Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Mohamed Elibiary is a Texas-based Muslim who founded Lone Star Intelligence LLC (a security crisis consulting firm) and the Freedom & 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 claims 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.’” Moreover, he has long maintained that the American government “needs to deepen our strategic engagement” with the Brotherhood.
At age 16 Elibiary befriended the CEO of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), Hamas leader Shukri Abu Baker, who became a mentor to the youngster and indoctrinated him with propaganda about Israeli persecution of the Palestinians. Before long, Elibiary 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. His relationship with Baker would develop into a lifelong friendship.
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 philosophy I 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 Iranian 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:
Also in 2007, Elibiary condemned the American government’s prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation as a terrorism abetter, 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: (a) believes that Muslims cannot accept the legitimacy of the existing American order; (b) impugns the U.S. for its “pattern of demonization, destabilization, and the invasion of hapless Third World nations”; and (c) claims that organizations such as al Qaeda and Hamas 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 April 2010, Elibiary published an op-ed exhorting the Obama administration to not follow through on its pledge to “assassinate” senior Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Dismissing Al-Awlaki as “a disingenuous cheerleader in the global jihad who’s preying on largely naive or troubled Western-educated youth attempting to form their identities in a global world,” Elibiary stated that the cleric’s “public rhetoric” had been “largely benign and non-political until his detention in Yemen a few years ago.” Nor was it worth, Elibiary said, “our public chest thumping in calling for Anwar’s head ‘dead or alive’”—which would only bring him “martyrdom” while “encourag[ing] more Muslim youth to join Al Qaeda’s disingenuous jihad to hit the ‘tyrannical Americans.’” “We’re Americans and we know that the solution to bad speech is not to shut it down but to counter it with more speech,” added Elibiary. “Al-Awlaki knows this and has cornered the U.S. government so that if it assassinates him, he achieves immortality and proves that American foreign policy is disingenuous and does not see ‘Muslims’ as deserving the political rights it says it professes.”
In a June 2010 op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Elibiary attacked the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a statute that criminalized “material support for terrorism,” even in cases where intent to support terrorism could not be definitively proved. The statute, said Elibiary, “criminalizes nonviolent and normally legal activity such as humanitarian aid when the government concludes that aid is reaching a foreign terrorist organization’s support network.”
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 (HSAC). 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 regarding the ideology and tactics of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, he and fellow activists condemned FBI curricula and training materials that drew any 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.”
In June 2011, the IRS revoked the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of Elibiary’s Freedom and Justice Foundation (FJF) for having failed, over a period of several years, to fulfill its legal obligation to file the required IRS Form 990s (which would have revealed the sources of FJF’s funding).
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 Republican 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, though he retained his post as a DHS advisor. And in September 2013 he was promoted to senior advisor at the Homeland Security 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, Salam al-Marayati, Rashad Hussain, 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.”
After tens of millions of Egyptians swarmed their country’s streets in 2013 with demonstrations calling for the ouster of the tyrannical President Mohamed Morsi—who was a major figure with the Muslim Brotherhood—Elibiary signaled his steadfast solidarity with Morsi by adding a Brotherhood logo to his Twitter avatar. In April 2014 Elibiary tweeted: “History will write #Egypt-ians did not enjoy freedom & democracy except under the rule of #MuslimBrotherhood.”
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 U.S. 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 it smacks 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.”
In the spring of 2014, as the barbaric terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria) 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.”Then, in June 2014, Elibiary tweeted that the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate was in fact “inevitable.” Comparing the concept of a caliphate to the European Union, he claimed that both U.S. political parties were “headed in [the] direction” of endorsing it.
In September 2014, the DHS, which had long been under pressure from Congress to investigate Elibiary’s apparent radicalism, decided to drop Elibiary from his Advisory Council post. “I suspect they’re cutting him loose so they don’t have any more congressional inquiries about how they handled, or more accurately didn’t handle, that matter,” said counterterrorism expert Patrick Poole.
Elibiary, for his part, put a positive spin on the termination, announcing that he had voluntarily decided to leave his DHS job in order to focus on “reforming” the conservative movement prior to the 2016 presidential election.
In January 2015, Elibiary posted a number of anti-Christian tweets, including these:
For additional information on Elibiary, click here.