Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom (IHW) in Dearborn, Mich., is a well-connected man. In mid-July 2022, the IHW announced that “Imam Elahi joined the vaccination mobilization event addressed by Vice President Harris, Governer Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor and a group of state and national political leaders at TCF center in Detroit this afternoon.” Elahi got ready access to the headliners: “Talking with VP Harris, the imam congratulated the administration for their great achievements in fighting COVID 19 and advancing the vaccination services.” Yet as Focus on Western Islamism noted on Wednesday, Elahi has also “served as a key institution for the interests and agenda of the Iranian regime for decades.” Do the Democrats care? Come on, man! That would be “Islamophobic”!
Certainly, a steady stream of politicians from the Party of Jefferson Davis, Bull Connor, and George Wallace make their way to the Islamic House of Wisdom to pay their respects to the Imam Elahi and show their regard for his community. In January 2021, Whitmer also showed up there. The IHW announced: “Governor Gretchen Whitmer Joined Imam Elahi’s first Thursday prayer service of 2021!… During her speech, the Governor appreciated the service and at the end, she addressed the community members’ comments and questions! While some breaking news was happening and CNN was waiting desperately to interview Governer Whitmer, she generously spent a big amount of her evening time for this virtual visitation to IHW and the members of Muslim community of Michigan!”
Nor are Harris and Whitmer the only visitors. Elahi is a pillar of the Dearborn community. The IHW reported in November 2015: “With the presence of Congresswoman Debbie Dingle [sic], Mayor of Dearborn, interfaith community and hundreds of other dignitaries, community leaders and members, it turned to a great celebration of IHW’s accomplishments in the last two decades.” In April 2021, the Mayor of Dearborn Heights, Bill Bazzi, stated: “We do need to support the Islamic House of Wisdom financially.”
Elahi is a police chaplain for the city, and in May he met with Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud and “expressed his pride and admiration of the Mayor and his administration for their achievements in such a short time.”
Yet amid all this back-slapping and mutual congratulation, Elahi has, according to Focus on Western Islamism, “worked as an Iranian regime operative and maintained decades-long friendships with Iranian leadership.” Back in his native Iran in the 1980s, he “served as the head of ‘political ideology’ for the Iranian Navy.” According to the U.S. Institute of Peace, Elahi initially came to this country in 1991 in order to “inspect American branches of Hizbullah (Tehran’s network of agents) and to reinforce Tehran’s influence on Shi’ite communities.”
The IHW website still features a 2005 photo of Elahi in Beirut with Grand Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hizballah and a man whom the U.S. government considered to be a supporter of terrorism. In 2010, when Fadlallah died, Elahi called him “man of peace, man of justice … a man of antiterrorism and antiviolence.”
In a 2013 statement that is still up on the IHW website, Elahi praised former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as “a man of faith and determination, mind and manner, knowledge and experience, rationality and righteousness.” Yet Focus on Western Islamism notes that “during his term, Rouhani poured billions into funding terror, arrested thousands of political dissidents, and allowed physical and psychological torture of prisoners.” In 2005, when Iran’s then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be “wiped off the map,” Elahi cautioned that this incendiary call for genocide had to be placed “in context.”
When asked about all this, Elahi responded only that he was “a man of interfaith and dialogue.” He also told the inquirer from Focus on Western Islamism that he “didn’t like the tone of your email.” Oh, well then, never mind!
Meanwhile, Harris and Whitmer and the other Democrat politicians who fawn all over Elahi don’t care about any of this. They just want to get their “anti-Islamophobia” card punched. The possibility that Elahi could be influencing his people in an anti-American direction doesn’t even enter their minds. It just isn’t a concern at all. They know that they will never have to pay any political price for hobnobbing with Elahi. It isn’t as if these Democrats were spending time with and praising an opponent of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, someone who spoke honestly about the motivating ideology behind jihad terror. Then the media retribution would be swift and sure, and the political price would be steep. But this? Business as usual.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 25 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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