The EMERGE USA political committee, a group operate by high profile Muslim activists, has endorsed Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief, Judge Steven B. Feren and others. According to its website, EMERGE USA is a “non-partisan, Florida based the political action committee that endorses and raises money for state and federal candidates based on their support for civil rights, minority rights and a diverse America where underrepresented communities are seen as a part of the social fabric of our nation.” On its Facebook page, EMERGE PAC claims it “works with candidates that support issues that are of importance to underrepresented communities, with a specific focus on Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans throughout the United States.”
On its “2014 Broward County Voter Card,” EMERGE endorsed Charlie Crist, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief, Judge Steven B. Feren, and School Board candidate Nick Sakhnovsky. EMERGE endorsed judicial candidates Andrea Ruth Gundersen, Julie Shapiro Harris and Jonathan Kasen. Several candidates told RED BROWARD they were unaware of the group and never asked for their endorsement.
Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief must be familiar with EMERGE. In 2009, EMERGE gave her $250 for her first County Commission campaign. Last month, EMERGE gave Sharief a $750 contribution.
In 2008, EMERGE gave $250 to Judge Steven B. Feren, the former Mayor of Sunrise. Last week, RED BROWARD exposed Feren’s enormous Indonesian Muslim following on Twitter. Feren claimed to be the victim of illegal hacking.
In 2010, EMERGE gave contributions to Miramar vice mayor Alexandra Davis and judicial candidate Frantz Jahra McLawrence. Both Davis and McLawrence are supported by controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. Davis is running against Barbara Sharief. McLawrence is running against Judge Lynn Rosenthal. Oddly enough, EMERGE picked Rosenthal over McLawrence.
Despite its claims to be a simple civil rights group, published reports have questioned EMERGE leaders’ views regarding attacks on Israel. During a January 2010 town hall meeting, Emerge’s Tampa-area Regional Field Coordinator Laila Abdelaziz asked the President Barack Obama, “W]hy have we not condemned Israel and Egypt’s human rights violations against the occupied Palestinian people, and yet we continue supporting them financially with billions of dollars from our tax dollars?”
In November 2012, after Israel invaded Gaza, in order to stop Hamas from launching rockets into Israel, Abdelaziz tweeted, “Don’t worry ya Gaza, we’re working hard for you in Florida.”
In 2012, EMERGE teamed up with other controversial Muslim groups to promote early voting in Broward county. RED BROWARD obtained a flier from United Voices, CAIR and EMERGE urging people to take part in “FLORIDA MUSLIM EARLY VOTE DAY.”