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Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood: Closely Connected

Written by Andrew C. McCarthy

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Senator John McCain ought to be embarrassed. So should House Speaker John Boehner and Congressman Mike Rogers, the former FBI agent who chairs the Select Committee on Intelligence. 

These pillars of the Republican establishment have been championing the cause of Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms. Abedin’s name arose, along with several others, in connection with questions pressed by five conservative House Republicans regarding Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the United States government. The GOP establishment, led by McCain, Boehner and Rogers, has been slamming Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, one of the five House conservatives, over her refusal to back down from concerns over Ms. Abedin.

Here are four things, among many, that we now know:

1. Huma Abedin’s mother, Dr. Saleha S. Mahmood Abedin (hereafter, Saleha Abedin), is an influential member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s division for women, the  Muslim Sisterhood. She is also a zealous advocate of sharia law’s oppression of women — which McCain himself condemned in a 2011 interview with Der Spiegel.

2. Not only that: Saleha Abedin is a board member of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief. The IICDR has been long banned in Israel for supporting Hamas. It is also part of the Union for Good, which is a formally designated international terrorist organization under federal law. The Union for Good is led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chief sharia jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is the world’s most influential Islamic cleric, and has issued fatwas endorsing suicide bombings against Israel and terrorist attacks against American forces in Iraq.

3. Moreover, it turns out that Huma Abedin herself was, until late 2008, a member of another of her mother’s Islamist organizations, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. The Center for Security Policy has reviewed past mastheads of the IMMA’s journal. Huma Abedin is listed as an assistant editor (to her mother, the editor-in-chief) as far back as 1996, the year she began interning at the Clinton White House. The IMMA was started in Saudi Arabia in the Seventies by Huma Abedin’s parents, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Naseef. Naseef is a former secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which, as I’ve previously explained, has long been the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology. Under the auspices of the MWL, Naseef not only backed the IMMA; he founded the Rabita Trust, which — like the Union for Good — is a specially designated international terrorist organization under federal law.

4. Furthermore, Huma Abedin’s brother, Hassan Abedin, besides also being part of the IMMA, was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. On the board at the Oxford Center when Hassan Abedin was a fellow were the aforementioned Brotherhood heavyweights and terror promoters, Sheikh Qaradawi and Abdullah Omar Naseef.

There is a great deal of background information now available about Huma Abedin and her family connections to the Brotherhood. In particular, extensive research has been done by Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim Brother who has renounced the Brotherhood, and the Center for Security Policy. I would encourage interested readers to peruse the information they have put out, and are continuing to unearth. I am simply distilling the highlights, which powerfully demonstrate that it is the Republican establishment acting irresponsibly, not Rep. Bachmann and her conservative colleagues.

In a nutshell, shortly after Huma Abedin was born in 1976, the Abedin family moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Saudi Arabia, a country governed by sharia and thus one of the world’s most repressive places, particularly for women. The family’s move was encouraged by Naseef, who would soon be Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL). Naseef had been dean at the King Abdul Azziz University when Dr. Zyed Abedin (Huma’s father) taught there as a visiting professor in the early Seventies. At Naseef’s urging, the aforementioned Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) was formed as an Islamist academic institution, with Zyed Abedin as editor-in-chief of its journal.

As Shoebat relates, the IMMA was operated under the management of one of the MWL’s most significant organizations, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. I discussed WAMY in The Grand Jihad. Its principal role is the indoctrination of young Muslims in supremacist ideology — as outlined in one of its pamphlets, Islamic Views, it aims to “teach our children to love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors, and teach them that our youngsters will liberate Palestine and al-Quds [i.e., Jerusalem] when they go back to Islam and make Jihad for the sake of Allah.” As Matthew Levitt extensively details in Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, WAMY has been a financial supporter of Hamas and al Qaeda.

Saleha Abedin, like her late husband, is an academic. She is also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood — specifically, of its women’s division, the Muslim Sisterhood. Shoebat explains that Sisterhood members include the wives and some other female relatives of high-ranking Brotherhood members. Indeed, Nagla Ali Mahmoud, the wife of newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, as also a Sisterhood member.

Since its founding, Saleha Abedin had been heavily involved in the IMMA. As did her late husband, she has close ties to IMMA’s original backer, former MWL leader Naseef. Saleha Abedin has represented herself several times as a representative of the MWL. This is no surprise: She was listed on the MWL’s website as a member of the organization — a listing that was evidently purged after controversy arose over Huma Abedin’s Islamist ties. (Walid Shoebat copied a screenshot before it was deleted.)

Saleha Abedin also directs the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child. In fact, the IICWC was listed as a MWL organization on Saleha Abedin’s (now deleted) MWL membership page. The authors of the IICWC’s charter are Sheikh Qaradawi and several other self-proclaimed Muslim Brotherhood members.

In addition, the IICWC describes itself as part of the aforementioned International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR). As the Center for Security Policy has pointed out, the logo for the IICWC  brandishes the IICDR emblem. “Dawa” is the the “call to Islam” — i.e., the aggressive proselytism of Islam and its sharia that, according to Sheikh Qaradawi, will lead Islam to “conquer Europe” and “conquer America.” Qaradawi, in fact, was the IICDR’s chairman. A document from the United Nations archives identifies Saleha Abedin (spelled as “Abdien” and showing her affiliation as “IICW&CH”) as figure featured prominently at an IICDR board meeting.

The IICDR has been banned in Israel for providing material support for Hamas — the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. Hamas is a specially designated terrorist organization under American law. The IICDR supported Hamas under the auspices of Qaradawi’s aforementioned Union for Good, which is also a designated terrorist organization under American law. This, too, is no surprise. The financial support of Hamas has long been a top priority of Qaradawi and the Brotherhood. Moreover, the Union for Good was behind the “Freedom Flotilla” by which Turkish Islamists attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza in 2010.

Consistent with Brotherhood membership, Saleha Abedin’s work at the MWL, IMMA, and IICWC, has stridently advocated sharia law — specifically, the interpretation endorsed by Sheikh Qaradawi and by the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading American think-tank, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, in the manual called Reliance of the Traveller — which I outlined here. The IICWC website calls for the repeal of Mubarak-era Egyptian laws that ban female genital mutilation, child marriage, and marital rape. All of these noxious practices find support in Islamic scripture. Therefore, according to thinkers like Saleha Abedin, they may not be prohibited because nothing permitted by sharia may be forbidden by man-made law.

Moreover, as the Center for Security Policy details, Saleha Abedin published a book called Women in Islam, under the auspices of the IICWC and the IMMA. The book is a sharia guide to women’s issues, and it extensively cites the writings of Sayyid Qutb, who was the Brotherhood’s leading theorist after the death of its founder, Hassan al-Banna. Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government in 1966, and his writings continue to influence jihadist terror organizations, including al Qaeda. 

Women in Islam asserts that man-made laws “enslave women” and that sharia is women’s “only escape.” The book provides sharia justifications for such practices as: female genital mutilation; stoning and lashing as punishments for adultery; forbidding the death penalty for the murder of apostates (sharia prescribes the death penalty for apostatizing from Islam); the participation of women in violent jihad; prohibiting social interaction between the sexes; requiring women to be veiled; restricting free speech to what benefits Islam; forbidding women from abstaining from sexual intercourse on demand by their husbands; and requiring women to bar entry of any person into their homes unless their husbands have granted permission.

We have no way of knowing, of course, whether Senator McCain was familiar with Saleha Abedin’s book when he rose to Huma Abedin’s defense. Ironically, though, he told Der Speigel in 2011 that what he found most objectionable about sharia was its mistreatment of women.

Saleha Abedin’s book was published in 1999 and has been available through the IMMA ever since. That is very interesting because Huma Abedin herself was affiliated with the IMMA from as far back as 1996 until late 2008, after which she joined the State Department. She is no longer listed, but a screenshot of the IMMA journal’s website, captured in 2008, identifies her as an assistant editor.

Besides Huma and Saleha (who is identified as editor), the IMMA website lists Huma’s brother, Hassan Abedin, as an associate editor. For a number of years in the mid-2000s, while he was affiliated with IMMA, Hassan Abedin was also a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. The board members at the time included Sheikh Qaradawi and Omar Abdullah Naseef — leaders, respectively, of the aforementioned terrorist entities Union for Good and the Rabita Trust.

Michele Bachmann and her four conservative House colleagues — Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Lynn Westmorland and Tom Rooney — have called for a serious vetting of government officials who may have Muslim Brotherhood ties. Obviously, it is much needed in light of the Brotherhood’s hostility to America, promotion of terrorism, and propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology. Yet, the Obama administration and the Left are obstructing such a vetting — with strong assistance from Republican leadership in Congress. What is going on here is classic misdirection: While everyone is focused on Huma Abedine and the demagoguing of Michele Bachmann, no one seems to be noticing that the administration — with GOP leadership’s apparent approval — is serially aligning American government policy with Muslim Brotherhood priorities.

Senator McCain is probably hopeless. But perhaps Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers could find a way to attack the Muslim Brotherhood rather than their conservative colleagues. Just a thought.

Pajamas Media Ordered Liberty

Andrew_C_McCarthyAndrew C. McCarthy is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Grand Jihad and Willful Blindness. He is a contributing editor at National Review and co-chairs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He also writes the Ordered Liberty blog at PJMedia.com.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewCMcCarthy
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