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May 17, 2017

Pastor Khader El-Yateem’s Endorsement – Hey Cronyism Nice to Meet Ya!

Kings County Politics ran this story while our local newspapers haven’t even mentioned the topic. But the topic is important. This was the headline of the story:




The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) endorsed El-Yateem without even interviewing any of the candidates.  I looked up the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and followed the money to the NYC Council. The Council had given the NYIC 200K. So basically our tax money is being used against our community. On the NYIC site,  I wasn’t surprised when I found Murad Awawdeh name.   Murad is supporting El-Yateem campaign for councilman.  


Reverend Khader El-Yateem should be embarrassed to accept an endorsement from a group which didn’t treat the other candidates fairly. Today, we should have seen El-Yateem  issue a statement declining the endorsement, but instead  he was silent.  EVERYONE KNOWS when someone doesn’t do the right thing, you need to speak up. If the group had given another candidate the endorsement and didn’t interview El-Yateem, you would hear El-Yateem crying foul.  


Over the weekend, Murad asked me why I said  that El-Yateem silent.  Murad pretended to not know much about the situation. At one point, he tried to deflect the situation and say it happened in Sunset Park. Everyone in Bay Ridge knew that the situation overflowed into our area. El-Yateem has claimed several times that he is a peacemaker, but El-Yateem was silent and not a leader in the community who brought anyone together.  


Murad told me that I just brought up the incident from this Summer  NOW because El-Yateem was running for office. Again, Murad mispoke. I’ve been speaking about it since it happened. Initially on Twitter, then in my blog in July here and here.  I even spoke about it to Reverend El-Yateem’s staffer, Kayla Santosuosso I provided Kayla my full name and my background. I majored in History with a focus on Middle Eastern History and I worked for an anthropologist named Daisy Hilse Dwyer. Dwyer is the author of several books on Islam and the Middle East.  This Summer, Kayla organized an event at the Salem Church after the incident in Sunset Park which NO ONE spoke about in our community. The event was advertised with a few speakers names, but the organizers names were not on it. Kayla told me that the pastor did not have anything to do with the event. I contacted the Brooklyn Historical Society because a speaker was from there and they didn’t know he was speaking in Bay Ridge or that an incident had happened in Sunset Park and that no Arabic leader spoke about it in our community. (See more here


The Post had an article about the Arab American Association in Bay Ridge. The article states that  Arab American Association hosted events for the  Muslim Democratic Club which would be an ethics violation. El-Yateem is the treasurer of the Arab American Association and  Murad is the president of the Muslim Democratic Club. I asked Murad about The Post article and he wasn’t able to say the truth. Murad would not speak about the topic.  On Twitter, El-Yateem was named in these messages and he chose to be silent.  If the paper printed a lie, everyone would have had a lot to say. 


Murad tried to tell me over Twitter that since I didn’t support Pam Harris and El-Yateem,  I had a problem with race. El-Yateem received all of these messages and STAYED SILENT. He could not speak up even when he saw his friend was not speaking the truth. And Pam Harris was well supported in her first election (we voted for her), but not the second (she lost in Bay Ridge).  


Maybe El-Yateem is a leader and peacemaker in his church but I haven’t seen him leader im our community.   Bay Ridge don’t need any more politicians who pump themselves up and do barely anything. El-Yateem kept boasting about the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force and it’s simply not a task force. A group that meets once a year and eats breakfast isn’t going to solve the problems of a community where men think it’s okay to pull the race card to gain an advantage when someone doesn’t agree with them.  It’s an easy thing to do, but a real conversation can’t happen. 


Ironically, Murad is quoted  saying this about immigrants:



It’s good advice. Yet Murad wasn’t interested in understanding anything about his neighbor.  I had contacted in September when his club endorsed Pam Harris in our community. Murad ignored both messages sent to him on Twitter one and two  and this weekend, he told me “he didn’t see them.”  (Then Murad told me that I shouldn’t contact Harris for help, I should have contacted the Board of Elections. WE DID and when we couldn’t get any help we contacted Harris.)


Those who are silent or try to silence others aren’t leaders in our community. Leaders are people who aren’t afraid to speak the truth, even if the truth isn’t politically correct or “picture perfect.”




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