* 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.
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.