Louay Safi


Dr. Louay Safi was born and educated in Damascus and came to the U.S. sometime during the early 1980’s, likely around the time of the infamous “Hama Rebellion” when then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad brutally crushed an uprising in the city of Hama and many members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood fled abroad. Following the awarding of his PH.D in the U.S., Dr. Safi states on his CV that in May 1992, he became an associate professor of political science at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), closely associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood, and later became a Deputy Dean and then Dean of the Research Centre and College of Islamic Knowledge and Human Sciences. In 1998, Dr. Safi was a member of the advisory council of a journal published by the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a part of the Palestine Committee of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood which was closely tied to Hamas. In January 1999, Dr. Safi that became the Research Director for the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), part of the U.S. Muslim  Brotherhood. Also in January 1999, Dr. Safi was a founding member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) whose other founding members included several individuals associated with IIIT. CSID is also part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and has close relations with the U.S. State Department. In January 2000, Dr. Safi became editor of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, the publication of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists AMSS), headquartered at IIIT. From January 2001 to January 2003, he was also AMSS President. In January 2003, Dr. Safi ended his position at IIIT and in January 2004 became Executive Director of the Leadership Development Center of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another important part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. In November 2005, Dr. Safi became Chairman of the newly established Syrian American Congress, described on its website as  …a grassroots organization devoted to promoting educational, civic, economic, and human development, as well as advancing civil liberties and human dignity in Syria.” In September 2009, Dr. Safi  became the ISNA Communications Director. In September 2011, US media identified Dr. Safi as a leading member of the Syrian National Council, a Syrian opposition group dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

U.S. court records indicate that in 1995, Dr. Safi was in phone contact with convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al- Arian. According to a transcript of the intercepted conversation, the two discussed President Clinton’s new executive order banning financial transactions with terrorist groups including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In January 2005, local media report indicates that Dr. Safi was identified as Unindicted Co-Conspirator Four in the indictment against Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian. The report notes that Dr. Safi was the  research director at IIIT which provided Al-Arian’s think tank with the bulk of its financial support.

In 2009, Dr. Safi was at the center of a controversy when it was learned that the US Defense Department brought him to Fort Hood as an instructor and that he had been lecturing on Islam to our troops in Fort Hood who were about to deploy to Afghanistan. In February 2010, the activities and lectures of Dr. Safi on all military bases were suspended pending a  criminal inquiry by the U.S. military. A shooting took place at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas on November 5, 2009 in which a single gunman killed 13 people and over 30 people were injured in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base. The only suspect in the shooting is Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old U.S. Army major serving as a psychiatrist.

Dr. Safi has been a leading voice at ISNA in complaining that criticism of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is a form of “Muslim bashing.” The Dallas Morning News also reported:

…Safi has called the widespread raids on Muslim organizations after 9/11 “a campaign against Islam” – a term that 9/11 Commission director Philip Zelikow says is part of “the jihadi narrative.” Safi has also complained that Muslims are treated differently from Christians and Jews when they do wrong. They are unfairly identified by and questioned about their religion, he says, treatment that can lead to isolation and aggression. “The extremist ideology responsible for violent outbursts is often rooted in the systematic demonization of marginalized groups,” Safi said in an Internet posting after the Fort Hood shooting.