EXCLUSIVE: Michigan Mosques Linked to Iranian Regime

An Iranian student shows her support for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime (Illustrative photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro and Alex Vanness, July 3, 2018:

The radical Shiite ideology of the Iranian regime is dying within Iran, as evidenced by the ongoing protests, but it is still being actively promoted by three mosques in Michigan. 

Dearborn: Karbala Islamic Education Center

In Dearborn, the Karbala Islamic Education Center is led by an imam who is openly supportive of the Iranian regime and the Hezbollah terrorist group it puppeteers to wage jihad on its enemies.

In April, Imam Husaham al-Hussainy was in Baghdad, Iraq, where he was a guest speaker for a crowd affiliated with the Iranian-backed militia Saraya Ashura. Iranian regime operatives have directly trained and armed many of its fighters. It has been described as the “military wing” of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a pro-Iran political party.

The militia threatened to attack U.S. personnel in Iraq in November 2017. One of the militia’s commanders declared that the U.S. “has become our direct enemy” and that its military must leave Iraq because “they have now become a target for our forces.”

In February, he posted a picture exalting the Supreme Leader of Iran, suggesting that the regime is somehow democratic and has popular support. In the post, Imam al-Hussainy praised the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the theocratic Iranian regime to power.

In 2007, Al-Hussainy was asked about his appearances at rallies that supported Hezbollah.

When asked in a television interview if he believed Hezbollah was a terrorist organization, he responded with “No.” He then expounded: “There is a biblical meaning of Hezbollah. It is in Judaism and Christianity and Islam meaning people of God.” At the end of the interview he stated, “You know what Hezbollah means. I support the people of God.”

Al-Hussainy has also promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

In 2015, the Karbalaa Center posted a video to their Facebook page featuring Imam al-Hussainy condemning Saudi attacks on Yemen, describing [in Arabic] Saudi actions as terrorism and claiming they are “Agents of the Jews.”

Nonetheless, Al-Hussainy has participated in interfaith events both nationally and throughout the city of Detroit.

Considered by many to be a respected voice within the Islamic community of Detroit, Imam al-Hussainy was even invited to provide the invocation to the Democratic National Committee’s Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. Last year, he was invited to speak at a memorial service to remember the victims of 9/11 with Detroit community leaders, despite having as history of problematic stances on terrorism.

When he spoke at the DNC Convention, he stirred up controversy for describing the United States as an occupying force.

The Karbala Islamic Center may also be influencing other mosques and congregations. It conducts activities with nearby organizations, including the Islamic Center of America and the Islamic Institute of Knowledge.

The population of Dearborn is about 40 percent Muslim, the majority of which are Shiite.

The Iranian regime, Hezbollah and their Shiite Islamist allies are building alliances in Dearborn that can threaten the U.S., expand their jihadist network and play upon sectarian identity to overpower moderate Shiite voices.

Walled Lake: Zainabia Center of Michigan

The Zainabia Center of Michigan, also known as the Ahlebait Association of Michigan, is a Shiite mosque located in Walled Lake.

The mosque posts messages from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, treating him as a respected religious authority who Muslims should listen to.

In 2014, the Zainabia Center had an extremist imam, Shaykh Usama Abdulghani, as a guest speaker. He was brought in to teach about the Quran.

In 2017, Abdulghani provided a voiceover for a video describing ISIS as a plot of Israel and the West. It referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei as “the Leader.”

While showing Hezbollah terrorists marching, the video threatened the West, saying it had “united the believers” and “led to people being trained” who are “ready to rock and roll.”

The mosque also held a candlelight vigil and protest in solidarity with a Shiite leader in Pakistan named Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffri.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, met with Jaffri in 2012. Nasrallah praised Jaffri and called on Shiites and Sunnis in Pakistan to unite against U.S. influence in their country, similar to how Hezbollah fought the Israelis in Lebanon. Nasrallah claimed that Jaffri’s organization informed him that they have the same goals.

Another radical speaker that the Zainabia Center has given a platform to is Shaykh Ahmed Haneef, who preached there in 2009.

Haneef spoke at the “Imam Khomeini Conference” in England in 2013. He often appears on the Iranian regime’s propaganda television network. In one episode, he and his guest claimed anti-Semitism is not real. His guest railed against “Jewish hegemony.”

The mosque hosted Dawud Walid, the leader of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the Justice Department has identified as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood’s pro-Hamas network in America.

Walid provided updates in 2010 about the death of the radical Imam Luqmaan Abdullah from Detroit, who was killed during an FBI raid where he and his extremist colleagues opened fire on the agents and killed one of the agents’ dogs.

Abdullah was part of an anti-American extremist group named Ummah that prepared for violent jihad against the U.S. government. CAIR and other Islamists have consistently portrayed the imam as an innocent Muslim who was murdered by bigoted FBI agents.

Dearborn Heights: Islamic House of Wisdom

In 2013, the Clarion Project published our analysis of grants distributed by the Alavi Foundation, a known front for the Iranian regime that was used to finance its nuclear program and promote its radical ideology.

The Washington Post, in 2009, reported U.S. officials’ claims that the Alavi Foundation “promotes Tehran’s views on world affairs.” Hamid Azimi, communications director for the Iranian-American Community of Northern California, says the foundation is part of the regime’s “propaganda machine.”

The Alavi Foundation’s publicly-available declarations showed that it sent $43,700 to the Islamic House of Wisdom between 2004 and 2009.

You can see why the Iranian regime front felt that the Islamic House of Wisdom is worthy of its investment. The mosque’s website teaches about jihad by referencing Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic regime, giving him the respected title of “imam.”

The spiritual leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom is Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi. According to his bio, he began studying at an Islamic seminary in Iran at age 12. He was arrested by the shah of Iran’s security services in 1978. After the Islamic Revolution brought the theocratic regime to power, it appointed him as “an Islamic ethics teacher at the Iranian Naval Academy, a position he held for five years.”

In 1988, he founded the Cultural Research Center in Tehran, “which focused on the Iranian sacrificial motivation to defend Iran for eight years against Saddam Hussein’s aggression.”

In other words, the regime allowed him—and probably helped him—to idolize “martyrs” who die fighting for the country. One former CIA case officer described this culture as a “fraternity of death” where “many of these folks lived to die.”

The “sacrificial motivation” during the Iran-Iraq War included human waves with many child soldiers. The children were even given keys before battle to symbolize how their deaths in jihad would earn them entry into paradise. Young boys were roped together to prevent any from retreating as they threw their bodies into minefields to clear the way for the military.

He moved to Dearborn in 1992, leading the Islamic Center of America, another mosque in Michigan that has been supportive of Hezbollah figures and Louis Farrakhan in recent years. Imam Elahi then established the Islamic House of Wisdom in 1995.

Elahi appears on Iranian state-controlled propaganda TV to parrot the Supreme Leader’s lines, such as claiming that Iran is being falsely accused of seeking nuclear weapons.

He equates Israel and ISIS and instigates terrorism against Israel with inflammatory condemnations and accusations that any trusting listener would interpret as warranting jihad. His statements do not condemn Hamas and its terrorism but instead paint the group essentially as freedom-fighters engaged in legitimate jihad.

Elahi’s preaching sides with the Syrian regime and its Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian backers, as seen in his outrage over the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey. His statement accused Assad’s opponents of being “puppet terrorists” of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion

Videos are being published on the Internet every few hours showing Iranians protesting the regime. These demonstrators have seen the results of the Iranian regime’s theocratic Islamic Revolution and are rejecting it.

Yet, while these Iranians strive for international recognition and support, Shiite Muslims in America are failing to rally to their side. Why?

Our findings regarding the above three mosques provide part of the answer.

The Iranian regime and Shiite Islamists are controlling the platforms necessary to rally support for a cause. As a result, these Iranian protestors—most of them Shiite—are abandoned by the Shiite Islamist leaders in America.