The Ultimate “Unmentionable”?: Bernard Lewis Served with Huma Abedin & A.O. Nasseef on the IMMA Editorial Board

This past week my colleagues Andrew McCarthy and Diana West strove gamely to remind (at least) conservatives of “tweet-martyred” Huma Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood/Wahhabist connections, most notably vis a vis her longstanding (and familial) ties to the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs.

Having explored these connections in great detail last August, which McCarthy and West now deftly allude to in their excellent commentaries, a more detailed summary of my original findings merits recapitulation. Moreover, McCarthy’s apt title, “The Huma Unmentionables,” is the perfect segue to a rather striking (if disconcerting) discovery I made that may indeed be the ultimate “unmentionable” regarding the conservatives’ (especially neoconservatives’) ultimate sage on all-things-Islamic, Bernard Lewis.

Over the past 34 years, Huma Abedin’s family has been responsible for the editorial production of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA)’s academic journal, known as Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Journal, from 1979-1995, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs [JMMA], from 1996. till now, starting with family patriarch Syed Z. Abedin’s, and Huma’s mother, Saleha Abedin‘s, founding involvement since 1979, and subsequently joined by Huma’s brother Hassan Abedin (1996 to present), Huma herself (1996 to 2008), and Huma’s sister, Heba (married name Khalid, or Khaled; 2002 to present).

Syed Abedin, in the inaugural edition of the IMMA journal, gives an effusive tribute to one of his IMMA co-founders, Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef, Chairman of the IMMA. During his concurrent tenure as Secretary-General of the Muslim World League — a combined Saudi Wahhabi, Muslim Brotherhood-dominated organization — in July, 1988, Naseef also created the Rabita Trust, and became its chairman. On October 12, 2001, then President George W. Bush’s Executive Order named Rabita Trust as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity, and the US Treasury Department froze its assets, while Naseef was still serving as the Trust’s chairman. Nasseef remained on the IMMA journal Editorial Board through 2003, overlapping Huma Abedin’s tenure for 7-years (i.e., 1996-2003).

The April/May 2012  issue of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs journal (JMMA) featured two essays, introduced with lavish praise by Editor Saleha Abedin, which champion, unabashedly:

  • The global hegemonic aspirations of major 20th century Muslim Brotherhood jihadist ideologues, such as the eminent Muslim Brotherhood theoretician, Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), and Abul Hasan Nadwi (d. 1999)
  • The more expansive application of Sharia within Muslim minority communities residing in the West, with the goal of replacing these non-Muslim governing systems, as advocated by contemporary Muslim Brotherhood jihadist ideologues, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and Taha Jabir al-Alwani

One of these JMMA essays repeats, approvingly, Qutb’s pejorative characterization of the West as a “disastrous combination of avid materialism, and egoistic individualism.” Abul Hasan Nadwi, was a founding member of the Muslim World League, a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (now Cooperation), a member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques, and a member of the Fiqh Council of Rabita.  In a triumphal 1951 manifesto extolling Islamic supremacism, Nadwi had proclaimed  “Behold the world of man looking with rapture at the world of Islam as its savior, and behold the world of Islam fixing its gaze on the Arab world as its secular and spiritual leader. Will the world of Islam realize the hope of the world of men? And will the Arab world realize the hope of the Muslim world?” Citing Nadwi with admiration, the same JMMA article opines, “[T]he confrontation has taken the shape of an ‘Islamic project’ in the Muslim world against Western modernity…. The war that has been declared against Western modernity now seeks a new modernity…unlike Western modernity.”

Another featured essay from the April/May 2012  issue of the JMMA is a fitting complement to  the journal’s endorsement of the global Islamic supremacist agenda. This essay endorses the so-called “innovative” application of the  “Jurisprudence of Muslim Minorities,” living, for example, in the West, whose stated purpose is, “enforcement of shari’ah on the Muslim communities.” However, by the essay’s own expressed standard: “The theory of the Jurisprudence of Muslim Minorities is most easily clarified by shedding light on its founders.”

The two founders of this legal doctrine, as the essay  notes, are Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Qatar, and Taha Jabir al-Alwani of Virginia, USA. Qaradawi has publicly advocated:

  • The re-creation of a formal transnational United Islamic State (Islamic Caliphate)
  • The jihad conquests of Europe, and the Americas
  • Universal application of the Sharia, including Islamic blasphemy law, and the hadd punishments (for example, notably, executing so-called “apostates” from Islam)

Al-Alwani, writing as president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think tank created by the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1980s, stated, regarding a (then) new English translation of the classic Shafiite manual of Islamic jurisprudence Reliance of the Traveller,  “from a purely academic point of view, this translation is superior to anything produced by orientalists in the way of translations of major Islamic works.” Notwithstanding al-Alwani’s glowing tribute,  Reliance of the Traveller sanctions open-ended jihadism to subjugate the world to a totalitarian Islamic Caliphate; rejection of bedrock Western liberties-including freedom of conscience and speech-enforced by imprisonment, beating, or death; discriminatory relegation of non-Muslims to outcast, vulnerable pariahs, and even Muslim women to subservient chattel (who must be segregated and undergo female genital mutilation); and barbaric punishments which violate human dignity, such as amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and lashing for alcohol consumption. Moreover, Al-Alwani wished Islamized Spain had conquered America and spread Islam in our hemisphere, not Christianity. He stated,  “Perhaps some of them [Muslims from Spain] would have been the ones who discovered America, not someone else, and America could have possibly been today among the lands of the Muslims”

Al-Alwani was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against Sami Al-Arian who pled guilty to conspiracy to aid the terrorist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In addition, al-Alwani published an essay online, discovered (and translated from Arabic to English) in July 2011, entitled “The Great Haughtiness”, which promoted conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred replete with Koranic references, conjoined to modern “Zionist conspiracies”

The Abedin family “academic” journal is a thinly veiled mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sharia-supremacist agenda.

But now the ultimate “unmentionable” omitted by both McCarthy and West in their fine expositions. Bernard Lewis’ apologetic tendencies must have been attractive to the Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi Wahhabi front Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, and its pseudo-academic Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA). Regardless of whether Lewis was a willing dupe, or not, he served on the editorial board of the JMMA for some 14 years, from 1996 to 2010, thus overlapping with Nasseef for 7-years (like Huma), and Huma herself for 12-years. This revelation should be pondered in conjunction with a very lengthy WSJ analysis-a Bernard Lewis pom-pom section if there ever was one-by Peter Waldman, circa February, 2004  (“A Historian’s Take on Islam Steers U.S. in Terrorism Fight  Bernard Lewis’s Blueprint — Sowing Arab Democracy — Is Facing a Test in Iraq Peter Waldman /Wall Street Journal, Feb 3, 2004). The WSJ investigative essay stands as confirmation of Lewis’s profound influence in shaping the “Islamic democracy agenda,” no matter what Lewis has done to disingenuously reinvent  his role in the Iraq invasion and larger “Islamic democratization” efforts (as in this April, 2012 interview), including his support the removal of  the “cunning autocrat” Hosni Mubarak.

These critical limitations of Bernard Lewis’ judgment have implications which must be recognized by all those for whom Lewis remains an iconic source of information, and advice, especially policy advice.


Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at

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