A senior advisor to the Department of Homeland Security is an old friend of an activist who was convicted in 2008 of financing the terrorist organization Hamas.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Mohamed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, reiterated claims he made this summer that former Holy Land Foundation president and CEO Shukri Abu Baker is innocent and a victim of political persecution.
Elibiary, who in his position on the council has regular access to classified information, also said the United States insults Muslim dignity and compared the Muslim Brotherhood to American evangelicals.
Elibiary confirmed to journalist Ryan Mauro of the ClarionProject in August that he is a longtime friend of Baker. Mauro’s interview can be read at the Center for Security Policy.
Baker and four other officials of the closed Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development were convicted of using the charity to finance Hamas in 2008. It was the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history. Federal prosecutors described the Foundation, which was closed by the U.S. government in 2001, as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
Elbiary first disclosed the relationship in a 2007 article in the Dallas Morning News. He met Baker as a teenager and was so moved by the terrorist funder’s explanation of alleged Israeli persecution of Palestinians that he says he began donating monthly to Baker’s foundation until it closed in 2001. The friendship continued, with Elibiary meeting with Baker for coffee the day before he was convicted.
Elibiary maintains that Baker is innocent, and in 2010 he wrote that the U.S. government was “using the law to force compliance with unjust foreign policies.” He reiterated his belief that the U.S. should not have prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation.
The Muslim activist has never disguised his support for Muslim Brotherhood extremism. In a 2006 letter to the Morning News, he defended the fanatically anti-American early Brotherhood leader and theorist Sayyid Qutb, stating, “I’d recommend everyone read Qutb, but read him with an eye to improving America not just to be jealous with malice in our hearts.”
Elibiary has been honored by the FBI’s Society of Former Special Agents. In September he was promoted to Senior Advisor at the Advisory Council, a title held only by select members. Other Council members include William Bratton, the revered former New York police commissioner and Los Angeles chief of police; former CIA Director Bill Webster; and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca.
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) September 12, 2013
“If you ever wondered why the Obama Administration believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate force for good and partners with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities, this interview with Mr. Elibiary helps us find an answer,” Mauro said.
Elibiary received national attention in June 2012 when Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other members of Congress wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security naming him as one of three advisors with “extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, other Islamist organizations and causes.”
Mauro writes that Elibiary was instrumental in promoting DHS’s guidelines “Countering Violent Extremism Dos and Don’ts,” which Mauro says “essentially prevent law enforcement from learning about the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood or being trained in its doctrine.”
“I helped my community pick up the pieces and safeguard its nonprofit organizations, in order to protect its liberties, after the HLF’s closure and eventual conviction,” Elibiary told Mauro. “But the corollary to my position was that if the Muslim community leadership and the government can mutually reconcile and turn a new page, then the targeted national Muslim community organizations should be allowed to proceed anew.”
Elibiary’s efforts to “safeguard” American Islamists from prosecution supports April 2011 reports by Patrick Poole that the Justice Department stopped planned indictments of HLF co-conspirators, including a founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, along with several officials with the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the now-defunct SAAR Group.
In 2007, Elibiary’s Freedom and Justice Foundation made a presentation to an imam training conference at the 4th Annual Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, held jointly with the North American Imams Federation in California. Both are hardline Islamist groups. The presentation states:
“The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Jordan, Tunis, etc. is a social movement for religious revival that seeks to Islamicize the society….and that includes the political system. Sound familiar? Yup, you’re right they are the Muslim world’s version of the Evangelical Christian Coalition/Moral Majority movement.”
Reached by phone to confirm some of his statements to Mauro, Elibiary reiterated his positions. He also condemned The Daily Caller’s “drive-by” reporting on Syrian Islamists.
“Islamism is a multi-century, transnational, intellectually grounded movement with influential philosophical works from multiple continents,” Elibiary told TheDC. “It has many subcultures and currents of thought. Some are no different then conservatives who ground their values in a judeo-Christian worldview and it has its violent extremist strains.”
Elibiary also took issue with The Daily Caller’s reporting on the DHS guidelines he helped institute.
“I recognized that I’d be taking a political risk in granting you an interview, especially after reading the less than accurate piece on DHS’s CVE training guidance I read from you,” Elibiary told TheDC, “but I overcame my distrust and cooperated because bridging the divide between the Average Conservative Male today and the Average Muslim is needed for our country and the Republican Party.”