of inconvenience at airports. We all have to go through it. I myself have been questioned several times at airports by officials who spotted me working on my website Jihad Watch on my laptop. Should I have accepted this as the price of living in America after 9/11, and been grateful that the officers in question were doing their job? Or should I have whined about “stereotyping” and contacted CAIR (I’m not Muslim, but surely they would stand in solidarity with me in such a case, wouldn’t they)?
The ominous aspect of Mohamed Khairullah’s rage and complaints is what their effects will likely be. In the future, agents may become more wary of questioning Muslims who have traveled overseas; this will make it easier for Islamic jihadis to get into the country. Is that what Mohamed Khairullah, the patriotic mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, wants? Is that what any American should want?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.