Rep. Lee Zeldin doubled down on his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for allowing a Muslim cleric with a history of anti-Semitism to open a House of Representatives session with prayer.
The New York Republican slammed Pelosi’s “horrible judgement” and told “Fox & Friends” on Sunday that, in light of the accusations of anti-Israel sentiments within the Democratic Party, it was just a “bad call.”
“Either the speaker’s office did not vet this imam at all, or worse, they did vet the imam and then decided that it would have been OK for the imam to come onto the floor of the House of Representatives anyway,” Zeldin said about last week’s opening prayer by Omar Suleiman.
The imam, from Irving, Texas who has previously called for violence against Israel, was introduced by Pelosi before he delivered the invocation ahead of the first Friday of Ramadan prayers.
Militant anti-Semitic imam chosen for opening prayer in US House. Conservatives outraged at ‘bad move’ https://t.co/IBO94t6Jd0
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 11, 2019
Founder and president of the Irving, Texas-based Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, Suleiman has more than once made remarks hoping for a third Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, called Zionists “the enemies of God,” and has inexplicably compared Israeli troops to Nazis.
The Muslim cleric has openly supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and seemed to side with Hamas in a 2014 Facebook post which has since been deleted:“God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. ameen.”
He reportedly called Israel the “51st state” back in 2014, implying that Israel controls American foreign policy, according to The Jerusalem Post, which also reported that he denied the Jewish claim to Jerusalem when he spoke at a rally organized by American Muslims for Palestine protesting the US Embassy move to the Israeli capital.
Suleiman was reportedly invited by his congresswoman, Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, who took to Twitter to defend him after the outcry following his remarks in the House. Zeldin, who is Jewish, was one of the many voices criticizing the invitation as “totally unacceptable.” The Republican lawmaker denounced the move in a tweet immediately after.
Totally unacceptable that @SpeakerPelosi had Omar Suleiman give the opening prayer yesterday in the House. He compares Israel to the Nazis & calls them terrorists, supports Muslim Brotherhood, incites violence calling for a Palestinian antifada & the end of zionism, etc. Bad call pic.twitter.com/bZakjQVwsJ
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) May 10, 2019
“It’s a bad call to have this person. It’s horrible judgment, and after the 2019 that we’ve had so far, where members of their own caucus are pushing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate, it was a bad judgment,” Zeldin told Pete Hegseth Sunday on Fox News.
“Let’s just say all you found was that he compares Israel to Nazis,” he said. “That would be enough to maybe tell that member or other members of the caucus, ‘How about you find another imam if you want to have an imam give an opening prayer?’ But … comparing Israel to terrorists, calling for — and inciting violence, calling for a third Palestinian intifada or the posts on social media that are supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood — as that list goes further on, it’s a bad call to have this person.”
Zeldin pointed to recent controversial comments by Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., warning that anti-Semitism was “infiltrating American politics, the halls of Congress.”
“You should be more sensitive to it, not less sensitive,” he added. “You’re seeing a desensitizing right now that is hugely dangerous if that takes over more and more of the Democratic Party.”
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