Huma Abedin’s Brotherhood Ties Are Not Just a Family Affair

Family Security Matters

Senator John McCain’s claim that concerns about Huma Abedin are a smear based  on “a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations” proves more  embarrassing by the day. In fact, to the extent it addressed Ms. Abedin, the letter sent to the State Department’s inspector general by  five House conservatives actually understated the case.

The letter averred that Abedin “has three family members – her late  father,  her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood  operatives and/or  organizations.” It turns out, however, that Abedin herself is directly  connected to Abdullah Omar Naseef, a major Muslim  Brotherhood figure involved  in the financing of al-Qaeda. Abedin worked  for a number of years at the  Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs as  assistant editor of its journal. The  IMMA was founded by Naseef, who  remained active in it for decades, overlapping  for several years with  Abedin. Naseef was also secretary general of the Muslim  World League in  Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most significant Muslim Brotherhood   organization in the world. In that connection, he founded the Rabita  Trust,  which is formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization  under American  law due to its support of al-Qaeda.

You ought to be able to stop right there.

A person is not required to have done anything wrong to be denied a   high-ranking government position, or more immediately, the security  clearance  allowing access to classified information that is necessary to  function in such  a job. There simply need be associations, allegiances,  or interests that  establish a potential conflict of interest.

Government jobs and access to the nation’s secrets are privileges,  not  rights. That is why the potential conflict needn’t stem from one’s  own  associations with hostile foreign countries, organizations, or  persons.  Vicarious associations, such as one’s parents’ connections to  troublesome  persons and organizations, are sufficient to create a  potential conflict.

In this instance, however, before you even start probing the  extensive,  disturbing Brotherhood ties of her family members, Huma  Abedin should have been  ineligible for any significant government  position based on her own personal  and longstanding connection to  Naseef’s organization.

Specifically, Ms. Abedeen was affiliated with the Institute of Muslim  Minority Affairs, where she was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim  Minority Affairs. The journal was the IMMA’s raison d’etre.   Abedin held the position of assistant editor from 1996 through 2008 –  from when  she began working as an intern in the Clinton White House  until shortly before  she took her current position as Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton’s deputy  chief of staff.

The IMMA was founded in the late 1970s by Abdullah Omar Naseef, who  was then  the vice president of the prestigious King Abdulaziz University  in Saudi  Arabia. The IMMA’s chief product was to be its journal. For  the important  position of managing editor, Naseef recruited his fellow  academic Zyed Abedin,  who had been a visiting professor at the  university in the early 1970s.

To join the IMMA, Dr. Abedin moved his family, including infant  daughter  Huma (born in 1976), to Saudi Arabia from Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Zyed’s wife,  Saleha Mahmood Abedin (Huma’s mother), is also an academic  and worked for the  journal from its inception. She would eventually take  it over after her husband  died in 1993, and she remains its editor to  this day. Huma Abedin’s brother  Hassan, another academic, is an  associate editor at the journal.

The journal began publishing in 1979. For its initial edition,  Abdullah Omar  Naseef – identified in the masthead as “Chairman,  Institute of Muslim Minority  Affairs” – penned a brief introduction  relating the IMMA’s vision for the  journal. Zyed Abedin appeared as  managing editor in the journal’s second  edition in 1979, proclaiming in a  short introduction his “deep appreciation to  H.E. Dr. Abdullah O.  Naseef, President, King Abdulaziz University, for his  continued  guidance, support, and encouragement.” (I am indebted to the Center  for  Security Policy, which obtained some copies of the journal, going back   many years.)

Not long after the journal started, Naseef became the secretary  general of  the Muslim World League, the Saudi-financed global  propagation enterprise by  which the Muslim Brotherhood’s virulently  anti-Western brand of Islamist  ideology is seeded throughout the world,  very much including in the United  States.

We are not talking here about some random imam in the dizzying  alphabet soup  of Islamist entities. In the pantheon of Islamic  supremacism, there are few  positions more critical than secretary  general of the Muslim World League. In  fact, one of the MWL’s founders  was Sa’id  Ramadan, the right-hand and son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood’s  legendary founder.

The MWL manages the “civilization jihad” – the Brotherhood’s  commitment to  destroy the West from within, and to “conquer” it by  sharia proselytism (or dawa), as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s top sharia jurist,  puts it. Nevertheless, the MWL has a long history of deep involvement in violent jihad as well.

It was under MWL auspices in 1988 that Naseef created a “charity”  called the  Rabita Trust. The scare-quotes around “charity” are  intentional. To direct the  Rabita Trust, Naseef selected Wael  Hamza Jalaidan. A few years earlier, Jalaidan had joined with Osama bin  Laden to form al-Qaeda.

This would surprise you only if you waste your time listening to John   McCain, Version 2012 – as opposed to John McCain, Version 2011, who professed  himself “unalterably opposed” to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Under the Brotherhood’s interpretation of sharia, which is explained in such  works as Reliance  of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, all Muslims  are supposed to donate a portion of their income. This obligation, known as zakat, is usually referred to as “charity” by Islamists and their  Western pom-pom waivers. But it is not charity; it  is fortification of the ummah – the notional global community  of Muslims.

As Reliance instructs, zakat can only be given to  Muslims,  and one-eighth of it is supposed to be donated to “those  fighting for Allah,  meaning people engaged in Islamic military  operations for whom no salary has  been allotted in the army roster.”  Remember that the next time you hear the  ubiquitous claim that Muslim  charities are being misused as “fronts” for  terrorism. This is not a  “misuse” and they are not “fronts.” Under sharia, the  streaming of  donations to violent jihadists is quite intentional.

A month after the 9/11 attacks, Naseef’s Rabitah Trust was formally   designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States  government.  Ultimately, branches of the al-Haramain  Islamic Foundation and the International  Islamic Relief Organization –  other “charities” with roots in the MWL  – were also designated as  foreign terrorist organizations under federal law.  This, too, should  have not been a surprise. In 2003, in connection with a  terrorism  prosecution in Chicago, the Justice Department proffered  that Osama bin Laden had told his aide Jamal al-Fadl that the Muslim  World  League was one of al-Qaeda’s three top funding sources. (Fadl  later renounced  al-Qaeda and cooperated with federal prosecutors.)

Throughout the time that he ran the MWL and the Rabita Trust, Naseef  kept  his hand in at the IMMA. In fact, he continued to be listed on the  masthead as  a member of the “advisory editorial board” at the IMMA’s  journal until 2003. We  might hazard a guess why his name disappeared  after that: in 2004, he was named  as a defendant in the civil case  brought by victims of the 9/11 atrocities. (In  2010, a federal court  dropped him from the suit – not because he was found  uninvolved, but  because a judge reasoned the American court lacked personal  jurisdiction  over him.)

Huma Abedin was affiliated with the IMMA’s journal for a dozen years,  from  1996 through 2008. She overlapped with its founder, Naseef, for at least  seven years – it could be more, but I am assuming for argument’s sake that  Naseef  had no further involvement in his institute once his name was removed   from the masthead.

The case against Ms. Abedin’s suitability for a high-level position  with  access to the nation’s secrets gets much worse if you add in her  family  ties.

To summarize what I’ve already outlined  here at Ordered Liberty: her parents were recruited by Naseef to head  up the  IMMA; her mother is an active member of Muslim Brotherhood  organizations –  including the Muslim Sisterhood and two entities that  are part of Sheikh  Qaradawi’s Union of Good, another designated  terrorist organization; there is  persuasive evidence that her father was  a member of the Brotherhood – e.g., the  intimate tie to Naseef and his  widow’s membership in the Muslim Sisterhood  (which is substantially  comprised of wives and female relatives of prominent  Muslim Brothers);  her mother is a tireless advocate of sharia law as preached  by Qaradawi  and the Brotherhood; and her brother, who is also affiliated with  the  IMMA’s journal, was a fellow at an Islamist institute (the Oxford Center   for Islamic Studies) on whose board sat both Naseef and Qaradawi.

Nevertheless, the family ties to the Brotherhood only further  elucidate what  is already patent: Huma Abedin’s connection to Abdullah  Omar Naseef, by itself,  would have been more than enough justification  to deny her a security  clearance. That would have made it inconceivable  that she could serve as deputy  chief of staff to the secretary of state.

Ms. Abedin has very disturbing connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Though  she is not a policymaker, she is an important adviser, and  during her  three-year tenure, federal government policy has radically  shifted in the  Brotherhood’s favor, to the point that the Obama  administration is not only  embracing the previously shunned Brotherhood  but issuing visas to members of  formally designated terrorist  organizations.

The question is not whether the five House conservatives were  off-base in  asking for an investigation into ties between administration  officials and  Islamist organizations. The question is why the other 430  members of the House  haven’t joined them – and why John McCain, John  Boehner, and other Republican  establishment luminaries are championing  the Muslim Brotherhood’s side of the  dispute.

Read more: Family Security Matters Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s