Born in 1950, Mahdi Bray is a former Baptist who converted to Islam sometime in the mid- to late 1970s.
Over the years, Bray has been convicted more than 20 times for operating improperly registered, tagged or inspected vehicles, and for repeatedly driving with a suspended license. More seriously, during the 1980s he was convicted and sentenced on three felonies:
- Marijuana and Cocaine Possession: In 1981 Bray was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the marijuana charge, and a year in jail for the cocaine charge (with 10 of those 12 months suspended).
- Grand Larceny: In 1981 Bray pled guilty to cashing bad checks in various stores, and he was sentenced to three years in prison (with two years suspended).
- Mail Fraud and Receipt of Stolen U.S. Securities: When Bray’s grandfather, Wrighty Bray, died in December 1975, the monthly workers’ compensation checks which he had been receiving should have been stopped. But Mahdi Bray signed and submitted a fraudulent form declaring that Wrighty Bray was still alive and still unemployed, thus the workers’ compensation checks continued to come for more than a decade thereafter; by the mid-1980s Mahdi Bray had illegally pocketed more than $71,000 as a result of this scam. Investigators finally caught up with him around 1986-87, and in June 1988 Bray was indicted on 64 counts of mail fraud and receipt of stolen U.S. Securities. He was subsequently sentenced to 36 months in prison and was ordered to make full restitution. For additional details about Bray’s duplicity in this matter, click here.
On one occasion in 1981, Bray seemed to deny his Muslim faith when – during a pre-sentencing investigation related to the drug charges that had been filed against him – he told his probation officer that he was a member of the Central Avenue Baptist Church in Norfolk (Virginia), and that he wanted to eventually become a Baptist minister.
Following his release from prison in 1991, Bray went on to become a public figure and activist. He is best known as the former executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MASFF)