Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker apologizes for language he used to describe American Muslims Council in 1998
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker apologizes for language he used to describe American Muslims Council in 1998

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a publication called Suburban Chicagoland

Arab Americans in Illinois called on gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker Wednesday to publicly apologize for insensitive comments he made in which he accused a Muslim American group of being “terrorists” when he ran for Congress in 1998.

Arab American Democratic Club President Samir Khalil said the comment has never been properly addressed by Pritzker and raises a concern that he remains “anti-Arab” and anti-Muslim.”

Pritzker ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois 9th Congressional seat in 1998 against rival State Senator Howard Carroll. During the campaign, Pritzker accused Carroll of accepting funds from a Muslim donor who he alleged had “ties to terrorists.” Jan Schakowsky won the Democratic nomination succeeding Congressman Sidney Yates.

“J.B. Pritzker is now running for another important position, as governor of the State of Illinois and he must clean the slate of his past comments,” Khalil said. […]

Pritzker accused Carroll of accepting money from leaders of the American Muslims Council, which is one of the state’s most reputable Islamic organizations.

* More

The Arab American Democratic Club represents Arab American voters in Chicagoland and in Illinois and had previously invited Pritzker to address the group to outline his campaign platform on standing up to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination.

But Pritzker refused to attend. Later, the AADC formally endorsed gubernatorial candidate Christopher Kennedy for governor.

“Mr. Pritzker’s refusal to address our members was an insult on its own. But it is compounded by his failure to set the record straight and publicly address the issues of Arab American and Muslim American rights,” Khalil said.

* From the Pritzker campaign’s Jordan Abudayyeh…

JB apologizes for the language he used almost 20 years ago and has demonstrated throughout his life a commitment to civil rights and justice. When Donald Trump tried to ban Muslims from entering the United States, JB was at O’Hare protesting. JB has said if Trump tries to institute a Muslim ban he would encourage everyone to register as Muslim. JB also ran the Illinois Human Rights Commission and has made it clear that as governor, Illinois will be a welcoming state for all.

* While waiting for the Pritzker campaign’s response, I did a little Googling and found this old Mike Royko column about Arab American Democratic Club President Samir Khalil

A man named Samir Khalil is unhappy with columns I’ve written recently about terrorism, Israel and other related subjects.

Khalil, who runs the SKI insurance agency in Chicago, dropped me a line that said: “Your columm is a pile of (obscenity). Your true color has shown, racism, close-mindedness and dumbness.”

He’s not alone in feeling that way. A staggering number of people have written or phoned to call me names, especially because of a column I wrote that, in effect, supports Israel’s right not to be destroyed by it’s large, oil-rich, heavily armed neighbors.

In a way, I enjoy hearing from them because it’s educational. It tells me how many people in this country have deep streaks of anti-Semitism and how many would enjoy seeing Israel obliterated. Quite a few, quite a few.


*** UPDATE *** MrJM posted this link in comments. The American Muslim Council of 1998 had some real problems. From the Washington Post in 2004

In addition to the first generation of groups aimed at consolidating the U.S. Islamic community, a second generation arose to wield political and business clout.

One such group was the American Muslim Council (AMC), launched in 1990 to urge Muslims to get involved in politics and other civic activities. One of its founders was Mahmoud Abu Saud, who 58 years before helped Banna expand the Brotherhood, and who later became a top financial adviser to governments from Morocco to Kuwait, according to documents provided by the SITE Institute, a Washington terrorism research group that has written reports critical of the Brotherhood. The AMC folded in 2003, and a more moderate group has assumed that name.

One leader of the former AMC was Abdurahman Alamoudi, who U.S. officials and Islamic activists say is a Brotherhood associate. In July he pleaded guilty to moving funds from Libya, which was illegal because the United States at the time considered that country a sponsor of terrorism. Federal documents in the case say he is a Hamas supporter. Alamoudi also was identified by U.S. officials in June as a participant in a plot hatched by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to assassinate the Saudi head of state, Crown Prince Abdullah.



  1. - John Rawlssss - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    The Madigan D party’s biggest mistake will be to rally around this guy. Not vetted. Not tested.

  2. - Arsenal - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==Not vetted.==

    He says, as we discuss a comment he made 20 years ago.

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    If you don’t think a 20 year old comment deserves an apology, don’t apologize. Many comments deserve much more than an apology, and a few deserve none. This qualifies. You can’t run when you’re on your knees begging forgiveness for….what? And how we miss Royko still. Boss.

  4. - SaulGoodman - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    That’s…not an apology. In any way.

    That’s a spokesperson claiming that he apologizes. And then spouting off good things JB has done to prove he wasn’t as ignorant and offensive as his comments made him out to be.

  5. - Hanahj - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    J.B. does not need to apologize for anything.

  6. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    Yeah, Royko was great.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    –A staggering number of people have written or phoned to call me names, especially because of a column I wrote that, in effect, supports Israel’s right not to be destroyed by it’s large, oil-rich, heavily armed neighbors.–

    Even in 1989, Rokyo’s take was way dated.

    The last war between Arab states and Israel was in 1973. And by 1989 those oil-rich Arab neighbors for the most part had been heavily armed by the United States.

  8. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:01 pm:

    Don’t apologize no need. There should be expiration dates on being offended maybe a year certainly 5 years
    Hope someone googles statements from this outfit to see what they might apologize
    Let’s look forward and see what we can accomplish rather than back to see who was slighted

  9. - Northside City Dweller - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    In a Democratic primary, this could be brutal. But it also requires a lot of money to put on tv, which none of his challengers have shown an ability to raise. So in the end, probably not going to make an impact.

  10. - Cabonargo - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    I wonder if kennedy’s Fundraiser ever had to remove controversial anti-Israel postings frim Faceboo??

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    The anti-Semitic rhetoric about destroying Israel has not abated since Royko published the column.

  12. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    Did the donor in fact have ties to organisations pledging the destruction of Israel? Does it matter 20 years later?

    Muslims are a diverse group, some good and some bad. I found it easy to work with most, as long as one realized they had a very different view of the world than I did.

  13. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    JB shouldn’t apologize. The guy who started AMC was convicted in 2004 after being caught trying to pay Al Qaeda operatives to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince. Nothing JB said in 1998 was false. And this comes from someone who would rather have Chris Kennedy win the primary.

  14. - LilLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    DuPage Saint- “There should be expiration dates on being offended maybe a year certainly 5 years”

    One of the dumber things ever posted on this blog. So after 5 years, I can longer be offended by what someone said? How about what they did?

    So if someone attacks my family, in 5 years I should be cool? If someone says something racist and offensive, it’s cool in exactly 1825 days? Give me a break.

    JB’s loyalties are obvious. But, race baiting during his Congressional campaign says a lot about him as a candidate. And I don’t care that it was 20 years ago. I still believe that it’s a huge mistake that all the Dems, in a rush for JB’s money, ignored his awful performance in that race.

  15. - Arsenal - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    ==I still believe that it’s a huge mistake that all the Dems, in a rush for JB’s money, ignored his awful performance in that race.==

    I don’t think they did, I think they just found that it was outweighed by his strong performance so far in this race.

  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    Minor incident because the comment is quite aged.

  17. - cdog - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:05 pm:

    Considering the obvious anti-Semitism involved here at many levels, Kennedy may want to re-think that endorsement.

  18. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    Point of clarification and/or confusion: The Washington Post says that the “American Muslims Council” that existed in 1998 and the “American Muslims Council” that currently exists are two different groups.

    – MrJM

  19. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:27 pm:

    Roy Moore’s election adventure proves that there is not a statute of limitations in politics.

  20. - Pritzker Plumbers Inc. - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 6:00 pm:

    Pritzker already apologized for his comments so it’s too late…

  21. - Jibba - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 9:53 pm:

    ===Not vetted. Not tested.===

    John, I think the ship has sailed on the Dems putting someone up for Gov who is vetted and tested (save possibly Biss, although some don’t like the results of the testing he’s shown).

    Dems must soon make the choice among the candidates they have, not ones they wish they had. And if it is a choice between a failed Governor and one who may or may not fail, that choice makes itself.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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