The family of Steven Sotloff, a Jewish Israeli-American journalist beheaded by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in 2014 in Syria, filed a federal lawsuit on May 13 against Qatar’s state-sponsored charity, Qatar Charity (QC), for financially supporting IS. The lawsuit is the most recent evidence of how Qatar, as previously analyzed, is a global hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) extremism, whose QC influence reaches as far as the Memphis Islamic Center (MIC) in Tennessee.
MIC received £154,384 (over $189,000 at current exchanges) in 2017 from QC’s British branch, the Nectar Trust, formerly Qatar Charity-UK, according to its 2018 financial statement, an unsettling link given Nectar Trust’s history. The same statement reveals that Nectar Trust supported the Emaan Trust, which is building an Islamic center in Sheffield, England. According to the statement, this “multi-purpose community centre…will contribute to the development of the community and promote positive integration through different activities including interfaith programmes.”
Emaan Trust trustees have less “positive” reputations, such as Aiman Mohammed Saeed, a “Fagin-like figure” convicted in 2016 for organizing a gang of thieves who provided his shop with stolen goods including smartphones for sale. Trustee Essam Al Fulajii meanwhile resigned in 2017 after revelations of his comments about Christian-Muslim unity against the “monster” Jews, who are “controlling the world,” and how “international Zionists and Mossad” organized 9/11. Emaan Trust honorary chairman Khalid Al-Mathkour belongs to Kuwait’s MB charitable arm, the Social Reform Society, and chairs Kuwait’s sharia council.
Emaan Trust trustee Ahmed al-Rawi has also led the Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), two groups close to the MB. His fellow trustee Abderrezak Bougara is also a trustee of MAB’s Charitable Trust. In 2004, Rawi reportedly signed a MB declaration along with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. It called upon “Arab and Muslim peoples and all religious authorities and liberation forces everywhere to oppose the occupation and savage crimes in Iraq and Palestine” with “all kinds of material and moral support to the honourable resistance.”
In Tennessee, MIC’s directors have their own ideas about “liberation forces” in “Palestine,” such as MIC’s Mental Health & Counseling Director, Sheik Yassir Fazaga, who has often bashed Israel on Twitter. MIC’s Dawah & Community Outreach Director, Sheikh Anwar Arafat, addressed a 2021 Memphis rally where protesters chanted from “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a coded call for Israel’s genocidal destruction. MIC also collaborated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an MB-organization that resolutely supports Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, in ISNA’s 2017 Power of Faith Conference in Memphis.
MIC trustees such as Suha Dweik, who lists her preferred pronouns as “She/her/hers” in her biography at the University of Memphis Diversity Committee, put on a progressive face despite MIC’s longstanding relationship with Yasir Qadhi. This leading American Muslim cleric and commentator has often addressed MIC, having served as MIC’s resident scholar in the years 2010-2019 before becoming the resident scholar at the East Plano Islamic Center in Texas. In both 2019 and 2022, Qadhi has continued to appear at the Memphis Interfaith Dinner cohosted by MIC.
For someone participating in such multicultural events, Qadhi has decidedly non-woke views, including his past promotion of Holocaust denial and the death penalty for homosexuals in any hypothetical Islamic state. He is viciously anti-Israel, and recently in March justified jihadist conquests of places such as his ancestral home in the Indian subcontinent while comparing the Palestinian quest to destroy Israel with Ukrainian self-defense. In 2014 he praised the MB’s extremist spiritual guide, the Qatari resident Yusuf Al Qaradawi, as a “towering intellectual genius,” and in 2021 openly acknowledged Islam’s historic ban on blasphemy.
The company Qadhi keeps is also disturbing. He fundraised in 2018 for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American branch of Pakistan’s MB equivalent, Jamaat-e-Islami. That same year he also fundraised as a Global Ambassador for Human Appeal, a group that Israel banned in 2008 for funding Hamas terrorists.
Qadhi was also a co-speaker with Laila Al-Arian at an Anaheim, California, February 22, 2014, fundraiser for the Muslim Legal Fund in America. She is a senior producer with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, notorious worldwide for broadcasting MB, anti-Israel/semitic propaganda. She is also the daughter of convicted Palestinian-American terrorism financier Sami Al-Arian.
Representing MIC at Memphis interfaith events, such as the March 27, 2017, panel on “Why Justice is Foundational to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism” at Memphis’ Temple Israel synagogue, Qadhi nonetheless presents a friendly face. There he argued that the Quran has “so many verses about justice” and that “one of the earliest Quranic prohibitions involves the prohibition against female infanticide.” This concern for infant life seemed discordant with his fellow panelist, the late pastor of Memphis’ Idlewild Presbyterian Church, Stephen R. Montgomery, who, like his panelist, Temple Israel’s Rabbi Micah Greenstein, was pro-LGBT. Montgomery complained of recent federal budget cuts affecting “poor woman needing medical care from Planned Parenthood,” America’s leading abortion provider.
At Temple Israel, Qadhi intoned suitably woke sentiments such as how people “have the God-given right to practice their religion as they see fit,” a view at odds with his recognition of often deadly Islamic blasphemy norms. With open borders rhetoric, he declared that “illegal aliens” as a “term honestly disgusts me,” and dubiously claimed that they are often “more ethical than us” American citizens. “They are just as human as the many hundreds of millions of ‘illegal aliens’ who came to this country without the permission of those who used to be on this land,” he said.
By contrast, Qadhi showed far more Islamic orthodoxy during a May 25, 2009, installment of the Doha Debates series in Qatar. There he argued against the resolution that “Muslim women should be free to marry anyone they choose,” as he stated the traditional Muslim maxim that a “Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man,” although the reverse is possible. “In conclusion, this motion makes just about as much sense as someone who says Muslim men should be given the freedom to drink anything they want, including alcohol,” he said. The day after the debate he triumphantly wrote that the “Islamic system was the perfect system.”
Americans in Memphis and beyond might worry about what Qadhi and others close to Qatar are doing to America’s system of governance. As Security Studies Group Vice President David Reaboi, an expert on Qatar’s pro-MB influence operations, wrote in 2019, “Qatar has also been exceptionally successful at buying and obtaining influence to advance its interests in Washington.”
For example, the Qatari government contributed in the past between $1 and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, including a 2011 $1 million gift for Bill Clinton’s birthday. This unreported contribution potentially violated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2009 ethics agreement with the State Department. That Clinton’s donor simultaneously lavishes Hamas has provoked further outrage.
Closer to Memphis, millionaire developer Franklin Haney in 2018 tried to interest Qatari investors in financing the purchase of a never-used Alabama nuclear power plant in order to supply Memphis electricity needs. His proposal raised questions about violating federal law, which prohibits a nuclear plant from being “owned, controlled or dominated” by a foreign corporation or government. Furthermore, in this effort he hired President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Cohen stands accused of soliciting $1 million dollars from a Qatari sovereign wealth fund investor for access to the president as well as making similar solicitations from various corporations. Cohen’s Qatari business relations also included a $100,000 brokerage fee for a Florida real-estate deal on behalf of a company owned by a Qatari royal family member. Cohen was later convicted for tax evasion for not reporting this, among other income, as well as for violating campaign finance laws with hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, who had alleged an affair with Trump.
Such economic and political dealings of a state such as Qatar, so committed to promoting anti-American and anti-Israel jihadist agendas, should give pause to Americans in King Elvis’ hometown and elsewhere. Before they attend another feelgood event at the Qatar-funded MIC or elsewhere, concerned citizens should follow the money and motives of interfaith harmony preachers. Forewarned is forearmed, and as Al Qaeda showed on 9/11, threats from distant shores can harm the American homeland.