The Obama Six - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Obama Six

December 25, 2013: The CNN headline was blunt:

Egypt’s interim Cabinet officially labels Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

Began the story, which was reported in one media outlet after another:

(CNN) — Egypt’s interim government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on Wednesday, blamed it for a bombing this week that killed 16 people, and announced that anyone who is a member of the group will be punished.

Hossam Issa, the interim minister of higher education and a deputy prime minister, announced the Cabinet’s decision on state-run al-Masriaya television.

The government reiterates that there will be no return to the past under any circumstances and Egypt, the state and the people, will never succumb to the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood whose crimes have gone far beyond all moral, religious and human limits,” he said.

The government also will punish anyone giving the group financial support, Issa added.


This followed by a mere three days another story in the Egyptian media. This one in the pro-government newspaper Rose El-Youssef.

December 22, 2012.

The Rose El-Youssef story begins: “Not Huma Abidin (sic) alone.”

The reference, of course, is to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. Abedin, also known as the wife of the scandal-plagued ex-congressman and New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, had been the subject of a number of stories revealing family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The paper’s story — its English translation found here at terrorist expert Steve Emerson’s The Investigative Project — reported that there were six people with Muslim Brotherhood ties either serving in the Obama administration or with close ties to the Obama White House. The Egyptian paper reported as follows (with bold print for emphasis provided):

Perhaps the most famous story the American media dealt with months ago was ‘Huma Abidin’ Clinton’s special adviser and her close friend, but what many people do not know is that there are 6 other personalities tied to the Brotherhood on the American political street… We survey in this investigation information which has not been published before about these six personalities in the entire Islamic world, but there remains a question we cannot answer yet, but we are on the way to it. Are these six personalities tantamount to a turning point for the Obama administration from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in the world as well?

The paper went on to name the six — whose ties to the Obama administration the paper listed — as:

Arif Alikhan — Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for DHS

Mohamed Elibiary — Homeland Security Adviser

Rashad Hussain Marayati — Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference

Salam al-Marayati — Obama Adviser — founder, Muslim Public Affairs Council and its current executive director

Imam Mohamed Magid — Obama’s Sharia Czar — Islamic Society of North America

Eboo Patel — Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships

A poster of the six, replete with photos and a link to Mr. Emerson’s site has since been popularized on the Internet. Here’s a link to the poster.

Predictably, a site calling itself tried to dispatch the story in the following fashion:

The Muslim Brotherhood Has Infiltrated The White House-Unproven!

Summary of the eRumor: 

This is a forwarded email with the title of “White House Staff” or “New In The White House” that alleges that six American Islamist Activists who work with the Obama Administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives influencing American policies.

The Truth: 

This eRumor is an unproven conspiracy theory.

The Florida Times-Union’s fact checking site at specifically looked into Arif Alikhan and reported something different: 

Times-Union readers want to know:

Is it true that the Obama administration has appointed two devout Muslims to be top officials in the Department of Homeland Security?

Yes, the essential email is true, although there’s no information on how devout they are. In addition, one has been in government for a while, having served in the George W. Bush administration before his current appointment.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Arif Alikhan as assistant secretary for policy development, according to an April 2009 news release. The Homeland Security website says that “Alikhan leads a team of policy analysts, scientists and economists responsible for coordinating, analyzing and developing policy issues for securing the United States against terrorists and natural threats.”

Before that, in 2006, Alikhan was named deputy mayor for homeland security and public safety for the city of Los Angeles, where he oversaw the police, fire and emergency management departments, The Los Angeles Times reported. During the Bush administration, reports, he served as senior counsel and executive director of the Intellectual Property Task Force. Alikhan was described by the Times as “a Muslim born to Pakistani and Indian parents,” and as a supporter of Muslim-American causes. 

The Times-Union also reported on Kareem Shora, who is not on that list of six mentioned above. Says the paper:

The other appointee, Kareem Shora, a native of Damascus, Syria, was named to the non-policy-making Homeland Security Advisory Council in June 2009, according to, a nonpartisan fact-finding project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The council makes recommendations to Napolitano on various homeland security issues. Among others on that committee were Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia; Gary Hart, a former U.S. senator; and Louis Freeh, former FBI director. Shora resigned from the council after a few months to become a senior adviser in the department’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, reports. At the same time, he resigned as national executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a nonprofit civil rights organization that promotes the rights of people of Arab descent. Shora received his law degree from West Virginia University and an International Legal Studies specialty from American University. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Yale University.

And the others on that list of six? What exactly is going on here?

Take the interesting case of number two on this list — Mohamed Elibiary. Titled a “Homeland Security Adviser,” in fact, Elibiary was appointed by Obama Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Department’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. 

In 2011, PJ Media’s Patrick Poole reported that Elibiary had been leaking government documents to a left-wing media outlet. Wrote Poole:

Homeland Security Adviser Allegedly Leaked Intel to Attack Rick Perry

TX Dept. of Public Safety Director: “We know [Mohamed Elibiary] has accessed DPS documents and downloaded them.”

Poole received confirmation on this from the unnamed left-wing media outlet, writing:

“Yes, he approached us and gave us some reports marked FOUO [For Official Use Only] that he said showed a pattern of Islamophobia at the department. He emphasized that some of the regional fusion centers were shut down a few years ago after the ACLU complained that they were targeting Muslim civil rights groups and said that this was being directed by [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry.

“We looked at the reports and they weren’t as he had billed them to us. They seem to be pretty straightforward, nothing remotely resembling Islamophobia that we saw. I think he was hoping we would bite and not give it too much of a look in light of the other media outfits jumping on the Islamophobia bandwagon.”

In response to Poole’s question about the Obama appointee’s motivation, the source added:

“Oh, self-promotion definitely. It was clear up front that he wanted to be a quoted source in the story. We’ve used him as an unnamed source in previous stories. There’s nothing unusual or unseemly about that because officials do it all the time, but this was the first time he approached us with documents. Honestly, if they had been what he represented them as we would have probably run with the story. But we looked at them and saw this was a partisan hatchet job that could blow back on us so we passed on it.”

Aside from being accused of leaking official documents that he wanted to discredit as promoting “Islamophobia” — with the intended recipient confirming Elibiary had in fact tried to peddle the documents to them — he is an on-the-record admirer of Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb. For the uninitiated in the finer threads of Islam, Qutb, an Egyptian who was executed after supporting a coup against then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, has been described in the New York Times by Paul Berman back in 2003 as the “Islamic philosopher of terror.” Wrote Berman of Elibiary’s hero Qutb’s role in the intellectual grounding of al Qaeda (with bold print for emphasis supplied): 

The Egyptian factions (of Al Qaeda) emerged from an older current, a school of thought from within Egypt’s fundamentalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1950’s and 60’s. And at the heart of that single school of thought stood, until his execution in 1966, a philosopher named Sayyid Qutb — the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda, their Karl Marx (to put it that way), their guide.

Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) wrote a book called ‘‘Milestones,’’ and that book was cited at his trial, which gave it immense publicity, especially after its author was hanged. ‘‘Milestones’’ became a classic manifesto of the terrorist wing of Islamic fundamentalism. A number of journalists have dutifully turned the pages of ‘‘Milestones,’’ trying to decipher the otherwise inscrutable terrorist point of view.

Qutb is discussed here in a HuffPo piece written as the so-called “Arab Spring” began to surge to life. While one can find endless discussion of Qutb out there, this one, written by Anav Silverman of Israel’s Sderot Media Center, will suffice to illustrate the object of this particular Obama appointee’s admiration:

A leading Egyptian theologian, Qutb was born and raised in Egypt and later spent time in America in the 1940s studying educational administration at Colorado State College in Greely and later working at Stanford University.

Qutb’s visit to America left him disgusted with Western life. He described America devoid of any spiritual or moral values, promoting only what was primitive and animalistic. Qutb published an article upon his return to Egypt called, America I Have Seen, where he strongly criticized America’s materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, superficiality, and sexual mores.

After his return to Egypt, Qutb joined the Brotherhood in 1951 and wrote many books including his best known lengthy Koranic commentary In the Shade of the Qur’an and Milestones. In his work he makes the case that supposed Muslim regimes like that of Egypt (which had been led by secular nationalists during his time) should be understood as jahiliy (pagan) and therefore the proper target of military jihad. In Milestones, Qutb argued that anything non-Islamic was evil and corrupt and that Sharia freed both the society and the individual. From Qutb’s reading of the Koran, he deduced that the Christians are all destined for hell and in later works he preached against Christians, Jews and the Western way of life.

Qutb who was noted to have inspired al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, continues to leave a lasting mark on Muslim Brotherhood members today and the Muslim world in general.

Move now to this link in the Dallas Morning News in which writer Rod Dreher, who also contributes to the American Conservative and has had repeated contact with Elibiary, writes this (in 2009) of Qutb:

I’ve written in the not too distant past about Sayyid Qutb, the radical Islamic totalitarian who was executed in the 1960s by Egypt’s dictator as a revolutionary. Qutb is one of the most important figures in modern Islamic extremism. In this long 2003 New York Times Magazine piece, Paul Berman describes why Qutb is “the philosopher of Islamic terror.” According to the 9/11 Commission Report:

“[Osama] Bin Ladin also relies heavily on the Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood executed in 1966 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, Qutb mixed Islamic scholarship with a very superficial acquaintance with Western history and thought. Sent by the Egyptian government to study in the United States in the late 1940s, Qutb returned with an enormous loathing of Western society and history. He dismissed Western achievements as entirely material, arguing that Western society possesses ‘nothing that will satisfy its own conscience and justify its existence.’

“Three basic themes emerge from Qutb’s writings. First, he claimed that the world was beset with barbarism, licentiousness, and unbelief (a condition he called jahiliyya, the religious term for the period of ignorance prior to the revelations given to the Prophet Mohammed). Qutb argued that humans can choose only between Islam and jahiliyya. Second, he warned that more people, including Muslims, were attracted to jahiliyya and its material comforts than to his view of Islam; jahiliyya could therefore triumph over Islam. Third, no middle ground exists in what Qutb conceived as a struggle between God and Satan. All Muslims — as he defined them —therefore must take up arms in this fight. Any Muslim who rejects his ideas is just one more nonbeliever worthy of destruction.

“Bin Ladin shares Qutb’s stark view, permitting him and his followers to rationalize even unprovoked mass murder as righteous defense of an embattled faith. Many Americans have wondered, ‘Why do “they” hate us?’ Some also ask, ‘What can we do to stop these attacks?’”

Previous to writing this, Dreher had contact with a government official while writing about the then recent Fort Hood shooting. Said Mr. Dreher (emphasis supplied by me):

I thought about that conversation this afternoon when an e-mail to the Texas Faith list came in from contributor Mohamed Elibiary, a local Muslim activist and sometime contributor to the Texas Faith site. Elibiary sent along a report from the Congressional Research Service, one prepared for Congress by Mark A. Randol, identified as a specialist in domestic intelligence and counterterrorism. The document outlines strategic initiatives for identifying domestic terror threats, and cites at one point Elibiary’s Freedom & Justice Foundation as advisers to the project. Elibiary is understandably proud that he and his group are helping top levels of the U.S. government identify extremist threats; as he tells the Texas Faith list, F&J has for years helped law enforcement plug up security holes.”

Dreher continues:

You can imagine why I found it so alarming a few years back to learn that the Dallas Central Mosque was instructing some of its teenagers in “Milestones,” a slim distillation of Qutb’s teachings. You can read “Milestones” for yourself on this Islamic website, in English translation. I urge you not to take my word, Paul Berman’s word, or the 9/11 Commission’s word about how radical and violent Qutb’s thought is. Check it out for yourself (they transliterate his name “Syed Qutb”).

Given that Qutb thought any Muslim that didn’t share his bloodthirsty totalitarian view of Islam was no better than an infidel, you’d think that a Muslim who wanted to help the US government flag potential extremist threats domestically would be alarmed by discovering that Qutb was being taught to kids at a large local mosque. You would be wrong.

Dreher goes on to produce e-mail from Elibiary that is quite laudatory of Sayyid Qutb. Among other things, Elibiary challenged Dreher:

I’d like to ask you to explain how Milestones calls for the “violent imposition of Islamic totalitarianism worldwide” because I must of missed something there? Like I’ve stated to you on multiple occasions and shared with your colleagues, you don’t understand the subject matter you speak on with such authority and it would benefit you to act as a student before grabbing the teacher’s ruler.

Of course, it wasn’t just Rod Dreher making this claim about Qutb. The charge, as illustrated above, is essentially everywhere. Indeed, Qutb was executed because of his views in 1966, and the Dreher columns were written decades afterwards, in 2006 and 2009.

Yet the central point is as fresh as the next person’s discovery of that poster with what we might call the Obama Six.

That central point?

The Obama Administration, in its zeal to be “not George W. Bush,” has adopted the fundamentally leftist world view that once reigned supreme when leftists dealt with the Soviet Union. Which is to say, bend the knee (or bow?) to totalitarianism in the hope that, in the famous words of the late Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”

In the drive to “get along” with totalitarian Islam it is therefore key to just ignore the hard reality of people like the late Sayyid Qutb and his admirers. So in the name of “tolerance” and “understanding” advice is sought — and presumably taken — from Qutb admirers like Elibiary.

Whether the issue is declaring the Ft. Hood shooting by Islamic fundamentalist Major Nidal Hassan not Islamic terrorism but “work place violence,” or, as currently in the news, trusting that Iran will stop trying to develop a nuclear bomb (which former UN Ambassador John Bolton labels an “abject surrender”), all are of a piece with the idea of the U.S. government taking advice from those whose beliefs are essentially in some fashion not unlike the Qutb-admiring Mr. Elibiary. (Or, as Dreher says Elibiary prefers, “Ambassador Elibiary.”) 

That idea, fundamental to the American Left, is just as the late Reagan UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick styled it: “Blame America First.”

There is a curious and not-to-be-mentioned side to all of this. Which we will happily mention.

Just as the holidays arrived at the end of this last year, America was swamped in a furious argument over Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch. Mr. Robertson had let loose with remarks in a GQ magazine article, saying (among other things):

Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.

This launched (again among other things) a barrage from gay groups, notably from GLAAD, the gay activist group.

Of course, Phil Robertson can’t hold a candle to the views of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb believed that Allah supplies “divine guidance concerning everything… including faith, morals, values, standards, systems, and laws.”

Catch that word “morals”?

That’s right, Sayyid Qutb, the man to be admired by Obama appointee Elibiary, wrote the following in Milestones about gays in what Qutb called “jahili societies” — meaning any society other than a Muslim society:

In all modern jahili societies, the meaning of “morality” is limited to such an extent that all those aspects which distinguish man from animal are considered beyond its sphere. In these Societies, illegitimate sexual relationships, even homosexuality, are not considered immoral…. From this point of view all such societies are not civilized but backward.

Translation: Societies… like, say, America… that accept “even homosexuality” are “backward.”

So what we have here is an Obama appointee lauding the works of an Islamic scholar that essentially agree with… gasp!!!… Phil Robertson!

And the outrage is at the appointment of a man who admires the work of an Islamic philosopher who is, as they say in today’s world, “anti-gay” is….where?

Yes, that’s right, the sound of crickets chirping is heard over there at GLAAD and any other gay ally of the Obama administration. Apparently if you are Phil Robertson you should be off of television for making a few remarks to GQ… but if you see nothing wrong with Sayyid Qutb, whose views are Robertson’s on steroids (gays are executed in the Islamic world, as noted here) … no problem serving in the Obama administration?

Wow. The words “double standard” can’t begin to describe that kind of thinking.

In truth, there is more here about the Obama Six.

So we will stop here… and be back with a look at others on the list discussed by that Egyptian paper.

This is a topic that is as important as it can be incendiary. Certainly it isn’t just American intellectuals or the American Left that have made mistakes in dealing with the issue. No less than the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, much celebrated in America and the Western world for his work on Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords with Israel, was in fact so trusting of his own military that he wound up brutally murdered by Islamic fascists inside that military.

The other day Americans learned of an attack in Afghanistan by the Taliban on a popular restaurant run by a Lebanese restaurateur that killed a number of people. One of those killed was 27-year-old American Lexie Kamerman, a young idealistic American who was in Kabul to work on education programs for Afghans at the school promoted by a U.S. grant championed by former First Lady Laura Bush at the American University of Afghanistan.

A school that focuses on young women. Lexie Kamerman, there can be little doubt, died at the hands of the ideology that, according to many, was actively promoted by Sayyid Qutb, the “Islamic philosopher of terror” as dubbed by, of all places, the New York Times.

There are two questions here.

One is the obvious… are there direct ties to terrorism by any of the Obama Six?

And if not, then the question is the same — exactly the same — as it is for any other American adviser to a president of the United States. That question revolves around one thing:


Judgment which in turn is influenced by beliefs.

And it is, to say the least, more than strange that an Obama adviser who defends the beliefs of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood dubbed the “Islamic philosopher of terror,” was appointed to anything in the Obama administration.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is officially declared to be a terrorist group. In America, Mohamed Elibiary, one of the Obama Six and who openly celebrates the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Islamic philosopher of terror,” becomes an Obama adviser.

Strange, yes?

Then again?

Maybe not.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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