There is growing circumstantial evidence that former Muslim American Society (MAS) President Esam Omeish is waging a stealth campaign in his bid to win Tuesday's Democratic primary for Virginia's House of Delegates District 35.
As we've noted, the Omeish campaign has been silent on his past leadership at MAS, an organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. And he has done all he can to ignore his incendiary 2000 speech praising Palestinians who choose "the jihad way" to liberation.
In 2007, media attention on that speech prompted Omeish to resign from a state immigration panel to which Gov. Tim Kaine had appointed him. But it didn't stop Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from including Omeish in a conference call Thursday featuring Muslim Americans reacting to President Obama's speech to Muslims from Cairo.
On Friday, MAS issued a call for Election Day volunteers. Although the solicitation does not mention Omeish, it was distributed through Omeish's Falls Church mosque, the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center. According to a May 9 story on the swine flu outbreak, Omeish was still an imam at Dar al-Hijra just weeks ago. He remains listed as a member of the mosque's board of directors.
The email appealed for 100 "Muslim Activists" to volunteer to work the election. "If you would like to volunteer to learn direct on hands grassroots political organizing, be a volunteer in the Virginia Primary," it said. It gave the telephone number for MAS-Freedom, the Society's political arm.
In addition, a glowing article on Omeish was issued by MAS-Freedom May 28. It emphasizes that, if elected, Omeish is the only physician in the field and that he would be the first Muslim to serve in the Virginia State House.
The article was written by Aishah Schwartz, whose biography notes her work with MAS-Freedom. It contains a disclaimer saying the article, which makes a passing reference to the other three Democrats in Tuesday's primary, "should in no way be interpreted as a political endorsement" and notes MAS' non-profit status as a 501(c)(3) charity.
Meanwhile, our story Thursday cited campaign finance reports showing Omeish led the field in donations for the last reporting period. Upon closer inspection, his $75,000 haul was fueled by a $7,000 donation from the candidate himself and at least $10,000 from organizations housed at a Herndon office building that was the subject of a federal raid in 2002 as part of an investigation into terror financing. The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), which remains under investigation, gave Omeish $3,500 on April 24, records show.
FBI investigative records from the 1980s show the IIIT leadership long has been suspected of being Muslim Brotherhood members. In addition, the records indicate Brotherhood officials have claimed success in infiltrating the United States Government with sympathetic of (sic) compromised individuals."
In the article, Schwartz quotes Omeish saying, "Truly this is a peoples, grassroots campaign and I welcome everyone's support in whatever way they can contribute."
Especially if they keep it quiet.