Maher Hathout



  • 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.

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 and his brother, Hassan, co-founded the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC), MPAC’s sister organization. The MPAC magazine The Minaret, which is published by ICSC, 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. As part of his plan to turn the country into a global militant Islamist base, Turabi also invited Osama bin Laden to Sudan in 1991 and gave him sanctuary there. Bonded by a personal friendship and shared ideology,the two men shared a close financial and military cooperation that lasted until bin Laden left Sudan in 1996.

Maher Hathout is the Senior Advisor and one of the founders of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

Hathout delivered a lecture at the State Department in 1997 in which he discussed emerging Islamic trends. Among the reformists he cited were Hassan al-Banna, Rashid Ghannoushi and Hassan al-Turabi. They advocated a pluralistic society that would work for peace and justice for all, he said, but they been ignored, despite the fact that ‘they represent the masses and speak their language.'”[1]

These examples of people Hathout sees as “reformists” are, in reality, extremists.

Hassan al Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Sunni movement dedicated to resurrecting an Islamic Caliphate. According to al-Banna, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”[2] Al-Banna gave the group the motto it still uses today: “God is our purpose, the Prophet our leader, the Quran our constitution, jihad our way and dying for Allah our supreme objective.”[3] Hamas and Al Qaeda have roots in the Muslim Brotherhood[4] while Palestinian Islamic Jihad was founded by breakaway Brotherhood members.[5]

Rashid Al Ghannoushi was the head of Tunisia’s banned Islamic fundamentalist Al-Nahda Party and was convicted by a Tunisian court of responsibility for a bomb blast that blew the foot off a British tourist. [6]

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. [7]

Hathout has justified Hizballah violence, saying in 1998: “The whole country keeps condemning Hizballah; I disagree with them on other issues, but on the issue of fighting to liberate their land and attacking only armed forces, this is legitimate, this is an American value – freedom and liberty.”[8]

In May 2001, Hathout said “… the United States is also under Israeli occupation… [and] we have a Congress that beats the Knesset in being pro-Zionist.”[9]

Then, days after the 9/11 attacks, Hathout encouraged a conspiracy theory that the hijackers’ identities were being falsified. During a chat at the IslamOnline website, a writer claimed one hijacker was alive and well while a second had been dead for more than a year. Hathout praised the writer for “providing unique information that needs to be more known and verified. Please call the Minaret magazine…”[10]

Click here to listen to Hathout on convicted PIJ leader, Sami Al-Arian. (Hathout: I don’t see this meeting as a meeting to defend Sami Al-Arian. I think his record is clear.)

Click here to see Hathout on the subject of Israel. (Hathout: We did not come here to condemn the condemned atrocities committed by the apartheid brutal state of Israel because butchers do what butchers do and because what is expected from a racist apartheid is what is happening now. They say, America is the only democracy in the Middle East. This is a lie. They say Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. This is a lie. Israel is not a democracy, Israel is a theocracy, and is an apartheid state against every fiber of the modern world.)


Dr. Maher Hathout, an Egyptian-born cardiologist who became an influential American Muslim leader,

died of liver canceron Jan. 3 in Duarte, Calif. He was 79.

 For decades Dr. Hathout encouraged American Muslims to join the multicultural mosaic of the United States.

“He represented free and critical thinking in helping Muslims face contemporary challenges and bring congruence between living as a Muslim and as an American,” Mr. Marayati said. “He influenced many young Muslims to participate in civic life, people who now lead in major government, media and philanthropic institutions.”

That vision shaped his response to radical Islam. He repeatedly challenged reflexive juxtapositions of Muslims with terrorists, explaining to non-Muslims that terrorism was un-Islamic, and that the true meaning of “jihad” is an internal spiritual struggle of purification and promotion of social justice and human rights.

Born in Egypt on Jan. 1, 1936, he enlisted as a student in the protest movement against Britain’s half-century occupation of his country. He was imprisoned for almost five years. After earning bachelor’s and medical degrees at Cairo University, he left Egypt in 1968 for Kuwait, then moved in 1971 to Buffalo, where he worked as a cardiologist and became active in the Muslim community.

Six years later, he settled in Los Angeles. He was joined there by his older brother, Dr. Hassan Hathout, at the Islamic Center of Southern California,      There he helped start a coeducational youth group and a weekly nationally televised program about Islam.

In 1991, Dr. Hathout helped found the Religious Coalition Against War in the Middle East, became the first Muslim chairman of the Los Angeles Interfaith Council, and in 2000 was the first American Muslim to deliver the invocation at a Democratic national convention, in Los Angeles.

Since co-founding MPAC in 1988,

He is also a Charter Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the western partner of the Council on Foreign Relations, served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Alliance, and was the Chair of the Islamic Center of Southern California and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

Dr. Hathout has written extensively on Islam, human rights, democracy, Middle East politics, and Bosnia. He is the author of three books – “Jihad vs. Terrorism” (2002), “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” (2006), and “Islam 2.0: Conversations with New Muslim Generations” (2009).

He died on January 3, 2015.

But now IPT has uncovered the tape of a speech that Hathout gave at a benefit dinner held to raise defense funds for Jamil Al-Amin at his trial on charges of shooting one Georgia sheriff’s deputy to death and seriously wounding another.

No fewer than a half-dozen times in the speech Hathout referred to Al-Amin as “our brother.” He said he would always take Al-Amin’s word over that of supposedly untrustworthy police. And he veered off into generalized charges of racism against the United States, and even piggybacked on the Al-Amin case his standard charges of “apartheid racial slaughtering” of Palestinians by Israel.

Speaking before the trial, Hathout had said, “There are two stories for this case. One story, told by our brother Imam Jamil Al-Amin; the other story is a different one, told by the police of Atlanta. It just happened that we believe the story of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, and we don’t believe the story told by the police of Atlanta.”

The reason, he explained in his September 9, 2001 speech at the “Justice for Imam Jamil Al-Amin Benefit Dinner” held at the University of California’s Irvine campus, was that “The track record of our brother is one of integrity and straight-forward speaking and a bold stance.”

The Atlanta police, on the other hand — like police “in so many other places” including New York and Chicago — have “not a very good track record,” he charged.

“Let us face it,” Hathout continued. There are so many sugary talks about court, about justice, about legal system, etc. but we know and we can prove it, that in America, the legal system is not color blind and is not money blind.”

Hathout, for his own part, argued that the issues went beyond the Al-Amin case itself to “the situation in America in general and we have to be very aware about that.”

“There is an organized system of injustice. It is intact. It is effective. It is viable, vibrant, and strong, and it depends on a triangle. That triangle, three-limb triangle, is racism, exploitation, blinding propaganda,” Hathout continued.

“You take that satanic triangle and you apply it to any case, and justice is sacrificed. To any case, to Imam Jamil Amin, to Malcolm X, to Martin Luther King, to anybody that can be subject to that malignant triangle and you can destroy that person, unless the voice of conscience within the people and within the public can object and can reject that,” he said.

The exploitation, Hathout argued, is supported by “a blinding propaganda machine and industry, to put a spin on everything, to make the victim looks like the criminal, and to make the criminal looks like the angels and the innocent and the shy and the poor and the besieged. To make the falsehood looks like right, and right looks like false.”

Expanding his thesis further, Hathout complained that the United States had “behaved shamefully” at a conference held in South Africa weeks before. At that meeting, he said, U.S. officials lacked “the mere willingness to accept any more responsibility for reparations of the victims of racism here in America” or, he added — getting in his customary digs at Israel — “to stop the apartheid racial slaughtering of the people in Palestine.”

The conference to which Hathout referred so favorably: “The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance” in Durban on the eve of 9-11 — a set of meetings whose most memorable outcome was passage by non-governmental organizations of an infamous resolution that accused Israel of “racist crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing [and] acts of genocide.”

Consider these examples:

● Asked during a 1998 debate to clarify his views on Hizbollah, a group already at that time on the U.S. government’s list of terrorist organizations, Hathout responded, “[W]hat we said and what we say and what we will be saying that any group who is fighting on their own territory against a military occupation, fighting only military who are armed, are actually a movement of liberation. Whether this group is this group or that group, under this name or that name, this particular action [Hizbollah’s activity in Lebanon] is very American, is what America did in the beginning against the colonizing of the British, is what all honorable people in the world are doing.”

● Speaking at a “United for Al Quds” — the Islamic name for Jerusalem — conference in 2002, Hathout talked of “a junction that joins us to Christians, those Christians who are not being fooled by Jerry Falwell and their likes, and with Jews who have not been Zionized, and also with large numbers of oppressed people all over the world, who understand how the hegemony of the elite of the world can violate what is sacred and what is important to the masses.” Presumably, in Hathout’s view, the “Zionized” Jews were in league with those oppressive elites.

He invoked anti-Semitic phrases, akin to those uttered by David Duke: “This is an Israeli occupied territory,” Hathout declared. “And it is more Zionist than the Knesset.”

● Hathout spoke on March 12 of this year at a fundraiser in Anaheim, California for former University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian, alleged by the government to have served as North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Said the Muslim activist on that occasion, “We still, as Muslim Americans, we believe in the integrity of our justice system, and we believe in our jurors who really did a marvelous job in the case of the hour, and cleared the mess of the accusations against Sami Al-Arian.”

● In 1996, when Israel opened an entrance to an ancient tunnel that ran near the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa mosque, Hathout delivered a khutba (sermon) alleging Israel—and the United States—were engaged a massive conspiracy to “eliminate” Islam. This incendiary allegation was designed to incite; it was similar to the conspiratorial delusions alleged by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Under the protection of military armed to the teeth, the mayor of Jerusalem, the Jewish mayor, the Zionist Jewish extremist racist mayor of Jerusalem decided to resume digging up tunnels that they believe they that they started some time ago and should be continued,” Hathout declared.

Once again Hathout implicated the United States in what he portrayed as a nefarious plot to undermine Islam. “Are we that stupid? Are we supposed to assume that really we are upset because in the Israeli state they built a tunnel?” he asked. “Or is it making it clear, the whole plan and the whole plot to eradicate Islam and its symbols and to humiliate Muslims all over the world to the point of demoralization and helplessness and hopelessness so that they cease to be participants in shaping the human civilization and converting the atrocities and the injustices that are taking place all over the world, on the hands of Israel supported by the military and political power of the greatest power on Earth which is the United States of America.”

● At an “Interfaith Rally for Peace and Justice in Los Angeles” in 2000, to cite one more example of his invective, Hathout delivered a khutba (sermon) in which, The Minaret reported, he characterized Israel as a “criminal apartheid regime, doing what it does best — stealing land and killing people.”


The group’s senior adviser, Maher Hathout, explained: “Hezbollah is fighting for freedom, an organized army, limiting its operations against military people, this is a legitimate target against occupation. “¦ this is legitimate, this is an American value — freedom and liberty.”

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