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).
For a while, Hassan Shibly was arguably the most prominent representative of CAIR. His work in such things as attempting to regain the American citizenship of ISIS bride Hoda Muthana and trying to convince the courts that the federal ‘terrorism watch list’ is unconstitutional brought Shibly much exposure in the media and made him a key draw at CAIR fundraisers around the US. All of that is gone now, as he has resigned his position as Executive Director of CAIR-Florida, following his wife’s accusations of him physically abusing her in front of their kids. And with a new investigation into the violence set to begin, this may only be the start of his troubles.
CAIR has its foundation in the terrorist group Hamas. When CAIR was created, in June 1994, it was under the guidance of then-global Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who had been residing in the US. Shibly, who was born in Syria, has not strayed far from CAIR’s roots. He has described Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization.” He has tweeted that “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.” He has used Facebook to laud Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a “hero.” And he has used CAIR’s Tampa office to meet with convicted member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hatem Fariz.
On January 12th, two weeks after his wife, Imane Sadrati, put out a video and written statement alleging she suffered domestic violence at the hands of Shibly, Shibly posted onto Facebook a statement recognizing his resignation from CAIR. In it, he did not admit to any wrongdoing. In fact, he made a highly suspicious claim that a plan for his departure, by June 2021, had already been put in place and that he and CAIR had been actively seeking his successor. He also claimed that “two independent third party assessments” – not naming who those third parties were – found what he described as “the smear campaign I have faced” to be “false.”
When Shibly says “smear campaign,” he is not clear what or who that is. Was he talking about his wife, who wrote that her marriage became “volatile and abusive,” when she was nine months pregnant with her first child? Was he talking about those who took his wife’s side, such as the Muslim feminist group FITNA, one of whose Facebook page contributors Shibly has personally targeted on his own Facebook? Was he talking about former CAIR-Florida Communications Director Sam Bowden, who labeled Shibly a “manipulator” and “monster”? Or was he talking about this author, who, this month, wrote a piece exposing Shibly’s domestic abuse troubles?
Ex-CAIR rep Bowden posted screenshots of a conversation she recently had with CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. When Bowden asked Awad about the investigation into Shibly’s alleged abuse, Awad like Shibly acknowledged that “it’s been done by outside investigators,” but also like Shibly, Awad did not name who those investigators were.
But whether or not Shibly has been exonerated by these mysterious third parties, he is still not ‘out of the water.’ Facing Abuse in Community Environments (FACE), a non-profit organization assisting Muslim women in abusive relationships, has announced the following on its social media: “FACE has received multiple allegations against Hassan Shibly, the former Executive Director of CAIR Florida, concerning abuse he is alleged to have conducted. It is in the best interest of those who have and may come forward, as well as the community at large, for FACE to announce publicly that we have opened a formal investigation regarding these allegations.”
The FACE investigation, though, has come with its own controversy. The founder and Executive Director of FACE is Alia Salem. According to her bio, she is as well a co-founder of Palestine Action Committee of Texas (PACT), a radical outfit that, in February 2020, mourned the death of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member Mohammed al-Naem, who was caught placing a bomb next to the Israeli-Palestinian border fence. Salem is also the former Executive Director of CAIR-Dallas. Under her leadership, Shibly was a featured speaker at CAIR-Dallas’ 2016 annual banquet. Salem has been accused of being “close friends” with Shibly, something she denies.
And what about a further investigation conducted by the US government? For years, Shibly’s name has been found on the federal ‘terrorism watch list.’ He has worked with a Hamas-linked group, CAIR. He has met with a convicted member of PIJ. He once said that CAIR-Florida relies on a PIJ-linked mosque for its “programs” and “fundraising.” Isn’t he the perfect candidate for such an investigation?
Hassan Shibly has lost his job with CAIR, the organization that made him a ‘household’ name in the Muslim community and beyond. What more does he stand to lose? Future jobs? Future wives? His children? His citizenship? If what has been said about him is true – that he caused terror not just to Jews in Israel, but to his wife – he has only himself to blame and he must be held accountable and brought to justice.