Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center 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).
Unless they were being hidden in a room far from the event, there appears to be no women at last month’s Family Night, at the Beaumont, Texas mosque. That may be a good thing, though, because they may not have been too thrilled about who the mosque had invited to speak at it, ex-CAIR leader Hassan Shibly. It was little over a year ago that Shibly was accused by his then-wife of domestic violence against her in front of their children, and the accusation was taken seriously enough to result in Shibly resigning from CAIR. Why would the mosque welcome such a toxic individual to speak at a family event? Why would they allow him to speak at all?
Much like CAIR, itself, Shibly is a Muslim extremist, whose targets are Jews and Israel. He has described Hezbollah as “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization” and the Hamas Holy Land Foundation (HLF) charity as “humanitarian aid providers.” He used Facebook to laud Palestinian jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a “hero” and tweeted that “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.” In May 2021, he tweeted a graphic that repeated “Israel is an illegitimate apartheid terrorist state” two dozen times, and posted a brutally anti-Semitic video on Instagram, calling on Israeli Jews to “go back to Europe.”
In December 2020, Shibly’s then-wife, Imane Sadrati, created a GoFundMe page asking for donations, claiming that she suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of Shibly and that Shibly cut off funds from her. She said, “[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!”
On a 911 call to police that took place days prior to the publishing of the GoFundMe page and that was made public by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), Sadrati alleged that Shibly, who has spent a significant part of his life on the federal terrorist watchlist, threatened to kill her and stated, “He’s been beating me for 12 years.” According to court documents, during one purported incident, Shibly “twisted Sadrati’s arm, slapped her and shoved her against a wall.”
Other allegations have surfaced regarding Shibly, including that of ‘secret marriages’ (outside of his legal marriage to Sadrati) and sexual harassment of CAIR co-workers. One former CAIR colleague of Shibly’s, Samantha Bowden, who held the position of CAIR-Florida Communications Director, posted the following on her Facebook page: “HASSAN SHIBLY IS A PERVERT, ABUSER, AND MANIPULATOR, AND I STAND AS A WITNESS TO ALL OF THIS BEHAVIOR… HE’S A MONSTER & NEEDS TO BE ISOLATED FROM PUBLIC ACCESS TO PEOPLE.”
On March 25, 2022, The Southeast Texas Islamic Society (STIS), a.k.a. Jamia Masjid Beaumont, brought Shibly in as a guest speaker for its ‘Family Night Dinner.’ It was only a couple months before that Shibly gave a fundraising appeal for the American Youth Academy (AYA), in Tampa, Florida (and advertised another AYA talk, days before). AYA is a children’s school founded by former Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) North American leader Sami al-Arian. Helping Shibly at the AYA event was Hatem Fariz, a colleague of al-Arian’s and fellow member of PIJ. Both Fariz and al-Arian were convicted of providing material support to terrorists.
Speaking along with Shibly, at the Family Night, was STIS imam and resident fashionista Yasir Usmani. Usmani, who previously served as Youth Director of Darul Uloom Texas and who is proud of his Pakistani heritage, refers to the controversial South Asian group Tablighi Jamaat, which has been banned by a number of nations, “Tablighi friends.” He also labeled India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, “terrorist Modi” and the Indian government, “the infidel government of India.” This month, Usmani voiced and produced videos containing anti-Semitic Islamic tropes, including that Allah turned Jews into “apes” and that Jews have “earned wrath upon wrath.”
One of the coordinators for the event was local Lamar University professor and frequent speaker at STIS, Khalid Hamza. Hamza was denied tenure at a previous school, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), for allegedly “misstating his qualifications on his resume” and “unprofessional behavior.” Hamza was co-founder of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR). Other ICBR founders consisted of Hamas web designer Syed Khawer Ahmad and ex-assistant to Sami al-Arian, Bassem Alhalabi. Hamza used a Texas A&M University internet forum to defend al-Arian and portray reports of al-Arian’s involvement in terrorism as media “poisoning people’s minds.”
Given Shibly’s recent wife abuse scandal, it was an interesting choice for STIS to bring him in as a speaker – and on family night, yet! This is especially the case, when the mosque and its leadership have cynically attempted to create the (false) impression that they honor women. On their social media, one can find such messages as: “The Best Of You Are Those Who Are Best To Their Women”; “Treat your WIFE The way you want your DAUGHTER To be Treated”; “Mother is the blessing that no one can replace”; and “MEN ARE THE PROTECTORS AND MAINTAINERS OF WOMEN.”
When Shibly came to speak, all of the leaders of STIS – STIS Chairman Azam Ali, STIS President Tahir “Tony” Ashrafi, and STIS Imam Yasir Usmani – lined up to have their photos taken with him. Ashrafi stated about the Shibly event, “Today we had Brother Hassan Shibly give a khutba at Jamia Masjid’s Family Night! It was a wonderful event… Thank you to Brother Hassan Shibly for joining us and speaking at our event!”
In truth, STIS cares nothing about safeguarding women or about the allegations that Shibly abused his wife, just as it has no issues with the fact that Shibly has associated himself with a Hamas-related group like CAIR or PIJ-linked entities like AYA and Hatem Fariz. STIS President Ashrafi alluded to this, when he posted on his Facebook page a graphic with the following message aimed at women, like Imane Sadrati, who speak out: “DON’T TALK BAD ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND. TO ANYONE. EVER.”
STIS is another radical Muslim institution which has no problem with inviting an alleged domestic abuser, bigamist and harasser of women to address their adherents on a ‘Family Night.’ The mosque’s embrace of Shibly implies a tacit acceptance and approval of all the behaviors he is accused of. Instead of becoming persona non grata, Shibly is considered a celebrity in Islamist circles. This reveals the inherent misogyny and total hypocrisy permeating their extremist ideology and makes a mockery of the family values they claim to be promoting.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.