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Sam Rasoul, Islamic Terrorism… And $23,100 In Donations To Republicans?

backwardgun [1]There is nothing worse than a hit piece that isn’t researched.

…and apparently, RPV has ineptly… stupidly… mind-bogglingly fallen into this trap.

Here we go with the canned response, as portrayed by Chairman Pat Mullins:

The report posted on JHPolitics today [2] is greatly concerning. Candidates from both parties have been concerned enough about donations like this to return them immediately. Sam Rasoul needs to return these donations immediately, and call a press conference to explain to the people of Roanoke why he took this money, and what his relationship is with these donors.”

“If he doesn’t do any of those things, and simply tries to ignore these reports until after Election Day, that’s more than enough indication that he’s not fit to serve in the House of Delegates.”

Now I’m not going to blame Mullins on this one — this one was spoon fed and RPV is trying to be a team player.  But could we have done maybe five minutes of research here before shooting ourselves in the face?

Case in point?  Go and do a quick VPAP search on Sam Rasoul’s donors over the last two decades.  Guess who else they have given to? [3]

That’s right… $23,100 to Republicans and $9,300 to Democrats, while personally [4] Rasoul has given $11,340 to Democrats and nothing to Republicans.

$7,250 [5] Black for Delegate – Richard
$5,000 [6] Staton for Senate – Mick
$3,500 [7] Rust for Delegate – Tom
$2,800 [8] McAuliffe for Governor – Terry
$2,500 [9] Qarni for Delegate – Atif
$2,500 [10] Herring for Attorney General – Mark
$2,000 [11] Craddock for Delegate – Christopher
$2,000 [12] Black for Senate – Dick
$1,825 [13] Cuccinelli for Senate – Kenneth
$1,500 [14] Omeish for Delegate – Esam
$1,000 [15] Gill for Delegate – Faisal
$525 [16] Brickner for Fairfax County Board Chair – Mychele
$500 [17] New Dominion PAC

So that’s Mar-Jac Investments [3] for ya.  How’s about Sterling Management Group [18]another Mizra attached outfit?

$8,250 [19] Black for Delegate – Richard
$7,850 [20] McAuliffe for Governor – Terry
$5,500 [21] Black for Senate – Dick
$5,000 [22] Staton for Senate – Mick
$3,500 [23] Democratic Party – Loudoun County, Va
$2,500 [24] Staton for Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – Mick
$2,000 [25] Chapman for Delegate – Steve
$1,825 [26] Cuccinelli for Senate – Kenneth
$1,150 [27] Brickner for Fairfax County Board Chair – Mychele
$1,000 [28] Foust for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors – John
$1,000 [29] Omeish for Delegate – Esam
$1,000 [30] Herring for Attorney General – Mark
$1,000 [31] Gill for Delegate – Faisal
$1,000 [32] Rust for Delegate – Tom
$500 [33] Rasoul for Roanoke City Mayor – Sam
$500 [34] Delgaudio for Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – Eugene
$500 [35] Cuccinelli for Attorney General – Kenneth
$500 [36] Gordon for Loudoun County Board Chair – Robert

That’s $29,725 to Republicans and $14,850 to Democrats…

Reston Investments [37]?  What about them?

$13,250 [38] Black for Delegate – Richard
$6,400 [39] Cuccinelli for Senate – Kenneth
$5,350 [40] McAuliffe for Governor – Terry
$5,000 [41] Staton for Senate – Mick
$4,400 [42] Black for Senate – Dick
$4,000 [43] Nawash for Senate – Kamal
$4,000 [44] New Dominion PAC
$2,500 [45] Qarni for Delegate – Atif
$2,500 [46] Rust for Delegate – Tom
$2,250 [47] Brickner for Fairfax County Board Chair – Mychele
$2,000 [48] Rasoul for Roanoke City Mayor – Sam
$2,000 [49] Omeish for Delegate – Esam
$1,500 [50] Gordon for Loudoun County Board Chair – Robert
$1,000 [51] Gill for Delegate – Faisal
$1,000 [52] Hyland for Delegate – James
$500 [53] Bulova for Fairfax County Board Chair – Sharon
$500 [54] Lind for Senate – Howard

$41,800 for Republicans such as Dick Black, Howie Lind for Senate, Tom Rust for Delegate, and Ken Cuccinelli for Senate.  A mere $12,350 to Democratic candidates.

Bottom line?  This dog doesn’t hunt.

Look at the candidate here.  In fact, these are no slouches.  We’re not talking Bill Bolling here… we’re talking conservative stalwarts such as Dick Black and Ken Cuccinelli.  Even Mizra himself is an overwhelmingly Republican donor [55], having personally given $1,850 to Republicans candidates (Black and Cuccinelli) while giving a mere $200 to Democrats.  In Washington, D.C. — Mayor Anthony Williams, to be precise.

Worse still, if you follow the logic fed to Justin Higgins over at JHPolitics [2] that if Rasoul takes money from a known terrorist sympathizer (and I have little doubt to believe that M. Yaqub Mizra has issues), then by extension so does State Senator Dick Black and outgoing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


Look — no one here is going to find more of a sympathizer when it comes to the existence of Islamist terrorism here in the United States.  It exists, and it’s more of a problem than people realize.  But if the team effort here is to (1) expose Islamism in quarters where it exists while (2) maintaining and encouraging our reformist and moderate friends within Islam, while (3) making sure we don’t perpetuate the “RPV Hates Brown People, Catholics, and non-WASPy Come Heres (TM)” meme… this was a poorly researched and tragically embarrassing hit piece.

Someone needs to fire a researcher ASAP.

Someone else at RPV needs to have a staff meeting about embarrassing the boss by not double checking VPAP and making sure it was a clean hit.

…because this is bush league Millennial work right here.

* * *

UPDATE:  I realize that folks will have strong opinions on the influence of Islam as well.  Believe me — my family comes from a long line of Maronite Christians who have been fighting the War on Terrorism since the 7th century.

sacred_geometry [56]OTOH, folks need to deeply understand that Islam is in a state of flux, or at the very least starting to engage with the soft power of American culture much as Catholics had to do in the 18th and 19th century.  Islam still faces four immense theological problems: (1) a rejection of violence as a means to spread the faith, and (2) a means to create a “development of doctrine” or a hermeneutic of continuity with regards to the Qu’ran, (3) a place for reason as defined perhaps by the Muztalites that inspired the rebirth of Aristotelianism, and (4) a place for cause and effect rather than merely inshallah predicating all things — i.e. striking a match against a surface will ignite the phosphorous, not because it is the will of God but because God designed it to be so.

The first might have more import to Westerners as it is much more of an existential threat.  The last probably has more import to Muslims, because if cause and effect is resolved, one can back into #3 then #2 and hopefully resolve #1.  Regardless, it’s a touchy situation that people will game for political purposes — both within Islam and with the secular West.

…and “it’s not Islamophobia if they really are trying to kill you” has some merit.  One could imagine if 10-20% of Christianity (or more narrowly, Catholicism) behaved like the Muslim Brotherhood.  Or if Catholicism advocated violence as a legitimate means of spreading the faith.  Sure we’d have dissent… and Protestant denominations might disagree, and the Orthodox — who ironically enough, really do believe that violence is acceptable to defend the Body of Christ under the vast majority of circumstances — but if by and large 80% of Catholic parishes embraced the concept that violence was an acceptable means to spread Christianity, we’d have a problem.

Unfortunately, 80% of mosques in America really do believe violence is acceptable [57].  Big problem.

This is all the more reason to be very, VERY careful about who we label as Islamists vs. the moderate wing of Islamist reformers trying to arrive in a few decades what it took Christianity 800 years to develop.  Yet today, the West has two approaches to resolving this conflict as George Weigel pointed out: it’s either the Cube or the Cathedral [58], the secular Western values of a lowest common denominator, or the Christian West’s philosophy of engagement and encounter — quick to condemn violence and open to sharing experiences and values.

We are very much in the middle of the Clash of Civilizations.  Such is the price of globalization.  Yet when we paint with broad strokes (or fail to be bold when violence crops up and poor examples are set — burying the Boston Bomber in Virginia is a great example of where the secularists go wrong and the Muslim and Christian communities bind together in opposition) we do untold damage.  Secularists probably do more harm than good when they impose their values upon Islam, much less Christianity, because it forces entrenchment rather than allowing American culture to permeate the greater whole.  This entrenchment is the reason why organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood even exist… few realize how Ikhwan got its start not in Cairo or Damascus or the West Bank, but in Greeley, Colorado as a response to Western secularism [59].

All the more reason to be extremely careful when playing connect the dots with Islamism in America.  If the point was to expose the roots of Islamism and the link to terror financing — great.  Leave it there.  If the effort was to play a game of guilt by association?  Well… I suppose the lame charge of “teahadists” gains new meaning, does it not?

In a final word, if the Republican Party is going to truly be aggressive about our ideas in a positive sense — not on what we believe but why that matters at the kitchen table — then we have to be far more intelligent than pushing this line in an effort to scare folks based on fear rather than fact.

Yes, the Islamist threat exists.  Yes it is more real than people realize.  But no — it does zero good to illegitimately tar through “guilt by association” or refusing to grapple with the very serious theological struggles Islam must go through before they can regain a great deal of the tradition and wisdom Islam has lost over time (that Christians arguably lost in the seventh century and regained only in the 11th and 12th century thanks to the work of Peter Abelard, Albertus Mangus, and St. Thomas Aquinas… who got it from Cordoba and the philosophers of al-Andalus, the last flickering lights of the Muztailite tradition before it was stamped out by an Islamist literalist reformation gone askew).

The real question one should ask is how would William Buckley tackle this problem?  Conservatism, at the end of the day, is an intellectual movement — not a movement of outrage and emotive.  How would Russell Kirk and Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss and Robert Nozick and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus have approached this?  What would they argue about the intellectual decline in the conservative movement that seems to have been traded for mere populism and marketing to appetites [60] — rather than appealing to our reason, our pocketbooks, our sense of individuality and respect for the same?

…but I’ve gone on long enough.  If you’re read this update, good on ya.

UPDATE x2:  Josh Huffman over at The Virginia Conservative chimes in [61] with some excellent observations:

In response, Bearing Drift points out [62] there are several issues that ought to be addressed in this matter.  One particularly pressing one is that if Mar-Jac does have a terrorist link, what does that mean for other recipients of their funds [3], such as Republican State Senator Dick Black, Democratic Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe, and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli?  I encourage you to read his entire post.

Normally, as this issue has been picked up by Bearing Drift, I’d likely leave it as is.  However, as some of my political associates have been running with Rasoul’s supposed ties to terrorism, I felt I had to offer my thoughts.  Even the Republican Party of Virginia is spreading it too [63].  Although I haven’t spent much time reading about Mr. Rasoul since he ran for House of Representatives in 2008 and almost certainly wouldn’t be supporting him in his House of Delegates race, we can’t go about grasping at straws and making wild accusations.  By all means, figure out what Mar-Jac is all about.  However, for anyone who seeks to condemn Rasoul for this donor, are you also willing to declare Republicans who have benefited tainted as well?

Can we please have a race where we focus on principles and substance?  Or am I simply asking too much?

Better question: did Octavia Johnson really need this sort of help?  Who pushed this crap?  I get the feeling that it wasn’t RPV… someone else chose to peddle this bush league nonsense.  Moreover, why do I get the sneaking suspicion that someone is looking to kill two birds with one stone — the other bird being Dick Black?