Hillary Clinton VP Pick Tim Kaine’s Ties to Radical Islam-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Claims about Tim Kaine having longstanding ties to radical Islam went viral after Hillary Clinton named the Virginia senator as her running mate.
Claims about Tim Kaine’s connections to radical Islam are true, false and misleading.
Those rumors started with a report by Breitbart that appeared under the headline, “Clinton VP Pick Tim Kaine’s Islamist Ties” that makes three specific claims about Kaine.
We took a look at all three claims:
Tim Kaine Appointed Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Suspect to State Immigration Commission-Truth! & Fiction!
Tim Kaine appointed Dr. Esam Omeish to serve on the Virginia Commission on Immigration while Kaine served as the state’s governor in 2007. Omeish resigned a month later after a video from a political rally in 2000 surfaced that showed him calling for support of the “jihad way.”
Another video showed Omeish call for a crowd gathered for at a Jerusalem Day rally in December 2000 to stand with Muslims fighting in the Middle East. In the video, Omeish says,
After requesting Omeish’s resignation, Kaine said in a statement that, “Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me. Dr. Omeish indicated he did not want this controversy to distract from the important work of the commission.”
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) said in a statement that it was “unfortunate” that Kaine did not thoroughly vet Omeish prior to his appointment to the commission:
Many of Dr. Omeishﾒs statements and activities in the past have in fact been a manifestation of political Islam and his attempt to use the Muslim community as a tool in a specific Islamist political agenda. This not only violates the core principles of the separation of religion and politics, which is a cornerstone of our nation, but is in fact the main mechanism of influence of transnational Islamism. His public advocacy of jihad in the Middle East by co-religionists implicitly via terrorist organizations like Hezbullah or HAMAS against Israel, an ally of the United States, should certainly highlight the toxicity of Islamism as a political ideology — regardless of the ideological jujitsu one uses to define ‘jihad’.
For his part, Omeish denied that he had advocated for violence, saying, “In Islam, jihad is a broad word that means constant struggle — struggling spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically — in all respects. So my words were in support of people who are resisting occupation and people who are trying to . . . remove oppression from their land.”
So, while it’s true that Omeish resigned from the immigration commission after videos came to light of him making controversial comments about jihad, the claim that Omeish himself was suspected of terrorism is false.
That claim appears to stem from his involvement with the Muslim American Society (MAS) — and allegations that the group has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Omeish served as president of multiple regional chapters of MAS, and he also served on its national board of trustees, according to his website.
However, MAS denies any current ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The group, which was founded in 1993, acknowledges that the Muslim Brotherhood (or Ikhawan) played an influential part in post-colonial Muslim history, and, as a result, literature written by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been used to form the foundation of MAS:
The Ikhwan are an influential part of post-colonial Muslim history, and have given rise to many prominent Muslim thinkers. This naturally resulted in the literature of those Islamic movements becoming the foundational texts for the intellectual component for Islamic work in America. We believe this had the advantage of protecting the majority of Muslims from extremist ideologies. With Muslims establishing themselves more and more as an integral part of American society, there was a need for an ongoing effort to re-evaluate the literature. This resulted in a re-examination of various authors and their contributions to the legacy. The outcome was the realization that the majority of what was written by Hassan al-Banna can be categorized as foundational thought (e.g. balanced understanding of Islam, societal reform, peaceful change, etc.) while a part of what he wrote may have been applicable to his time and place, but not to Muslims in America.
MAS is not listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Beside that, we could not find any official documents to support the claim that Omeish was suspected of terrorism.
Tim Kaine Spoke At Dinner Honoring Muslim Brotherhood Terror Suspect- Truth! & Misleading!
While running for the Senate in 2011, Tim Kaine spoke before the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) during a “Candidate Night” dinner hosted by the organization.
Kaine was among “46 Democratic and Republican politicans making their pitch for election or reelection to state offices” during the dinner, IIIT reported in a 2011 press release about the dinner. And, as the former governor of Virginia, Kaine was invited to speak at the dinner.
At the Candidate Night dinner, Dr. Jamal Barzingi, a man who was reportedly instrumental in establishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in the United States, was honored with IIIT’s lifetime achievement award, according to the press release.
Barzingi’s obituary (he died in 2015) reports that he was the president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in “its early days.” During that time, the Washington Post reported in 2004, Bazingi shaped the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Egyptian elections:
The life story of one of the IIIT network’s leaders illustrates the key role it has played in the global politics of the Ikhwan. Jamal M. Barzinji fled his native Iraq in 1969 when the Baathist regime started executing fellow Islamists. An engineering student and top MSA leader, he joined MSA associates in 1971 to host the top leaders of the Egyptian Brotherhood, just released from 16 years in prison, for two weeks of meetings in Indiana.
He and other then-MSA leaders helped persuade the Egyptian brothers to try participating in Egyptian elections as an alternative to underground struggle, he said. “It was one of our main contributions to the Ikhwan movement worldwide,” he said. He and his associates likewise have hosted many other Islamist leaders here over the years to “show them how wrong they are in being anti-American,” Barzinji said.
But again, there’s no indication that Barzinji was suspected of terrorism. In fact, Barzinji actively worked with Republican strategist and thought leader Grover Norquist to help Republicans win over Muslim voters. Norquist later said the Muslim vote won the presidency for George W. Bush in 2000.
And Kaine’s appearance at the IIIT Candidate Night dinner has been mischaracterized. Kaine and nearly 50 other politicians from Virginia were in attendance that night to court support for their campaigns, which isn’t out of the ordinary.
Tim Kaine Accepted Islamist Financial Support-Truth! & Fiction!
Claims that Tim Kaine accepted funding from an Islamist are a mixed bag of truth and fiction.
The Breitbart article correctly states that Barzingi’s group, IITC, donated $10,000 to New Dominion PAC in 2011 — and that New Dominion PAC donated $43,050 to Kaine’s gubernatorial campaign from 2003-2005.
So, clearly, Kaine received contributions from New Dominion PAC more than six years before IITC donated $10,000 to the PAC. That connection between IITC and Kaine’s political career doesn’t check out.
Kaine did receive $7,800 from American Islamic organizations from 2011-2012, according to the Islamist Money in Politics database. But that’s not very unusual. Candidates from both parties are listed as having received donations from Islamic groups (even though Democrats usually receive more), so it doesn’t prove much.
In conclusion, claims about Tim Kaine’s “longstanding ties” to radical Islam are a mixed bag of truth and fiction. It seems, however, that tidbits of truth have often been manipulated and misconstrued to support the larger narrative that Kaine has radical Islamic ties.