Michigan state rep. to appear with ‘former terrorist’
Controversial Michigan state Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) is due to appear Wednesday night at a Grand Rapids church with a self-proclaimed “former terrorist.”
Agema will be appearing with Kamal Saleem at Grand Rapids First, Wednesday at 7 p.m., according to a post on the representative’s Facebook page. Saleem will also be appearing in Allegan and Traverse City in the coming days. The Allegan visit is being promoted by former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, a conservative Republican who is currently challenging Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) for the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District.
In an interview with our former sister site The Michigan Messenger back in September, Douglas Howard, a history professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, said he concluded Saleem was “a fraud.”
But Agema is challenging that assessment by saying on his Facebook that Saleem has been “vouched for” by William Boykin, a former lieutenant general in the U.S. Army and undersecretary of defense intelligence under the Bush administration. Boykin was at the center of a firestorm of controversy when he painted the war on terror in stark religious terms.
For his part, Hoogendyk sent out an email Tuesday about the Allegan appearance of Saleem as part of the marketing process for the group Citizens Alliance for Life and Liberty. He concluded the email by encouraging readers to attend the event.
Immigration activists quickly slammed Agema over the appearance with Saleem.
“Mr. Agema is either appearing with a murderer or a fraud,” said Ryan Bates, executive director of Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform of Michigan. “Our national security is undermined when extremists like Agema resort to fear-mongering and conspiracy theories as they try to score cheap political points.”
Watch a video of Saleem’s claims of terrorism:
Photo: Michigan state Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) in Grand Rapids, Mich., April 2010 (source: Flickr/PPWIII)