Ahmed Bedier

© Image Copyright : Photo from Creative Commons / Author of Photo: MoNewsHorizon

Overview

  • Former Communications Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Supported Sami Al-Arian, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative
  • Attended a pro-Hamas rally in 2008
  • Supporter of Hezbollah

Born in Egypt in 1974, Ahmed Bedier relocated to the U.S. with his family when he was eight years old, spending his youth in both Illinois and Oregon. When Bedier was a young man, his parents moved back to Egypt. But Bedier remained in the United States, making his way to Florida where he became somewhat of a financial success, purchasing real estate, shopping at upscale stores, and driving an expensive BMW.

From February 1995 to July 2001, Bedier was the manager of the IT network at MCI Worldcom’s call center.

In 2000, Bedier went through a dramatic personal change, becoming an observant Muslim and attending the Islamic Society of Pinellas County (ISPC), a radical mosque whose website featured material calling for violence against Jews. In 2002 Bedier became the mosque’s Outreach Director.

In November 2002, Bedier also began working as Communications Director for the Tampa, Florida chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Since February 2003, Bedier has been a co-host of True Talk, a Muslim talk show which is broadcast on WMNF-FM, a Tampa community radio station.

After the FBI took Tampa-based Professor Sami Al-Arian into custody in February 2003 and indicted him for his leadership role within the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Bedier became Al-Arian’s “unofficial spokesman.” He held press conferences for Al-Arian and allowed his radio program to be used as a propaganda vehicle for the terrorist’s family and his PIJ colleagues.

In December 2003, Bedier was named Executive Director of CAIR’s Tampa office.

In May 2004, Bedier’s CAIR chapter issued a press release denouncing Israel’s assassination of Hamas co-founder Ahmed Yassin: “We condemn this violation of international law as an act of state terrorism by Ariel Sharon’s out-of-control government. Israel’s extra-judicial killing of an Islamic religious leader can only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence throughout the region. The international community must now take concrete steps to help protect the Palestinian people against such wanton Israeli violence.”

At a May 27, 2004 CAIR-Tampa press conference concerning Sami Al-Arian, Bedier was asked: “Do you agree with the [U.S.] government designation of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization?” He responded: “We are not here to discuss the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any other terrorist organization or any other group. We are here strictly to discuss the confinement conditions of this individual [Al-Arian] who is not in Palestine or in Israel. He is right here in Florida.” When Bedier was then asked whether CAIR had taken an official position regarding PIJ, he replied: “We have not published one.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism describes what happened next vis-a-vis Bedier’s connection to Al-Arian:

“In December 2005, Al-Arian was acquitted on eight counts against him, while jurors deadlocked on nine other charges…. In April 2006, Al-Arian pled guilty to conspiring to provide goods and services to the [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad. As part of the plea agreement, Al-Arian admitted that he ‘performed services for the PIJ in 1995 and thereafter’ and that he was ‘aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence.’  After the plea deal was announced, but before details were released, Bedier mischaracterized the plea agreement. Contradicting the assertion of Al-Arian’s attorney that Al-Arian had in fact pled guilty to terrorism-related charges, [Bedier said,] in an interview with the Tampa Tribune, [that] Al-Arian [had] ‘stayed true to his convictions — he stayed true, he wasn’t going to plead to those issues…. There is no conspiracy to support terrorism.’”

Also in December 2005, Bedier appeared on the local Fox 13 WTVT program Your Turn with Kathy Fountain to discuss the Al-Arian case. When asked if he believed that Al-Arian’s involvement with PIJ was immoral, Bedier replied: “To a certain degree. Now, before 1995 [the year in which PIJ was declared a ‘specially designated terrorist organization’ by the U.S. government], there was nothing immoral about it.” It should be noted, however, that PIJ had taken credit for five pre-1995 terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of eight innocent people.

In December 2005 as well, Bedier said the following about the newly released film Munich, which chronicled Israel’s efforts to hunt down and kill the terrorists who had slaughtered eleven of its Olympic athletes in 1972:

“The only difference between what these so-called Mossad-sponsored assassins and other terrorists – they both use the similar means. They make bombs and they blow up people and they kill innocent civilians in the meantime. Violence begets violence. The policy has not worked and I’m glad that people like [Munich producer] Steven Spielberg have produced a movie to raise questions about these certain policies of killing individuals. Especially without due process, without providing the evidence.”

In addition to his involvement with CAIR, Bedier also served a stint as the Florida Events Coordinator for Islamic Relief, a group that has been banned by a number of nations — Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bangladesh — because of its terrorist ties to Hamas.

During a June 20, 2006 television interview, Bedier, citing what he viewed as Israel’s lack of respect for Lebanon, minimized the significance of the then-recent kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah: “[W]hat did Hezbollah do in this latest incident? They captured two soldiers. Since when does Israel recognize the boundaries and borders of other sovereign states? They cross it all the time…. Irresponsible rogue states, terror states like Israel, that’s how they behave. And that’s unacceptable for Israel to do that.”

During the July 21, 2006 broadcast of Bedier’s radio program, his three guests repeatedly — much to Bedier’s approval — heaped praise upon Hezbollah, which at that time was engaged in a military conflict against Israel. Among their comments were the following:

  • “I’ll just say that [Hezbollah is] not at all the picture that is portrayed of it in the West, as some sort of cartoonish terrorist group. It is a liberation movement in many senses for the Lebanese Shia … It has quite a clean record, and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is revered probably by most Lebanese as a fairly eloquent and capable leader.”
  • “Hezbollah is composed of families that believe in liberation, families that believe [in] dignity, families that believe [in] purpose.”
  • “Yesterday alone, there was a 20-hour battle between the Israeli army and the National Resistance Movement of Hezbollah. For 20 hours they fought. This speaks volumes about the heroic nature of Hezbollah.”

From January 2007 to July 2011, Bedier served as President of the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council.

When South Carolina police in August 2007 stopped the car of University of South Florida students Ahmed Mohamed and Youssef Megahed and found, in their possession, materials to make a pipe bomb, Bedier defended the students, describing them as nothing more than a pair of harmless, “naive kids.” Suggesting that the aforementioned materials were merely leftover fireworks from July 4, Bedier said that “if they [the students] didn’t do anything wrong they need to be released.” “Most people will tell you if these were some good old boys from South Carolina traveling through the highway of that county and getting pulled over and having some fireworks, I doubt that it would make news around the world,” Bedier added. “… No acts of terrorism are alleged; that is not even an issue.”

But in June 2008, Ahmed Mohamed did in fact plead guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports: “On his laptop, investigators found videos of bombing attacks on U.S. military vehicles and a 12-minute video produced by Mohamed in which he detonated a remote control bomb. On the video, he said a remote controlled explosion allows someone to ‘preserve his life’ rather than carrying out a suicide bombing.” On his web blog, Bedier whitewashed Mohamed’s words and actions: “Mohamed chose to cut a plea to one count of material support, which carries of a maximum of 15 years in prison, rather than risk spending the REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE behind bars if convicted.” (Emphasis in original)

Bedier left CAIR in March 2008. The following month, he established United Voices for America (UVA), a political advocacy organization that aims to portray Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. He continues to serve as UVA’s president.

On December 30, 2008 in Tampa, Bedier joined hundreds of demonstrators in a pro-Hamas rally organized in large part by the Muslim American Society. Participants displayed signs that that bore slogans like: “End Zionism” and “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate It.” Some demonstrators donned keffiyehs, Palestinian symbols of violence worn as scarves.

During a January 2009 debate on WMNF radio, Bedier spoke about “Operation Cast Lead,” a defensive military operation in which Israel targeted Hamas and other terrorists in the Gaza region. He denied that the Hamas tactic of deliberately storing its explosives and weaponry inside mosques and residential areas was designed to turn civilians into human shields. Rather, Bedier, claimed, Hamas had no choice but to stockpile its weapons in heavily populated areas because “Gaza’s very crowded. No matter where you’re gonna go you’re gonna find some Hamas people there. But that does not justify the killing and targeting of any innocent civilians.”

During the same debate, Bedier placed all blame for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on Israel: “Israel has a history of habitually choosing violence over dialogue. Why? Because they’re the stronger party. Israel is the mightiest army in the region and the 4th strongest army in the world. Who are they picking on? The defenseless, helpless, Palestinian people in the Gaza strip, how ridiculous is that? They always choose violence because they are the stronger party, thinking that through their strength, through their might, through their weapons, they’re gonna get their way.” By contrast, he praised Hamas for “moderating themselves” in recent years.

During the January 16, 2009 broadcast of True Talk, a caller asked Bedier why neither Hamas (in Gaza) nor the Palestinian Authority (in the West Bank) was taking any measures to prevent terrorists from firing rockets into Israel. Bedier replied: “So wait, wait, let me get this argument right. So Israel with its mighty army, the strongest army and military, with its biggest weapons in the whole region cannot stop the rockets, but you expect defenseless, helpless poverty stricken Palestinians to go and stop the rockets. Are you making any sense? Are you making sense?”

During the January 23, 2009 broadcast of True Talk, Bedier characterized Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, as “terrorism.”

On February 20, 2009, Bedier described Israeli military responses to Hamas terror attacks as “Nazi-like tactics.”

In February 2011, Bedier went to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, to witness a speech by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had just returned to Egypt from exile after the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In a March 2011 broadcast of his radio program, Bedier stated proudly: “I went to Egypt for the revolution.”

Around that same time period, Bedier gave voice to his wish for the establishment of an Islamic Kingdom: “[W]e’re looking for it still. Right now… Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire – that was the last major Muslim organized religion – we don’t really have a hierarchy that’s organized how the Catholics are organized. We’re looking for that, and once we have that one voice, unified voice, we’ll be able to speak up.”

Bedier served as a delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where he assisted fellow CAIR operative Ali Kurnaz in holding up a Palestinian flag on the convention floor, as a gesture of protest against what the pair described as the Democratic Party’s refusal to condemn Israel.

Since September 2016, Bedier has been a political analyst with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, based in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

Additional Information

Bedier’s younger brother, Amir, was a devoted follower of both the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. Among the pictures he used for his Facebook profile were photos of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam, the deceased mentor of bin Laden. On August 14, 2013, Amir was shot and killed by Egyptian police at Nasr City’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.


Additional Resources

Further Reading: The Dual Life of a Pro-Terror Activist“(by Joe Kaufman, 2-12-2009); “Brother of Dead Bin Laden Follower Moves Within Dem Party Circles” (by Joe Kaufman, 12-4-2020); “Ahmed Bedier” (InvestigativeProject.org; LinkedIn.com).

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