Rabih Haddad is a co-founder (with Mohamad Chehade) of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF). At various times in the past, he has served as the GRF’s chief executive officer, chairman of the board, executive director, and public relations director.
In 1988, Haddad and his wife, Salma al-Rushaid, moved to Pakistan. While there, Haddad went to work for Mekhtab Al-Khidemat (MAK), an organization co-founded by Osama bin Laden and Abdallah Azzam (bin Laden’s mentor) which brought thousands of jihadi fighters to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Haddad met with Azzam several times in Pakistan. The Global Relief Foundation actively promoted Azzam’s teachings, distributing his audio tapes and books.
Soon after, Haddad became Director of External Relations for Muslim Aid, a British relief organization once headed by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). Muslim Aid has, in the past, given money to the Hebron-based Islamic Charitable Society, a group whose co-chairman, Adnan Abd al-Hafiz Musbah Maswada, was deported by Israel to Lebanon for his connection to Hamas terrorist activities.
Haddad has also served as Assistant Imam of the Islamic Center in Ann Arbor (Michigan), a.k.a. Muslim Community Association (MCA) of Ann Arbor. In January 1999, MCA received $135,000 from GRF. In February 2003, MCA held a conference in coordination with the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) entitled ‘Let’s Build our Iman for an Hour.’ The IANA has been called an “al Qaeda propaganda machine” and a “jihadist recruitment center.” In May 2000, the IANA received $100,000 from GRF.
According to the Ann Arbor Society of Friends’ Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Haddad has also served as a fundraiser for the Ann Arbor chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR also had ties to the head of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity that was closed down by the U.S. government for its links to terrorism. Ghassan Elashi, one of the founding board members of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was the chairman of the HLF. In December 2002, Elashi was charged with “selling computers and computer parts to Libya and Syria, both designated state sponsors of terrorism.”
On March 17, 2001, Rabih Haddad participated in the “Conference on Palestine” at the University of Michigan. The event, which was organized by the Muslim Students Association, featured speakers and sponsors with ties to terrorism. A conference poster depicting a map of “Palestine” showed not only the Palestinian territories, but the entire state of Israel. The GRF was one of the co-sponsors of this conference.
In December 2001, at the time of the GRF’s closure by the U.S. government, Haddad was taken into custody. He was found to have overstayed his temporary tourist visa, which was granted to him in 1998. Haddad was considered a “flight risk,” since at the time of his arrest, authorities discovered a firearm and several boxes of ammunition at his residence. He spent 19 months in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.
Haddad also worked as a fundrariser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In July 2003, Haddad and his entire family were deported by the United States to Lebanon.