US media has announced the appointment of Zaki Barzinji, age 27, as the new liaison to the Muslim American community under the White House Office of Public Engagement. According to a Huffington Post report:
May 26, 2016 With Islamophobia rampant in communities across the US, Muslim Americans now have a chief ally at the White House.
Zaki Barzinji, former Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), recently assumed the new role as liaison to the Muslim American community under the Office of Public Engagement, the White House director of specialty media told The Huffington Post this week. In his new post, Barzinji will plan outreach to Muslim Americans, as well as Sikhs, Buddhists, and Hindus, working to ensure that these communities are represented at the federal level.
‘A big part of this role is making sure the national conversation about these communities is not framed through a single lens, but covers the full range of issues that Muslims and other Americans face,’ Barzinji, 27, said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Zaki Barzinji, 27, recently began as liaison to the Muslim American community under the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Virginia native and former president of Muslim Youth of North America has experience bringing underrepresented groups into the public arena. While working in the governor’s office, Barzinji served as a liaison to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board and prior to that directed outreach to Arab American and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities for McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign.”
Read the rest here.
It would appear that in reality, it is not “Muslim Americans” who now have a chief ally at the White House but rather the US Muslim Brotherhood. Among other things, Zaki Barzinji is the grandson of the late Jamal Barzinji, of one of the most important founders of the US Brotherhood. As we noted in October 2015 in our obituary for Jamal Barzinji, according to a history of the US Muslim Brotherhood (USMB), authored by the GMBDW editor:
Three individuals—Ahmad al-Haj Totonji, Dr. Jamal al-Din Barzinji, and Dr. Hisham Yahya al-Talib—played key roles in the founding and development of MSA [Muslim Student Association]. All were born in the Kurdish, northern part of Iraq, and may have met there or possibly later in Britain, where all three received their undergraduate education in engineering An FBI memo has identified Barzinji and al-Talib as members of the Muslim Brotherhood prior to establishing a residence in the US. The Washington Post adds that [Barzinji] fled Iraq in 1969 when the Ba’athist regime started executing fellow Islamists. After completion of their studies in Britain, the three came to the United States, ostensibly for graduate study but also to continue organizing Muslim youth activities
As the above report goes on to explain, Dr. Barzinji went on to play key roles in the founding of the Saudi World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), said by US government agencies and officials to have helped spread Islamic extremism and terrorism around the world, as well as most of the important organizations comprising the US Muslim Brotherhood including the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and perhaps most famously the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). In January 2014, the GMBDW reported that elements of the US Muslim Brotherhood had organized a dinner in honor of Dr. Barzinji and the IIIT. In May of this year, we reported that the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) awarded the organization’s “Muslim Democrat of the Year” award posthumously to the late Jamal Barzinji as well as to his colleague, the late Taha Jabir Al-Alwani, another founding figure of the US Muslim Brotherhood and both co-founders of CSID. CSID itself was founded in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department and Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito with the aim of promoting “Islamic Democracy.”
Zaki Barzinji himself has participated actively with US Muslim Brotherhood organizations including as noted above the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) associated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and, as the GMBDW reported in 2008, appearing as a MYNA representative alongside important leaders of the US Muslim Brotherhood. Zaki Barzinji joins a long list of individuals tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood who have been invited by the Obama Administration to serve as important advisors including:
- Mazen Asbahi- On August 1 2008, the GMBDW (then known as the GMBDR) ran a post identifying Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi as an adviser to the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and NAIT as part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and which was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist trial, as was NAIT board member Jamal Said. The post also listed Mr. Asbahi’s connection to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The GMBDW ran a second post on the same day that identified Asbahi’s ties to two further US Muslim Brotherhood organizations- the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and an Illinois LLC called SA Consulting. At this time the GMBDR was private and the post received very little attention until August 6th when the Wall Street Journal published an article revealing that Mr. Asbahi had resigned from the Obama campaign after the Journal had queried him about his USMB ties. The Journal credited the GMBDR for breaking the story.
- Dahlia Mogahed- On April 12 2009, the GMBDW reported that one of the two Muslim members appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was Dahlia Mogahed, a protege of John Espositio, perhaps the best known academic supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and with strong ties to Saudi Arabia. Although the report on the appointment was not exclusive to the GMBDW, we were the only publication to note that Ms. Mogahed is the daughter of Elsayed Mogahed, an Egyptian immigrant who is a former engineering scientist at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Islamic Center of Madison (ICM). The website of the ICM links mainly to US Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Souheil Ghannouchi, the President of the Muslim American Society (MAS), was ICM Imam and President for several years. The MAS is part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and closest to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
- Huma Abedin– On February 7 2010, the GMBDW reported that that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had addressed students at the Dar El-Hekma women’s college in Saudi Arabia, known to have been co-founded and patronized by an individual designated as a terrorist by the US as well as by important Saudi bankers and members of the Bin Laden family. As part of that story, we noted that the Vice Dean of institutional advancement at Dar El-Hekma is Saleha M. Abedin who was one of the founders of the College, as well being the mother of Huma Abedin, a Deputy Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton. We also reported that Saleha Abedin, along with her late husband Syed Z. Abedin, were founders of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a London organization that is known to have been close to the Saudi Muslim World League. We subsequently reported that Saleha Abedin was serving as a board member of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR), an umbrella group for 86 Islamic organizations, many of which are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas fundraising, or support for Al Qaeda. We also delved into the ties of Huma Abedin’s brother Hasan Abedin who was an officer of the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies, chaired by Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, a Saudi with his own extensive ties to Islamist organizations. A variety of other actors later claimed credit for unearthing the information about Human Abedin’s parents that was first reported by the GMBDW.
- Rashad Hussain- On February 14 2010, the GMBDW reported on the US Muslim Brotherhood connections of Rashad Hussain, a White House attorney who was President Obama’s newly appointed envoy to the OIC. Those connections including ties to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS). The post also revealed that an annual MSA conference, Mr. Hussein appeared along side the daughter of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and labeled Al-Arian’s prosecution “politically motivated persecution.” The post further noted that the sentences pertaining to Mr. Hussein statement had been removed from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) report on the MSA conference but were still available at the Internet Archive. The story was subsequently “appropriated” by another media outlet who only belatedly and partially credited the GMBDW as the original source of the story.
- Mohamed Elibiary– On October 30 2010, the GMBDW reported that the Department of Homeland Security had sworn in three new members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council one of whom was Mohamed Elibiary, who we exclusively identified as the President and CEO of the Freedom and Justice Foundation, an organization with ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood and the US Hamas infrastructure. Since that time, Mr. Elibiary has been widely discussed in a variety of venues and described as a “noted Islamist” though he was virtually unknown until the GMBDW highlighted his background.
More recently, an additional challenge has emerged, namely the use of GMBDW research to spin unsubstantiated and fanciful stories about the same networks we have so carefully tried to document. The most egregious example is the claim, since gone viral, that the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated” the Obama administration. Stories based on this alleged infiltration typically feature rogues galleries of “Muslim Brotherhood operatives” said to be whispering in the ear of the Obama administration and aimed at causing the downfall of the United States. In most cases, the stories include high-profile individuals first identified by the GMBDW as tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood using criteria we have long since publicly explained.
We refer readers to that post where we debunk the notion of such “infiltration” and provide an alternative explanation for the presence of these individuals in the US government but it is important to repeat our caution at the end that:
….there remains the pertinent issue of what influence, malign or otherwise, these individuals may have had on Obama Administration policy toward the Middle East or in other relevant policy arenas
That said, the newly announced appointment of Zaki Barzinji is particularly interesting to us as we believe it is evidence of a long-standing cooperation between the US Government and the Muslim Brotherhood. This topic however is far beyond the scope of this post and will hopefully be the subject of a future report.