How One Muslim Operative in Minnesota is Corrupting a Corner Stone of American Political System:
One of the corner stones of American political system is the separation of Church and State. The principal equally applies to Mosques.
Unfortunately, Mosques in Minnesota are running contrary to this principle and could potentially draw the attention of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An investigation by the IRS could lead to closure of Mosques and liquidation of assets.
The leading character in this impending scandal is Azad Zaman. Azad is no stranger to scandals and controversies. He made news in the past for financial fraud and links to foreign terror groups.
The American Civil Liberty Union(ACLU), the Minnesota chapter sued Azad in 2009 for illegally channeling taxpayer funds to privately held firm. The fraud scheme involved a pair of charter schools in the suburbs of Inner Grove Heights and Blaine operated under the auspices of Tarik Ibn Ziyad(TIZA). Both schools were ultimately shutdown and their assets liquidated.
In 2014, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a predominately Muslim nation in the Middle East declared Azad’s parent organization a terror group. Azad is the Minnesota chapter Executive Director of the Muslim American Society(MAS).
Azad's ambition is no secret. He made many attemps for political appointment but failed.The vehicle for this ambition has been Mosques.
The most recent memorable example of politicizing Mosques is the endorsement of Erin Murphy for Governor and Keith Ellison for Minnesota Attorney General in the 2018 DFL primary.
In June at the height of the DFL primary, nearly 20 Mosques leaders met at Al-Ihsan Islamic Center in St.Paul and were made to sign a statement. The statement was later converted to digital political brochure and advertised on social media platforms. The advertisement asked Muslims in Minnesota to vote for the endorsed candidates as though it was religious “Fatwa” or edict. All support to you buy resources from a non-profit center.
Mosques endorsing partisan candidates in the 2018 DFL primary was not friends supporting friends. It was an effort to skirt separation of Church and State. The only difference was that Mosques were substituted for a Church.
Azad is at it again. He's already angling a seat in a transition team in a possible Governor Tim Walz administration utilizing Mosques as a political platform.
Politicizing Mosques this way is extremely dangerous in many ways: A) Mosques are non-profits and risk investigation by the IRS for endorsing partisan political candidates. B) The political backlash could be far more consequential for the Muslim community and America. C) This kind of politicking inserts division and infighting into Mosques.
Mosques are sacred spaces to worship in the Somali culture, the largest Muslim subculture in Minnesota. It’s where people leave their politics behind and seek refuge from contentious political issues.
Azad, a Bangladesh origin had shown no regard for the traditional role of Mosques. One reason is that he is no religious scholar and only motivated by political power. The problem is that his aggressive pursue of political power and take no prison approach wrapped in religion is destroying a fabric of American political system and taking Mosques to crazy town.
Azad is a political operative who peddles influence powered by MAS money. He’s corrupting a corner stone of American political system. Moreover, he’s exposing an incredible risk to community assets. The very first step of rooting out this corruption and mitigating this risk is to expose it.
It’s imperative that Minnesotans of all faiths acknowledge the risks Azad is exposing to Mosques particularly those led by Imams with minimum exposure or comprehension of American political system. Financial constraints make new American Imams vulnerable and make Azad’s foreign money attractive.
It’s a scandal lurking at a plain sight. We can prevent it together.
It was the ACLU lawsuit that trigger the eventual shutdown and liquidation of TIZA. Azad is channeling money in the reverse direction this time.
Large sums of money are flowing into Mosques and Imams are being pressured to endorse political partisan candidates. The outcome could be far more reaching than TIZA with more serve consequence.
Politicizing Mosques might be expedient in contested elections. Mosques endorsements may make difference on the outcome of limited races. But it incredibly risks community assets. It’s unholy, Un-Islamic and Un-American.
Preserving separation of Church and State is vital for our democracy. The concept equally applies to Mosques. It protects all Americans from theocratic state.