Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; a writer for the Counter-Islamist Grid, a project of the Middle East Forum; and the Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. He was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
According to his bio on CAIR-Florida’s website, Hassan Shibly “is blissfully married,” but that all depends on which wife CAIR is talking about. On December 29th, Imane Sadrati, the legal wife of CAIR representative Hassan Shibly – as opposed to his new Islamically-sanctioned wife Vanessa – created a GoFundMe page asking for financial assistance, claiming that she suffered both physical and mental abuse at the hands of Shibly and that Shibly had cut off funds from her. The allegations appear to have been taken seriously, as Shibly has secured “a leave of absence” from CAIR, while an “independent assessment” ensues and investigates the matter.
Sadrati’s GoFundMe page contains both a video and a written statement, part of which has been removed under advisement of her lawyers. She says she stands by everything mentioned previously, though, including the following: “[W]hen I was 9 months pregnant with my first born, my marriage became volatile and abusive. What I assumed was ‘just a disagreement’ turned into screams. What would have been annoying remarks suddenly became violent blows… My husband hurt me mentally, emotionally and physically behind closed doors and openly in front of my children… I need your support to put an end to domestic violence in my home!”
For this to be said about Shibly is huge, as he is a very important figure in CAIR, a group that speaks, in large part, for the Muslim-American community and which has documented ties to Hamas. Shibly is the Executive Director of CAIR’s Florida chapter, a position he has held since 2014, and he has been highly visible in his pursuits as CAIR-Florida leader (and lawyer), from attempting to regain the American citizenship of ISIS bride Hoda Muthana to trying to convince the courts that the federal ‘terrorism watch list’ is unconstitutional. For years, Shibly’s own name was found on the list, and given CAIR’s relationship to overseas terror, that makes sense.
Shibly posted onto Facebook long responses to his wife’s allegations, making allegations of his own. Much of the texts read like legal documents, and Shibly, who is a practicing attorney, was careful with his wording. Originally, he acknowledged some “mutual pushing” but, later, denied any physical abuse against Sadrati. In fact, he said that it was she that abused him, at one point “losing her temper” and punching him repeatedly in the face. He did admit, though, that he does not “claim to be sinless or without error in this marriage.” Rumors have surfaced of Shibly’s potential infidelity, during his marriage to Sadrati, and his words may be alluding to such.
According to Shibly, he and Sadrati have been legally separated and she sought to take up residence in Morocco, leaving their three children under the care of Shibly and his mother. Sadrati is a travel consultant and curator of Moroccan tours. It has been posed online, via Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America (FITNA) – a site that supports her – that Sadrati has been working in Morocco to raise money, readying herself for a child custody battle. And while it is hard to understand how a mother can leave her children with an alleged abuser for long periods of time, there are aspects of Shibly’s life that must be taken into account.
As stated, Shibly works for CAIR, which has strong links to overseas terror, and Shibly, himself, was placed on a terrorism watch list. Shibly, who is vehemently anti-Israel, has stated that his group relies on the Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT), a mosque founded by persons related to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), for “programs” and “fundraising,” and only in 2019, Shibly met with convicted PIJ member, Hatem Fariz, at CAIR’s Tampa headquarters. As well, Shibly owns firearms, and provided his radical background along with his alleged history of domestic violence, trusting Shibly’s words could be a big mistake, especially when children are involved.
Throughout Shibly’s response to Sadrati’s charges, he has made it a point to repeatedly state that they are divorced, albeit Islamically. He wrote, “Imane and I have been separated for two years and divorced since Ramadan” and “Imane and I separated after Ramadan 2019 and completed our Islamic divorce, per her insistence, in Ramadan of 2020” and “Imane and I have been separated or divorced for nearly two years before I met Vanessa.” Yet, a warranty deed both Shibly and Sadrati showed up together to sign in July 2020, which was after Ramadan, explicitly describes them as “Hassan Shibly, a married man, joined by his wife, Imane Sadrati.”
Former CAIR-Florida Communications and Outreach Director, Samantha Bowden, has been highly critical of Shibly, posting on her Facebook page a graphic labeling Shibly a “pervert,” “abuser,” manipulator” and “monster,” declaring “I STAND AS A WITNESS TO ALL OF THIS BEHAVIOR.” In another post, Bowden stated, “I heard him yell at his wife and talk down to her… It is well known Shibley has chased many women to be [in his] haram of wives.” She said an NPR reporter interviewed “many women about Hassan” and will be issuing a piece on it. She too claimed that former CAIR leader Ahmed Bedier was suspended from his radio job at WMNF Tampa, in 2018, labeling him a “WELL KNOWN sexual harasser” of a “dozen plus women.”
And what of Shibly’s new wife, Vanessa, who is not legally married to Shibly but wed via Islam (nikkah)? According to her YouTube page, MiscellaneousVee, Vanessa suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She has made videos about being addicted to drugs, being in abusive relationships, and “fear of abandonment.” If what is alleged about Shibly is true, these issues make her easy prey. And as FITNA Facebook moderator Imani Rodriguez stated about the type of marriage Vanessa is in – one without legal rights – “Seeing as Hassan did a nikkah with Vanessa, it’s safe to assume Vanessa can potentially be Hassan’s next victim.”
This is not the only instance that a CAIR official has been accused of such abuse. In December 2015, Rasha Mubarak, who like Shibly despises Israel, held the position of CAIR Central Florida Regional Director. That same month, while separated from her husband, Mohammad Amori, her husband petitioned the court to produce an injunction for protection against domestic violence from Mubarak. Amori described for the court a series of disturbing incidents allegedly carried out by Mubarak, which included stalking; trespassing; showing up uninvited to his job, parents’ house and dentist’s office; disturbing the peace; and jumping on him and the hood of his car.
CAIR-Florida’s letter, announcing its independent review of the claims against Shibly, fails to mention Shibly by name and repeats Shibly’s false line from his response to the accusations against him that Sadrati is a “prior marriage.” This, while others are accusing Shibly of bigamy. CAIR National has yet to respond; although, the photo atop its Facebook page, prominently displaying Shibly and his smiling face in the center of what seems to be the country-wide officials and representatives of CAIR, may be a response in itself.
Regardless of CAIR’s initial reticence in the matter, the case versus Hassan Shibly is far from over, as many, including the women of FITNA, have been relentless in support of Sadrati and against Shibly and do not appear to be letting up any time soon. The Shibly domestic abuse saga is hitting CAIR in its core and threatens to expose other potential misconduct by its officials, leaving one to wonder if Shibly will be the only casualty once the dust settles.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.