Originally published in The Washington Independent. By Todd A. Heywood | 09.14.11
The appearance of a man who claims to be a reformed terrorist at a rally against illegal immigration at the Capitol building in Lansing is raising questions both about the accuracy of his story and the propriety of his invitation to speak.
Kamal Saleem of Berkley spoke at the rally and testified before the House Commerce Committee supporting legislation introduced by Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) that would require contractors for the state and temporary agencies to use E-Verify, a federal system to verify a person’s immigration status.
E-Verify is a federal program that has been found to return false denials, resulting in people losing jobs. The legislation was tabled by the Commerce Committee for a second time.
“I came to the United States of America not to love you all. I came to be — exactly — to destroy this country as a terrorist. We crossed the Canadian border. We brought weapon caches right through cities, through Windsor,” Saleem told attendees. “This is what is all happening by allowing illegals in here to come through our borders and become a part of our country. They can become legal terrorists in your hometown to kill your children, and your grandchildren and your future as we know it.”
Saleem claims that he was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as well as the Muslim Brotherhood when he came to the U.S. in 1979 “for the first time.” He said the E-Verify system was important to prevent future terror attacks on American soil.
“This (E-Verify) will not allow people like me to come to this country to destroy it and would allow the American people to legally work and have their freedom in this country,” he said.
For Calvin College history professor Douglas Howard, there is much to doubt about the claim to have been a former terrorist. Howard researched Saleem’s background in 2007 when the Calvin College Republican Club invited him to present at the conservative Christian college. Howard said that as an expert in Middle East history, his department tasked him with reviewing Saleem’s credentials and advising the department on whether or not it should co-sponsor the event.
“I concluded this person is a fraud,” Howard says.
Continue reading this article here.