- Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council
- Spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California
- Characterizes Hezbollah terrorists as “freedom fighters”
A supporter of the radical and violent form of Islam known as Wahhabism, Maher Hathout is a founder and director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Los Angeles-based Islamic advocacy group that defends Muslim extremist violence. MPAC has condemned the anti-terrorism measures of both the U.S. and Israel, and has called for a repeal of the Patriot Act. Hathout is also a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California.
Hathout characterizes Palestinian suicide bombing attacks against Israelis as the very understandable “bitter result of the reckless policy of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon.” He has also supported attacks by the terrorist group Hezbollah, whose members he characterizes as “freedom fighters.” He has called Israel a land of “butchers” who have set up an oppressive system of “racist apartheid.” He condemned the 1998 strike ordered by President Bill Clinton against Sudan and Afghanistan in retaliation for the terrorist bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In Hathout’s view, the U.S. response was “illegal, immoral, inhuman, unacceptable, stupid, and un-American.”
Maher Hathout co-founded the Islamic Center of Southern California with his brother, Hassan. The Islamic Center of Southern California is MPAC’s sister organization and publishes MPAC’s publication, The Minaret, which has identified Maher Hathout as “a close disciple of the late [Muslim Brotherhood founder] Hassan al-Banna of Egypt.” A March 1998 Minaret article titled, “In Appreciation of Dr. Hassan Hathout,” also details Hassan’s ties to al-Banna: “… Hassan Hathout was a companion of Hassan al-Banna…Hassan Hathout would speak of al-Banna with such love and adoration; he would speak of a relationship not guided by politics or law but by a basic sense of human decency.” In 1997, Hathout delivered an address at the State Department on emerging Islamic trends, in which he lauded Hassan Turabi, prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, as a reformer. Hasan al-Turabi was the head of the National Islamic Front, which the U.S. government has condemned for supporting terrorism, launching a genocidal war in southern Sudan, and for continued human rights violations. Turabi also gave Osama bin Laden sanctuary in Sudan. As part of his plan to turn the country into a global militant Islamist base, Hassan Turabi invited Bin Laden to Sudan in 1991. The two, bounded by a personal friendship and shared ideology, began a close financial and military cooperation that lasted until Bin Laden left Sudan in 1996.