Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout came to the United States as an immigrant in 1977 via Gaza and Kuwait. He is the director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), and an executive committee member of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County.
In July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League issued a report condemning Zakkout and AMANA for featuring, on the AMANA website, what the ADL called a “venomous” anti-Semitic video that was produced by white supremacist leader David Duke (who was also featured in the video). Zakkout subsequently posted a number of Duke videos on social media and praised Duke as “a man to believe in!”
In July 2014, after Zakkout had organized a pro-Hamas rally held outside the Israeli Consulate in Miami -- where participants repeatedly screamed, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas” -- Zakkout wrote the following in Arabic on Facebook, above photos from the event: “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” He signed it “Br. Sofian Zakkout.”
In February 2015, over a graphic of deceased Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, Zakkout wrote the following in Arabic, “It is an obligation to kill those who left our religion. It is an obligation to kill those who fight our religion and to intimidate our enemies and the enemies of the religion. Everything is from the Quran, not from me.” He signed it “Sofian.”
In August 2015, Zakkout stated in Arabic, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.”
In November 2015, Zakkout used social media to promote a video glorifying a number of stabbing attacks which Palestinian youth had recently perpetrated against Jewish Israelis.
In December 2015, above a photo of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Zakkout wrote in Arabic: “You’re a Jew, the grandson of a monkey and a pig.” He signed it “Sofian.”
On January 11, 2016, Zakkout posted onto Facebook side-by-side photos of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abraham Foxman (an American Jew). Under the photos, along with lines from the Bible intentionally misquoted to make Jews appear as enslavers and murderers, was the following caption (with some grammatical repairs): “[T]ell [me] again why my tax money along with most Americans are giving [these] pigs $18 billion annually in financial aid to [these] f**ks in Israel?” The Netanyahu/Foxman post, along with a similar one made by Zakkout also featuring Foxman, was taken from the anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler Facebook site of an individual named David Castillo. Quotes posted by Castillo on his site include: (a) “[T]he same sh*t Jews run and own everything! Buy a gun and lots of ammo and prepare to take them out, for debt can only be paid back by killing the f**ks who put [us] there;” (b) “All Jews belong in hell with maggots because all they are is maggots!” (c) “The only good Jew is a dead one;” and (d) “I can only wish that a new hero like Adolf Hitler would take back Germany and finally get rid of the lizard bastards…”
Zakkout subsequently posted onto his Facebook page a video stating that the phrase “End of Zionism” -- meaning the destruction of Israel -- “equals Peace.” Then, right after, Zakkout posted another video which he introduced with the caption: “Watch these pigs an[d] monkeys Israeli occupiers harassing and harming Palestinian women!” He signed it, “Sofian Zakkout.” One scene in the video showed a nicely dressed Israeli family, with a half-dozen children, merely walking together.
On January 23, 2016, Zakkout posted a video on social media stating that America's enemies overseas, who “are labeled insurgents or terrorists… are our brothers and sisters in the struggle for justice.” The same video described the branches of the United States government as “those terrorist cells in Washington, DC, more commonly known as the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches.”
On February 14, 2016, Zakkout took to Facebook to promote a report questioning the veracity of the Holocaust, entitled, ‘How the Holocaust was faked.’ The report began: “The alleged ‘Holocaust’ of ‘6 million Jews’ at the hands of Adolf Hitler and National Socialist Germany during WWII is the biggest lie ever foisted upon humanity.” The piece was produced by The Realist Report (TRR), a white supremacist outfit located on the outskirts of San Diego, that regularly targets Jews, blacks and homosexuals. On the TRR website, readers are instructed to: “Fight White Genocide" and "Rise up against the destruction of your race,” while the narrator of an accompanying video states: “We are told to accept our inevitable brown future.” In April 2013, TRR devoted an entire page on its website to offer birthday wishes to Adolf Hitler: “Happy Birthday, Adolf Hitler. You were and remain the greatest leader in modern Western history, and offer unparalleled inspiration and guidance to us all. God bless you, and may you forever rest in peace. Heil Hitler!”
On February 15, 2016, Zakkout posted onto his Facebook site a video of Abdul Hakim Hanine, one of the founders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas. Zakkout described Hanine as “courageous” and a “hero.” Two days later, Zakkout posted a video honoring a number of members of al-Qassam Brigades. In the images, the terrorist wore their Hamas insignias while brandishing rifles and rocket launchers.
On February 26, 2016, Zakkout, responding to a David Duke diatribe claiming to expose Jews “who orchestrate the destruction of European mankind,” wrote of Duke: “I respect him for his honesty!”
In March 2016, Zakkout posted onto his Facebook page a graphic containing the images of several deceased terrorist leaders. Among them were Hamas co-founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi; the former head of the Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades, Saleh Shahade; Hamas commander Nizar Rayan; and Hamas bomb maker Yahya Ayyash.
On June 1, 2016, Zakkout posted a graphic on his Facebook page depicting a map of Israel draped in a Palestinian flag next to a militant holding a rocket launcher. Above the graphic, the caption read: “As long as my heart beats, I believe PALESTINE will be FREE.” Below the graphic was written, “From the river to the sea in sha’a Allah,” an oft-repeated call for the destruction of the Jewish state from one side of Israel, which borders the Jordan River, to the other side bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
In the comments section of Zakkout's aforementioned June 1 post, someone responded by writing “God willing” in Arabic, and posting a cartoon depiction of a frightened religious Jew who was hiding behind an animated tree that spoke the following words (in Arabic) to a bearded man brandishing a rifle: “Oh Muslim! Oh Muslim! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.” This cartoon was a rendering of a statement made in a famous Islamic Hadith which reads: “Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him…” In Facebook, one is able to click a “like” tab under someone’s posting, in order to indicate publicly that he/she approves of it, and Zakkout “liked” the cartoon.
On November 21, 2016, Zakkout posted onto Facebook a video of a speech made by Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the late leader of Jabhat al-Nusra Front -- one of the more prominent jihadist groups fighting in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Over the video, Zakkout wrote: “Allahu Akbar, God is great and thank God.” Zakkout’s posting came merely eleven days after the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had designated Muhaysini and three of his al-Nusra colleagues as “foreign terrorists.”
On December 6, 2016, Zakkout placed on his Facebook page a video of an al-Nusra gang holding Syrian troops captive in southwest Aleppo. One of the captives, who was noticeably wounded and covered in blood, looked barely alive, if not dead. Over this video, Zakkout exclaimed, “Nice!”
On December 14, 2016, Zakkout posted a video from the Army of Conquest, Jaish al-Fatah, a joint command center of Islamist, al Qaeda-connected Syrian rebel factions participating in the war against Assad. The video, for which Zakkout offered praise, was an open message from the Army of Conquest to its adversaries Iran and Hezbollah, who were fighting alongside Assad in the Syrian Civil War.