Nezar Hamze’s application to become a member of the Broward Republican Executive Committee and to create a Muslim Republican Club was denied Monday.
Hamze is the executive director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose mission is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”
Islam and tea-party activism clashed at a raucous meeting Monday night when a group of Broward County Republicans blocked a Muslim activist as a member of the party’s executive committee.
Republicans, who changed their rules to publicly vet Nezar Hamze and then vote on his application by secret ballot, said they didn’t oppose him because he was a Muslim — but because he is associated with the Center for American-Islamic Relations, whose Washington-area affiliate was an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal terrorism indictment.
Hamze recently told The Florida Independent he is proud of GOP social conservatism, saying that “traditional Islamic values really line up with the Republican Party’s family values platform.”
“This is my personal political view,” Hamze told the Independent about his desire to join the GOP cause. “CAIR is a nonprofit. As the director for CAIR, I can’t engage in supporting or not supporting one party or the other, or a candidate. This is not a CAIR thing. As a matter of fact, I got questioned about this from CAIR.”
According to the Herald, Hamze was asked whether he supported Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale:
The tea-party Republican has repeatedly denounced Islam and clashed with Hamze. So has Joe Kaufman, chairman of the group Americans Against Hate and former vice-chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition of South Florida. “Are you willing to support Congressman Allen West… as a Republican?” Kaufman said loudly in the microphone. “Will you denounce terrorism?”