As many as 25 House Democrats are expected to have Muslim guests during Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech. It’s in response to a call from Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim voted into Congress, to counter an “alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against Muslim Americans and people of the Islamic faith worldwide.”
The gesture might not generate much more than a shrug, except that in at least two cases, Democrats invited officials from a group the FBI formally avoids due to historic ties to a Hamas support network. Delray Beach Rep. Alcee Hastings invited Nezar Hamze, regional operations director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida. And San Jose, Cal. Rep. Zoe Lofgren invited Sameena Usman, a 10-year veteran government relations official with CAIR’s San Francisco chapter, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned.