- Islamic cleric
- Admirer of the late Ayatollah Khomeini
- Has advised numerous law-enforcement organizations on homeland security-related matters
- Was named to President Obama's Homeland Security Advisory Council in 2010
- Misused classified documents in an effort to promote the notion that “Islamophobia” was widespread
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Mohamed Elibiary is a Texas-based Islamic cleric who founded Lone Star Intelligence LLC (a security crisis consulting firm) and the Freedom and Justice Foundation (a Muslim nonprofit group established in November 2002 to “promote a centrist public-policy environment in Texas by coordinating the state-level government and interfaith community relations for the organized Texas Muslim community”). This Foundation played a key role in successfully lobbying for the passage of Texas's Halal Food Law (the state's first Muslim consumer-protection statute), and for the institution of Islamic prayers (recited by Imams) in both chambers of the State Legislature.
Identifying himself as a conservative Republican, Elibiary is a longtime official of the Texas Republican Party and served as a delegate for Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. He believes that he can help the Party make inroads with Muslim voters by moving its foreign policy in a pro-Islamic direction.
According to the Clarion Project, “Elibiary is known for his almost daily advocacy for the Muslim Brotherhood on Twitter. He admits being intimately involved with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, which he describes as a 'social network.'”
At age 16 Elibiary befriended the CEO of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), Shukri Abu Baker, who indoctrinated the youngster with propaganda about Israeli persecution of Palestinians. Elibiary soon began making monthly donations to HLF, and he continued to do so until that Foundation was shuttered by the U.S. government in 2001 due to its terrorist ties.
In 2003 Elibiary served on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Dallas-Fort Worth chapter.
In 2004 Elibiary wrote, “Just because I listen to Osama bin Laden’s tapes and agree that the West routinely insults Muslim dignity, that doesn’t make me al-Qaeda. By listening, I gain a better understanding of a philosophyI wish to counter.”
In December 2004 Elibiary was a guest speaker at a Dallas conference titled “A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary,” which was held in honor of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. When a reporter subsequently asked Elibiary to explain why he had chosen to appear at an event honoring the iconic jihadist, Elibiary claimed not to have known in advance about the conference's agenda. When journalist Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News voiced skepticism about Elibiary's explanation, the latter threatened Dreher, telling him: “Expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe.”
In 2006 Elibiary co-founded the North Texas Islamic Council, to coordinate the activities of the many mosques, Islamic schools, and community groups serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area's 150,000+ Muslim residents.
In a 2006 letter to the Dallas Morning News, Elibiary defended the early Muslim Brotherhood leader and theorist Sayyid Qutb, known for his extreme anti-Americanism. Said Elibiary: “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.”
In 2007 Elibiary spoke at an Imam-training conference held jointly by the North American Imams Federation and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. Some excerpts from Elibiary's presentation include the following:
- “The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Jordan, Tunis, etc. is a social movement for religious revival that seeks to Islamicize the society through cultural changing Dawah and that includes the political system. Sound familiar? Yup, you’re right. They are the Muslim world’s version of the EvangelicalChristian Coalition/Moral Majority movement.”
- “We must always resist the temptation to force one group, such as Islamists, to reform by adopting ‘Liberalism’ for example. That would be denying them their self-determination to structure their societies according to theirpublic will.”
- “We should remember that them [Islamists] ruling their countries with Shariah law doesn’t mean them coming to our country and using our planes to destroy our buildings.”
Also in 2007 Elibiary condemned the American government's prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, and he accused the U.S. of “using the law to force compliance with unjust foreign policies.” Further, Elibiary wrote that Shukri Abu Baker, CEO of the Foundation, was a victim of political persecution. Emphasizing that Baker had done “absolutely nothing ‘criminal,’” and that the case against him was “largely built on associations to convict First-Amendment-protected rights,” Elibiary added: “This global war on terror needs a new strategy because we’re destroying ourselves more than al-Qaeda ever could.”
Notwithstanding his professed admiration for the likes of Khomeini, Qutb, and Baker, Elibiary managed to cultivate a reputation as a moderate Muslim -- "the country's leading Muslim deradicalization expert," according to one media report. Indeed, he went on to advise numerous federal, state and local law-enforcement organizations on homeland security-related matters.
In 2008-09 Elibiary was a Fellow at the University of Southern California's American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, an organization whose list of guest speakers included Zaid Shakir, who believes that Muslims cannot accept the legitimacy of the existing American order; impugns the U.S. for its “pattern of demonization, destabilization, and the invasion of hapless Third World nations”; and claims that organizations such as Hamas and al Qaeda are pursuing manifestly legitimate objectives.
In December 2009 Elibiary helped establish the Texas Fusion Center Policy Council, to help state and local law-enforcement personnel improve their information-sharing, analytical capabilities, and community relations.
In October 2010, President Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Janet Napolitano, appointed Elibiary, who had recently begun working with the Texas Department of Public Safety's advisory board, to DHS's Homeland Security Advisory Council. Over the ensuing four years, Elibiary would also serve on the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group (CVEWG) and the DHS Faith-Based Security and Communications Advisory Committee.
In his work with CVEWG, which was responsible for reviewing counter-terrorism training guidelines, Elibiary played a key role in doing away with the practice of educating DHS and FBI personnel about the ideology and tactics of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, he and fellow activists condemned FBI training curricula and materials that drew connections between Islamist supremacism, jihad and terrorism. National security expert and political analyst Ryan Mauro explains how Elibiary helped purge these materials:
“On October 4, 2011, Elibiary joined other Islamist activists and leftists in writing [FBI] Director [Robert] Mueller demanding that the FBI’s training materials be purged of such offensive material. Fifteen days later, he [Elibiary] was among 59 individuals and groups who wrote [to] then-Homeland Security Advisor to the President, John Brennan, insisting that the purge be extended to the training and trainers involved with the military, the intelligence community and homeland security/law enforcement community, as well. On November 11th, Brennan agreed.”
This document purge was accompanied by the issuance of new "Countering Violent Extremism" DHS training guidelines which essentially recommended marginalizing adversaries of the Brotherhood, specifically Muslim “reformers.”
Also in October 2011, it was reported that Elibiary had recently been given access to a highly sensitive Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) database -- known as the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest, or HS SLIC. This database contained hundreds of thousands of intelligence reports that were intended solely to aid law-enforcement agencies. In fact, Elibiary was the only Homeland Security Advisory Council member (out of 26) who was permitted to view the HS SLIC.
Elibiary abused this privilege, however, when he gathered together a number of classified documents that, in his view, promoted “Islamophobia,” and presented them to a left-leaning media outlet, in hopes that the latter would write a story about DPS's bias against Muslims. (He also sought to advance the notion that Texas governor Rick Perry was an "Islamophobe.") But the media outlet declined to do the story, saying: “We looked at the reports, and they weren’t as he [Elibiary] had billed them to us. They seem to be pretty straightforward, nothing remotely resembling Islamophobia that we saw. I think he was hoping we would bite and not give it too much of a look in light of the other media outfits jumping on the Islamophobia bandwagon.”
When journalist Patrick Poole asked a spokesman of the aforementioned media outlet if there was any indication as to what may have motivated Elibiary's actions, the reply was unambiguous: “Oh, self-promotion definitely. It was clear up front that he wanted to be a quoted source in the story. We’ve used him as an unnamed source in previous stories. There’s nothing unusual or unseemly about that because officials do it all the time, but this was the first time he approached us with documents. Honestly, if they had been what he represented them as we would have probably run with the story. But we looked at them and saw this was a partisan hatchet job that could blow back on us so we passed on it.”
In early November 2011, Elibiary’s access to the HS SLIC database was revoked. He retained his post as a DHS advisor, however. And in September 2013 he was promoted to senior advisor at the Advisory Council, a title held only by a small number of select members.
Elibiary received significant attention in June 2012, when five Republican lawmakers (most prominently, Michele Bachmann) sent letters to the inspectors general at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, and State, asking that they investigate government “policies and activities that appear to be the result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.” Elibiary was named in these letters along with Arif Alikhan, Rashad Hussain,Salam al-Marayati, Mohamed Magid, and Eboo Patel.
In a 2013 interview, Elibiary described the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has ties to many Muslim extremists including Hamas, as an innocent “community organization” with no involvement in any criminal activity.
In the same interview, Elibiary described the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt as “a pragmatic, non-violent and generally pluralistic sociopolitical movement by Egyptian cultural standards.” It was “not accurate,” he said, “to paint MB-Egypt as dogmatic, violent or autocratic, much less more sensationalized terms like dictatorial, totalitarian or jihadist.”
In October 2013, Elibiary said: “I do consider the United States of America an Islamic country with an Islamically compliant constitution.” In other words, he believed that the Constitution and Sharia law reflect basically the same values and principles.
Also in 2013, Elibiary spoke at length about what he viewed as the pervasive problem of Islamophobia in the United States:
“Islamophobia or anti-Muslim bigotry as I prefer to call it, today in [America], to me comes in three varieties. The first form of Islamophobia is simply an irrational bigotry towards anything Islam-or Muslim-related, and that’s a very small percentage of our population that I don’t really worry about because it’s driven by a diminishing emotional radicalization dynamic.
“The second form of Islamophobia is a Western civilization phenomenon, aptly coined 'anti-Semitism on training wheels' by Suhail Khan, a former Bush White House official ... This form is strongly rejected by Jewish community leaders because itsmacks of a 'Protocols of Elders of Zion'-type narrative about Muslims trying to take over the world. It tells Americans that Islamic theology is uniquely a threat to our way of life and therefore needs special preventative legal measures, just as in centuries past, Western anti-Semites used to make the same arguments of Jews and their faith as being incompatible with enlightened European Christian values.
“The third form of Islamophobia treats the ... American Muslim community as a counter-intelligence subversive front group for the international Islamist movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood. This approach treats the American Muslim community with undeserved and unfair suspicion, and marginalizes a sizable portion of ourfellow citizens out of the political mainstream, like a pariah.”
An advocate of the U.S. forging a partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood, Elibiary in June 2014 wrote on Twitter that it was “inevitable that [the] Caliphate returns” to the Middle East.
In the spring of 2014, as the barbaric terrorist group ISIS violently overran vast swaths of Iraqi territory in its quest to establish a new islamic caliphate, Elibiary said on Twitter, “Kind of comical watching pundits on some US TV channels freak out about an #ISIS #Caliphate.” He continued, “Easy folks, take deep breath & relax. #Iraq.”
In June 2014, Elibiary tweeted that the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate was “inevitable.” Comparing the concept of a caliphate to the European Union, he claimed that both U.S. political parties wre “headed in [the] direction” of endorsing it.
In early September 2014, Elibiary announced that he had decided to leave his position as a DHS senior advisor, in order to focus on “reforming” the conservative movement prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Also in September 2014, Elibiary stated that the U.S. government “needs to deepen our strategic engagement” with the Muslim Brotherhood, which he described as a non-violent, democratic and moderate organization that, as such, bore resemblances to Christian evangelicals.
Additional Information on Elibiary:
* Elibiary has characterized former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a prominent member of the Brotherhood, as “Egypt’s Mandela.” And even though Morsi was deposed by overwhelming popular demand in 2013, Elibiary contends that a Brotherhood-affiliated candidate would still win a free and fair election in Egypt today.
* As for the Christian Copts in Egypt who opposed Morsi and the Brotherhood, Elibiary considers them to be “extremely unwise and immoral” people. He has similarly accused American Coptic leaders of being “extremist,” “promoting Islamophobia,” and “nurtur[ing] anti-Islam and anti-Muslim sentiments.”
* By Elibiary's reckoning, the U.S. has no right to oppose the implementation of sharia law in Muslim countries. “We must always resist the temptation to force one group such as Islamists to reform by adopting ‘liberalism’ for example,” he says. “That would be denying them their self-determination to structure their societies according to their public will.”
* Elibiary has been invited to testify before Congress on U.S. counterterrorism policy. He is also an Associate Member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a member of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, and a lifetime member of the International Association of Business Communicators.
* Elibiary has appeared publicly with Jamal Badawi, who is an unindicted o-conspirator in the Holy Land trial owing to his active fundraising for the group, a founder of the Muslim American Society, and “active” in the Islamic Society of North America.
* Elibiary close ties to the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
* Elibiary has posted messages on Twitter indicating that he has met, on occasion, with the relatives of Hamas leaders.
* Elibiary has served as:
- a spokesman for the Islamic Association of North Texas (a.k.a. the Dallas Central Mosque), which boasts the largest Muslim congregation in the state
- vice president of the FBI-Dallas Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association.