North American Imams Federation (NAIF)

North American Imams Federation (NAIF)


* Muslim Brotherhood front group whose mission is to address the educational, financial, professional, and practical needs of Muslim prayer leaders
* Several of its officials have ties to Islamic terrorist groups.

The North American Imams Federation (NAIF) is a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was established on October 21, 2003 and was formally registered as a nonprofit organization on February 28, 2004. Restricting its membership to Imams “from the mainstream Muslim group which properly follows [the] Qur’an and Sunnah,” NAIF strives to meet the “spiritual and tangible needs” of Islamic prayer leaders, thereby helping them fulfill their “sacred mission.” Toward that end, NAIF works to:

  • “coordinate efforts among Imams and help them cooperate in activities in … Muslim communities across [North America]”;
  • “acquaint Imams with each other and provide a common platform for mutual consultation, [e.g.,] through invitations to deliver speeches at each other’s localities”;
  • “become the link that bonds Imams to the constituents on one hand, and to their administrators on the other”;
  • “become a placement office for Imams looking for jobs”;
  • “become a trusted hiring agency for communities looking for Imams”;
  • “reconcile [problems] between Imams and their administrators”;
  • “improve qualifications of Imams through training and conferences”;
  • “certify Imams who successfully complete benchmark training programs”;
  • help Imams negotiate effectively with administrators to “improve [their] salaries”;
  • “become the formal agency representing Imams at city, county, state and federal levels”; and
  • “help in the establishment of employment benefits to aid Imams with their medical bills; help those who become ineffectual; benefit those who retire; and support families of deceased ones.”

Among NAIF’s more noteworthy current board members is Omar Shahin. This former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, an Arizona mosque that functioned as one of al Qaeda’s main North American hubs prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has admitted to being a supporter of Osama bin Laden. He also served as a representative of the Global Relief Foundation, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, and KindHearts—all charities that were eventually shut down by the U.S. government because of their links to Hamas and al Qaeda.

Another NAIF board member is Mohamad Mwafak Algalaieni, a Michigan-based Imam who openly supported Rabih Haddad, co-founder of the terror-linked Global Relief Foundation.

Three prominent former members of NAIF’s board include Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; Mazen Mokhtar, an al Qaeda web designer who was indicted in April 2007 for filing false tax returns; and Johari Abdul-Malik, a Virginia-based Imam with numerous ties to Islamic terrorism.

NAIF also has an executive committee, a key member of which is Ashrafuzzaman Khan, former secretary general of the Islamic Circle of North America. To this day, Khan stands accused of having been a death squad leader for the Islamist militant group Al-Badr, and of having personally murdered numerous individuals during a 1971 massacre in Bangladesh.

Another NAIF executive committee member is the Arizona-based Ahmad Shqeirat, one of six Imams who in November 2006 made headlines when, after having just attended a three-day NAIF convention in Minnesota, they were removed from a US Airways plane shortly before their scheduled flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. The Imams’ removal occurred in response to the fact that upon boarding the plane, they began engaging in bizarre behaviors: shouting slogans in Arabic, leaving their assigned seats to position themselves in different locations, and requesting seatbelt extenders that they then placed on the floor (rather than using them for their intended purpose). The safety concerns of passengers and flight-crew members caused authorities, at that point, to escort the Imams from the aircraft.[1]

This was not the first time that individuals with ties to NAIF had been removed from a plane. Seven years earlier, in November 1999, Hamdan Al Shalawi and Muhammed al Qudhaieen (students who were in the U.S. on visas from Saudi Arabia) were removed from a cross-country America West flight after twice attempting to open the cockpit door. At the time, both men were members of the Islamic Center of Tucson, where NAIF founder Omar Shahin served as Imam and president. The FBI later suspected that this incident had been a “dry run” for the 9/11 hijackings—a theory supported by the fact that just a year after the incident, one of the students, Al Shalawi, was training in an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

Controversy struck again in May 2011 when two Memphis-area Imams, Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul, were escorted off an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight bound for Charlotte, where they were going to attend an NAIF conference. The reason for their removal was that the pilot did not feel comfortable having them aboard the plane.

Over the years, NAIF functions have featured guest appearances by numerous Islamic radicals. These include such notables as Ibrahim Dremali, the pro-jihad Imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton and an advisor to the American Muslim Association of North America; Wajdi Ghunaim, a member of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood who was deported from the U.S. in January 2005; and Zulfiqar Ali Shah, chairman and CEO of the Universal Heritage Foundation, ex-president of the Islamic Circle of North America, and former South Asian director of KindHearts.

According to its website, NAIF has established “collaborative, complementary, and cooperative” relationships with such “partner organizations” as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, and Life for Relief and Development (a Michigan-based pseudo-charity with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood).

The NAIF website features a “Double Standards” section complaining that Muslims in the U.S. are routinely discriminated against in a host of ways. For example:

  • “A nun can be covered from head to toe in order to devote herself to God, right? But then, if a Muslim girl does the same, why is she oppressed?”
  • “Any girl can go to university wearing what she will and have her rights and freedom. But when a Muslim girl wears Hijab, they prevent her from entering the university!”
  • “When someone sacrifices himself to keep others alive he is noble and everyone respects him. But when a Palestinian [jihadist] does that to save his son from being killed, his brother’s arm [from] being broken, his mother [from] being raped, and his mosque [from] being violated, he gets the title of ‘terrorist.’”
  • “When a Jew kills someone, religion is not mentioned. When a Muslim is charged with a crime, it is Islam that goes to trial.”

[1] Also attending the three-day NAIF event in Minnesota were Keith Ellison, Mazen Mokhtar (an al Qaeda web designer who has used the Internet to proclaim his support for Hamas and suicide bombings), and Siraj Wahhaj.

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