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Talib Karim breaks from Fenty

Tim Craig

Talib I. Karim, chairman of the Muslim Democratic Caucus of D.C., is speaking out about why he's supporting Vincent C. Gray in the mayor's race, even though his brother, Omar Karim, is one of the mayor's closest friends.

On Friday, the Muslim Democratic Caucus voted to endorse Gray instead of incumbent Adrian M. Fenty. Before the vote, Karim told caucus members he personally supported Gray despite his family's close ties to the mayor.

"I literally fell on the floor," recalled Gray, who was at the endorsement vote.

Karim, a big supporter of Fenty during his 2006 campaign, said in an interview that he's concluded that the administration "has gone astray" and is excluding too many people from the government.

"I quoted a passage from the Koran on Islamic teaching that says, "You can speak a word of truth even if its against yourself and your family,' " Talib Karim said. "And while I love my brother and I am willing to lay down my life for him, I am obligated to stand up against what I see is the wrong that is occurring on the part of the mayor and those closest around him, and for that reason, I personally said I was supporting the chairman."

Omar Karim, president of Banneker Ventures, is at the center of the controversy and investigation into how the Fenty administration awarded parks and recreation contracts.

Talib Karim, who held a news conference Sunday to explain his support for Gray, attended Howard University with Fenty and the two became friends. Later, Talib Karim introduced his brother to Fenty.

Talib Karim said he can't "speak as to whether" his brother did anything wrong related to the contracts, but added that he "has some concerns about some other people involved" in the controversy. But Talib Karim said he ultimately decided to back Gray because he said Fenty is "retaliatory" and hasn't done enough to reach out to the Muslim community.

"We hope by this endorsement we will be able to help Chairman Gray, and after he succeeds with the help of the 'All Mighty,' we hope he will have a more open door not only to Muslims but people of all faiths," Talib Karim said.

Talib Karim said he recently told his brother of his decision to back Gray.

"He said he was disappointed and I told him it was disappointing to see someone I loved and someone I helped to be on the wrong side of the people," Talib Karim said, referring to Fenty.

--Tim Craig

By tim craig  |  August 22, 2010; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray  
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Talk about a SLAP DOWN. Fenty ears must be on fire.

T. Karim is a man of honor. As for his brother, maybe not so much.

Posted by: guylady201001 | August 22, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, do not be surprise when the TERRORISTS SUPPORT GRAY theme starts to appear on this site and others.

You know the theme right of the GOP playbook adopted by the mean green team.

If I cannot win on my merits, I will scare the HELL OUT OF THE VOTERS. THIS IS BETTER THAN GRAY=FENTY.

Posted by: guylady201001 | August 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

DC Muslims obviously possess wisdom in this matter. Yet another reason for me to support the Park51 Mosque.

Posted by: Martial | August 22, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

What Muslim community? Is there a concentrated group living somewhere in DC? This nothing but nonsense! Vince Gray will do nothing more than what is being done in this city. DC has a lot of thumb suckers who are angry about who knows what!!! Let him vote for Gray. Both of them will have a lot of free time on their hands, after the election.

Posted by: Anonymous87 | August 22, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Talib Karim made the Washington post. Amazing. All you need is a $25 and a Fed-ex kinko's and you will have all of the organizational strenght of the "Muslim Democratic Caucus."

Do they even have an adress... that isn't Talib's mother's basement.

Posted by: politicalrealist | August 22, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Politicalrealist, please go back on your medication. Once again, you comments are nothing more than foolishness.

Have you tried Cymbalta? It not, I think it might help you. LOL LOL

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 22, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Do the editors of the Post get it yet? The people......

Posted by: dcchamp1 | August 23, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Do the editors of the Post get it yet? The people......

Posted by: dcchamp1 | August 23, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse


This is great. Another Fenty support with his commentary about "those" of us.

Yes, Muslims in DC do have a caucus and contrary to your snark, have enough money to not meet in basements of homes.

Posted by: dcis1 | August 23, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have much respect for this man. He is able to separate what is happening with his brother from what he sees is happening to the city. He speaks on his assessment of needed change. MUCH RESPECT!!

Posted by: candycane1 | August 23, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, to Tim Craig for reporting, thanks to Talib Karim for the good sense and courage to support the better candidate despite his ties to the mayor.

politicalrealist -- All of the venom and vitriol that you continually spew only confirms my suspicion that you are really King Fenty himself. Just posing under a pseudonym.

Posted by: sheridaw | August 23, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Talib! You are a true man of honor!

Posted by: | August 23, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Much respect to Talib Karim from a PK.

Posted by: GoldCoast | August 23, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

This is nonsense! What's next? "I'm not supporting Fenty because he hasn't reached enough to the Christian community?" Or Buddhist, or Hindu?
How about denominations? Has he reached enough to Eritrean Orthodox community, or Ethiopian Gregorian, or Baptist, or Methodist?

Posted by: thor2 | August 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

oh and... "Talib Karim said he can't "speak as to whether" his brother did anything wrong related to the contracts, but added that he "has some concerns about some other people involved" in the controversy." What a hypocrite.

Posted by: thor2 | August 23, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@thor2 Where have you been? When have different demographic groups not been a major player in a local or national election?? Every demographic has issues they want addressed... Minorities, LGBT, Youth, Elderly, And religious groups all want their voices heard. What rock have you been under to think that people dont vote based off of what you do for their community. Why do you think right wing Christians support those who dont believe in abortion??...Because their candidates support their beliefs.

As for TK speaking about an ongoing criminal investigation, Im sure there might be a legal consequence if he talks, maybe... who knows... maybe at a later date he will speak out formally at a trial or similar event. Whatever the case may be,his brother is not the elected official.
His brother was not the one who gave out millions of city dollars. He is speaking out against Fenty. No one is voting for Omar. We are voting for Adrian.

Posted by: lilscooby09 | August 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Or not voting for adrian! WINK

Posted by: lilscooby09 | August 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Did Fenty reach enough to all the demographics you mentioned? Why is muslim community any different? Why do they need special coddling?

Posted by: thor2 | August 23, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

-Peter Rosenstein, a gay rights activist who served as informal adviser to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty during his 2006 campaign, announced in an op-ed in the Washington Blade that Gray is the "right man for this time in the city's history."

-Vincent Gray wins Latino endorsement with almost 100% of votes, Fenty Doesn’t show
"Our members’ endorsement vote on July 24th, 2010 of 37 votes for Vincent C. Gray and 1 for Adrian Fenty is the way some members of the Latino community are beginning to manifest their frustration and anger towards an administration that constantly neglects and disrespects it."

"The members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which represents gay Democrats, voted Monday night to endorse D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray over Adrian M. Fenty in the mayor's race"

Just some of those demographics mentioned.

and even if those groups didnt say the same thing the Muslim Democratic Caucus group is saying, why does it make the MDC's complaint null and void. If you have a concern and no one else does, are your problems less important? If the MDC endorsed him and he promised things to them, why shouldnt they be mad if Fenty didnt keep them?

Posted by: lilscooby09 | August 23, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Karim's act took real courage and I applaud him for the committment to his truth.

His is a very credible indictment of the Fenty way of governing as well as AF's now well documented disdain and disrespect for common folks.

Look at this glaring reality. Mr. Karim has been a close friend of AF's for nearly 20 years,and introduced him to his brother Omar. Omar Karim is at the epicenter of what appears to be a blossoming scandal directly involving the Mayor. To wit, WHY WAS THE DC CITY COUNCIL KEPT AWAY FROM THE PROCESS OF AWARDING $82 MILLION TO FRAT BROTHERS AND OTHER FRIENDS??? I suspect Mr. Fenty's worst nightmare other than losing the Democratic Primary Sep't 14 is having to raise his hand and answering those type question under oath before a jury of his peers...

I can only imagine the anguish Talib must have felt as he wrestled with whether to stay silent after witnessing first hand the Fenty MADNESS = quintessential & mean spirited, highly egotistical and narcissitic ARROGANCE, SELF ENTITLEMENT and an utter disrespect for democratic processes.

Washington DC residents owe Talib Karim BIG GRATITUDE for the intestinal fortitude it took to SPEAK TRUTH TO A RUTHLESS AND FEAR INDUCING, RETALITORY POWER BARON MAYOR named Adrian Fenty.

Given what I've learned of Mr. Fenty's history and behavior, I strongly suspect others to come forth with similar condemnations.

I enthusiastically campaigned for, and supported Mr. Fenty in 2006. Today, I share the belief of most I've met these past weeks here in DC. This city will be a better place when Mr. Fenty leaves office.

Rock Newman

Posted by: Rock100 | August 23, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to tell if the critique is based on "Fenty passes out too many plums" (which everyone agrees with, and which every DC mayor in my lifetime has done), or, "I didn't get any plums."

It's not clear how Muslims in DC have suffered under Fenty; in fact, the community seems to continue to progress, with, without, or in spite of him.

It seems a lot of people in DC are all too happy with bad governance, as long as they get a taste. That is one of the things holding the city back.

Some people like that Fenty cut back by letting go of some city workers who weren't good at their jobs (although some good ones surely went too), but nobody likes that this is where that money was going.

I worry that Gray would be stuck with all of Fenty's plums, plus a whole other round he's going to promise people to get elected, plus hold the line on or even reverse job cuts and spending cuts.

So while I totally agree with Karim's criticism of Fenty, it's not a persuasive case for Gray either.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 23, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Point understood 'Godfather of Goals', but even if someone is leaning toward your thinking, let's be so real: Who would you want driving your city if it were a bus, Fenty or Gray, and that's what part of the election is about for the undecided voters....but last without least; if Rock Newman's comments did not open your eyes, then clearly there is a problem...ROCK ROCK... ROCK 'ON' NEWMAN..Thanks for the commentary Dr. Newman...

Posted by: theyhateme | August 23, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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