The Troubling Family Ties of Emgage Leader Nada Al-Hanooti- What Does It Mean For Biden?

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The GMBDW reported yesterday that US Presidential hopeful Joe Biden spoke before a virtual conference which included two important US Muslim Brotherhood leaders as well as their allies. As that post noted, the conference was sponsored by Emgage Action, the Political Action Campaign (PAC) associated with Emgage USA. That post also reviewed the US Muslim Brotherhood ties of the two Emgage co-chairmen as well as its membership in the US Council of Muslim Organizations, an organization founded by and dominated by organizations part of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. Finally, our post reported that Emgage former Executive Director and board member Farooq Mitha serves as Biden’s senior advisor on Muslim-American engagement. Mitha, an attorney and former Defense Department employee, was also the Director of Muslim Outreach for the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Investigative research conducted by the GMBDW has identified another serious issue with Emgage, namely the family ties of Nada Al-Hanooti, the Executive Director of Emgage Michigan. According to her bio posted on the Emgage website:

Nada Al-Hanooti is Palestinian-American based out of Southeast Michigan where she serves as a community organizer. She was born to immigrant parents who have dedicated their lives to public service. Naturally, she was inspired by her parents’ efforts which led her to organize her own campaign for a seat on the Dearborn City Council. Nada led an aggressive race, personally knocking over 4,000 doors. Formerly, Nada served as a field coordinator for Rashida Tlaib for State Representative in Detroit, and was responsible for organizing events and door to door initiatives as well as recruiting and managing volunteers. While pursuing her graduate degree, she conducted ethnographic research on the Muslim women’s movement in Morocco. Nada’s mission is to educate and empower the Muslim community through civic engagement and political literacy.

Omitted from this bio is that her father is Muthanna Al-Hanooti who was sentenced in 2011 to serve a year and a day in prison after he pleaded guilty to violating US sanctions against Iraq when he received the rights to 2 million barrels of oil in exchange for helping Saddam Hussein’s government. The GMBDW reported on this affair in March 2008 when Muthanna Al-Hanooti was first indicted. As a news report from that time explained, he was also accused of acting as an asset of Iraqi Intelligence:

March 26, 2008 Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary. Al-Hanooti was charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, illegally purchasing Iraqi oil and lying to authorities. Al-Hanooti worked on and off from 1999 to 2006 as a public relations coordinator for Life for Relief and Development, a Michigan group formed after the first Gulf War to fund humanitarian work in Iraq. But prosecutors said he also was responsible for monitoring Congress for the Iraqi Intelligence Service. From 1999 to 2002, he allegedly provided Saddam’s government with a list of U.S. lawmakers he believed favored lifting economic sanctions against Iraq. In exchange for coordinating the congressional trip, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil, prosecutors said. Arrested Tuesday on returning to the United States from a trip abroad, al-Hanooti appeared Wednesday in federal court to face the charges, was released on bond and must wear an electronic monitor.

We also reported at that time on Muthanna Al-Hanooti’s role as the founder of the Michigan office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the relationship of CAIR to Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), and the ties from LIFE to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:

Mr. Al-Hanooti is a Palestinian who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980’s. In December 1999, Arab-American media reported that Mr. Al-Hanooti was leaving LIFE to join the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and state records indicate that he founded the CAIR Michigan chapter in May 2000. At that time, the registered address for CAIR Michigan was the same as the headquarters for LIFE. Local media also reported at the time that Mr. Al-Hanooti became the director of CAIR”s new Michigan office. LIFE itself is an organization headquartered in a suburb of Detroit and was raided in 2006 by Federal agents for unknown reasons. LIFE board members and staff are almost all Iraqi-born or from families born in Iraq. Although purportedly a charity, LIFE has a long history of political advocacy and lobbying activities related to Iraq. LIFE has a number of connections to the global Muslim Brotherhood including sharing an address with the The Islamic American University whose chairman is Youssef Qaradawi, the head of the global Muslim Brotherhood.

Additionally, and based on unpublished GMBDW research from 2006, LIFE was found to have been conducting business at that time with at least six Islamic charities that had a documented connection to terrorism including two that have been designated by the US as terrorist entities. In addition, Muthanna Al-Hanooti was serving as an officer of the Focus on American & Arab Interests & Relations (FAAIR), an organization that largely overlapped with LIFE. One of the other FAAIR officers was Mohammed Alomari, another Iraqi refugee who administered a website for the Daru Salam Center located at the same Southfield, Michigan address as LIFE, FAAIR, and the Islamic American University. Available home pages from that time period display a long list of links to an assortment of conspiracy theories, anti-Iraq sanctions material, anti-Israel stories, and a handful of fundamentalist Islamic concepts. Mr. Alomari also published a book entitled “The Secrecy of Evil” which was described on the Daru Salam website as an:

….explosive expose’ of the secret societies and their secret religion inside their lodges. Today’s wars and upheavals have their roots in an ancient conspiracy. When former President George Bush uttered the phrase “New World Order,” he was restating an ancient goal of certain secret societies.

The book was described by one Amazon.com reviewer as “flat-out nutty conspiracy theories and blatant anti-Semitism.”

The GMBDW has also discovered that Muthanna Al-Hanooti is related to Mohamed Al-Hanooti who died in 2015. In our obituary at the time, we provided extensive information regarding Mohamed al-Hanooti’s ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood including serving as a former Imam for the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Northern Virginia, as a former Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic, and as a member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). All three organizations have close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas. In addition, a GMBDW research report on the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) described Mohamed Al-Hanooti’s additional ties to Hamas: 

A 2001 FBI memo identifies current ISNA-affiliated Fiqh Council of North America member Mohammad Al-Hanooti as a participant in a 1993 Philadelphia meeting of “senior leaders of HAMAS, the Holy Land Relief Foundation and the Islamic Association of Palestine.” The memo also cites FBI informants who said that Al-Hanooti “was a big supporter of HAMAS ” and that “it was well known in the Palestinian community in the northern New Jersey area that Al-Hanooti was an active HAMAS supporter, purportedly holding fund-raising activities, as well as supporting visitors to the United States from Israel and Jordan, to speak on behalf of HAMAS. ” Another FBI informant stated that “In 1993, that Al-Hanooti collected over six million U. S. dollars for support of HAMAS in Israel. ”  

Finally, a report authored by the GMBDW editor identifies Mohamed Al-Hanooti as a leader of the US Muslim Brotherhood and explains how a 1988 US Brotherhood document included him as one of the heads of its committees: 

The same spreadsheet identifies a number of committees, focusing on such issues as finance, politics, social issues, curricula, security, and Palestine. Those identified as heads of committees may include individuals mentioned throughout this report: Mohamed Hanooti, Jamal Badawi, Bassam Othman, Abdurahman Alamoudi, and Hammad Zaki. The spreadsheet also identifies several organizations as being part of the U.S. MB. These groups were AMSS, AMSE, IMA, ISNA, MAYA, MSA, MISQ, and NAIT. 

Eulogies for Mohamed were provided by leaders of CAIR and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), another part of the US Muslim Brotherhood. The GMBDW was not able to confirm the exact relationship between Muthanna Al-Hanooti and Mohamed Al-Hanooti but from their respective ages and their multiple addresses in common, ascertained with public records, we presume that Mohamed Al-Hanooti is the father of Muthanna Al-Hanooti and the grandfather of Nada Al-Hanooti.

As for Nada Al-Hanooti herself, she has a history of engagement with and support of groups tied to the US Brotherhood, notably with CAIR and with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a group whose Scholars,  Board of Advisors, and Staff includes a number of prominent figures ties to the USMB including:

None of the above should be taken as an assertion of “guilt by association” but we note that it was Nada Al-Hanooti herself who invoked her family in the above bio which states she “was born to immigrant parents who have dedicated their lives to public service” yet failed to demonstrate any transparency with respect to who her father and likely grandfather actually were. That said, her family background, as well as her engagement with US Brotherhood groups, does raise further questions about the nature of Emgage and the role of Farooq Mitha as Joe Biden’s advisor, questions that would become even more salient should Biden become the next US President and Mitha an advisor within a Biden Administration. Current US government guidelines for those holding sensitive positions clearly raise the issue of “foreign influence” which would need to be addressed during any security clearance procedure. The ties of Emgage to the US Muslim Brotherhood in general and the family background one of its leaders with a history in both the US Brotherhood and Hamas as well as ties to a foreign intelligence organization would surely be relevant items for consideration in the clearance procedure.

The last time the GMBDW raised a question of this nature was in June 2016, during the waning days of the Obama Administration when Zaki Barzinji, was appointed as the new liaison to the Muslim American community under the White House Office of Public Engagement. As we noted, Zaki Barzinji is the grandson of the late Jamal Barzinji, of one of the most important founders of the US Brotherhood. As we also noted, Zaki Barzinji joined a long list of individuals tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood or to Saudi Islamists who were invited by the Obama Administration to serve as important advisors including:

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