Ibrahim Dremali was born in Gaza when it was still under the control of Egypt. He earned a degree in Sharia at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the institutional headquarters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and a center of Islamic Jihad activities.
Dremali moved to the United States in the 1990s, and in 1998 he co-founded the Florida-based Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), where he served as Imam until 2005. Under Dremali’s leadership, the Center, through its affiliation with the Health Resource Center of Palestine (HRCP) — a Dremali-founded entity with ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine — openly raised funds for the terrorist group Hamas. Dremali’s wife was the head of HRCP, and his brother Ishaq served as its “Gaza coordinator.”
Also under Dremali’s guidance, the ICBR organized a fundraising event that featured Khalid Smaili as a guest speaker. Smaili was the president of KindHearts, a pseudo-charity which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of its numerous ties to Islamic terrorism.
On another occasion Dremali’s ICBR invited Rafil Dhafir, who was affiliated with an unregistered Islamic charity called Help the Needy, to speak at a fundraising event. In February 2003 Dhafir and three others were charged with conspiring to transfer funds to Iraq, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Dremali was a vocal supporter of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), a designated al-Qaeda front group that donated $600,000 to the ICBR in January 2000. Characterizing GRF as a humanitarian organization that did not “have anything to do with terrorism,” Dremali charged that the federal government’s decision to freeze GRF’s assets was based solely on the fact that GRF was an Islamic charity, rather than on any evidence tying the organization to terrorism.
In October 2000 in Miami, Dremali spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally where Hezbollah flags were prominently displayed, and where demonstrators burned Israeli flags while shouting slogans like: “With jihad we’ll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand.” At this same event, Dremali intoned his support for Islamic terrorists, telling the crowd “not to be sad for the martyrs, or be afraid to die for what they believed in.” The crowd, in response, joined in a mock funeral procession chanting, “Haya ‘ala al-jihad” (“Live for the jihad”).
At a 2002 bond hearing, Dremali appeared in court as a character witness for Adham Hassoun, describing the latter as a “peaceful and generous” man. But in fact, Hassoun: (a) was a member of the terrorist group al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group); (b) was arrested in 2002 for trying to help an Islamic terrorist travel to Kosovo in order to become a “jihad fighter”; (c) raised thousands of dollars for the Benevolence Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, two terrorist-affiliated charities that were shut down by the United States government; and (d) was indicted in 2007 for “actively recruiting mujahideen fighters,” “raising funds for violent jihad,” promoting the establishment of “Islamic states under Sharia,” and “conspir[ing] to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country” — crimes for which he was sentenced to life in prison in January 2008.
In 2005 Dremali fled the Islamic Center of Boca Raton — possibly in anticipation of the arrest of one of his congregants, al-Qaeda operative Rafiq Sabir — and settled in Des Moines, Iowa, where he became the Imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines and established an Islamic school called New Horizons.
In 2006 Dremali was placed on a federal no-fly list.
In 2008 Dremali moved to Texas, where he became director of the Islamic Center of Greater Austin, director of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Austin Peace Academy, and a professor at the American Open University.
In October 2010 Dremali was arrested for immigration-law violations.
In addition to his aforementioned activities, Dremali also served stints as a legal adviser to the American Muslim Association of North America, a representative of the Islamic Circle of North America‘s Southeastern Division, and a member of the North American Imams Federation.