Do Muslim Brotherhood operatives “enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy” through their relationship with the Obama administration? Posters like this one reference the website of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) and name six suspects: Arif Alikhan, Mohammed Elibiary, Rashad Hussain, Salam al-Marayati, Mohamed Magid, and Eboo Patel. The source for the allegations can be traced to an Egyptian newspaper article that ran late in December 2013 and included little substantiation. I looked into the backgrounds of all six men.
Alikhan, the first man alleged to be a Muslim Brotherhood operative, is currently working at Los Angeles World Airports as the deputy executive director for law enforcement and homeland security. He has held positions inside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice, but he’s not now in a position that yields itself to being an influence on White House policy. Elibiary, who worked with DHS, has no known ties to the Brotherhood. Al-Marayati is president of the Muslim Public Affairs Counsel, but no evidence that he was a member of the Brotherhood has surfaced. Al-Marayati suggested in an interview with WORLD that the Egyptian newspaper article is merely a product of conspiracy theories.
Hussain, Obama’s envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has been criticized for questionable ties, but no proof of Brotherhood membership has emerged. Patel has connections with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which is labeled an “unindicted co-conspirator” in efforts to aid Hamas—a Brotherhood splinter group. ISNA is on the “list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends” found in the back of the Brotherhood’s “Explanatory Memorandum” that calls for “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”
Magid, the president of ISNA, is the last of the six men named as a key Obama influencer. Hard, publicly available evidence shows Magid and ISNA are close to the White House: The group hosted Obama’s aide, Valerie Jarrett, as its 46th annual convention keynote speaker. Magid himself has met with Obama on at least two occasions, but ISNA’s ties to the White House precede the Obama administration. The organization received financial aid during the Bush administration in 2003 and 2004 and was awarded State Department funds in 2008, a year after first being slapped with the “unindicted co-conspirator” label.
Speaking for or working with ISNA does not a Brotherhood member make, and some claims concerning these six are flimsy. Still, journalists should ask hard questions about groups that would harm America and why individuals—or administrations—help them.