Mitt Romney promoted his education plan at a campaign stop at a charter school in Philadelphia whose leader, an Islamist activist, has been associated with President Obama’s campaign and education efforts.
Romney last Thursday reportedly held a roundtable at West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School, where he was also given a tour of the facilities.
ABC News reported it was Romney himself who asked for an invitation after hearing about Universal.
At the roundtable meeting, Romney was reportedly welcomed by the school’s founder, Kenny Gamble, who briefed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on the school’s mission.
Gamble told Romney: “It is even more important today that we discuss education for the African-American community because of the conditions that are in the African-American community, as relates to prisons, crime. So, I’m glad you’re here.”
The Universal company that owns the school was formed in 1993 under the direction of Gamble, who also goes by the name of Luqman Abdul Haqq.
Universal says it seeks to “create educational, cultural and entrepreneurial opportunities that will stimulate the development of wealth within historically disenfranchised communities,” with particular focus on West and South Philadelphia.
Islam scholar Daniel Pipes documented that Gamble once remarked of his company’s presence in Philadelphia: “We are not just here for Universal, we are down here for Islam.”
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama reportedly established his field office, dubbed the Pennsylvania Campaign for Change, at 1501 Christian Street in a building owned and managed by Gamble, who even cut the ribbon.
Signage on the building identified it as home to Universal Educational Management, part of Gamble’s Universal Companies.
Ann Kane, writing at the American Thinker last week, pointed how news media reports noted the similarities between Romney’s and Obama’s education policies.
Gamble, meanwhile, is the property owner of Philadelphia’s first mosque, the United Muslim Masjid, a predominantly African-American mosque that opened in October 1994.
Gamble doubles as the face behind the United Muslim Movement (UMM), incorporated in Philadelphia in June 1994. UMM’s goal is to create a “central mosque in the city along with an organization that would be able to ‘respond to the social, economical, political, educational, and religious needs” facing the UMM communities.
No longer listed on the UMM website is a list of member organizations that have been accused in court documents of terror ties—ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America); ISNA (Islamic Society of North America); which is tightly connected with the Muslim Brotherhood; and the American Muslim Council (AMC).
Gamble is also a member of the board of directors of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), headed by Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Gamble is reported to have been involved with MANA’s leadership since April 2001, when the group was initially established as a national organization at the UMM mosque. The formation of MANA, which focuses its efforts on African-American converts to Islam, was inspired by Jamil Al-Amin, the onetime Black Panther “justice minister” H. Rap Brown.
UMM is a sponsor and partner of the Jawala Scouts, or the Jawala Scout Youth Leadership Program, described as an Islamic paramilitary boys group, with children as young as 7 involved. The Jawala Scouts were incorporated in Philadelphia in August 2005.
According to the Jawala Scouts website – which describes the Scouts as a scouting program for young men from the ages 7 to 17 – the program is designed to teach, train and impart to Muslim youth the virtues of taqwa, discipline, responsibility, courage, leadership, self-defense, survival and sportsmanship.
In the Quranic verses, taqwa is the state of “being conscious of Allah.”
Gamble’s Universal company has been focused on building a particular section of West Philadelphia.
The company has described its successful community revitalization efforts in the city of Philadelphia as “one of the best-kept secrets in Muslim America.” Daniel Pipes asked, “Is Kenny Gamble building a Muslim-only enclave in Philadelphia?”
An April 2002 article in the Philadelphia City Paper described the neighborhood at the center of Gamble’s efforts at the time as clearly Muslim, with residents in traditional Muslim garb, conducting prayers on the sidewalks.
The author remarked, “Neighbors don’t seem to mind the Muslim presence. They’re just happy to see the drug dealers gone and the streets cleaner and safer, and they don’t care who does it, as long as it gets done.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott