Mahdi Bray

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Wright Mahdi Bray
Mahdi Bray.JPG
Mahdi Bray
Born Wright Bray
1950 (age 63–64)
Other names Wrighty Bray, Jr.;
Wright Bray IV;
Herbert Bray[1]
Ethnicity Black
Occupation Executive Director
Employer Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Religion Islam
Website
Bray blog

Wright Mahdi Bray (born "Wright Bray" in 1950), a Black American convert to Islam, is a civil and human rights activist who serves as Executive Director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom) based in Washington, DC.[2] The foundation supports Muslim activists and religious leaders who have been arrested.[3]

Political activism[edit]

Bray formerly was political director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).[4][5]

Bray has expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah on a number of occasions.[6] A video of a rally in 2000 shows Bray pumping his fist in the air in support of the groups Hamas and Hezbollah.[7] He asserts, however, that he is not a supporter of Hamas.

In 2001 Bray served as a liaison with United States President George W. Bush's White House Faith-Based Initiative Program, which he later opposed.[4][8][9] After the September 11 attacks, he and other Muslim leaders met with then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.[10] He also served as a congressional affairs representative on behalf of the Muslim community.[2]

In September 2003 he referred to the arrest of Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, the founder of the American Muslim Council, as a "witch hunt", and said:

"This administration's war on terrorism is actually a war on the Muslim community and the civil liberties of all Americans. Our leadership, organizations, charities, and places of worship are being targeted by the Department of Justice, who scapegoat Muslims by exploiting their political vulnerability. This is political opportunism at its worst, and the Muslim community is paying a horrific price."[11]

Al-Amoudi pled guilty to financial and conspiracy charges in 2004, which resulted in a 23-year prison sentence.[12]

In October 2003 in testimony before the US Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, Dr. J. Michael Walker, Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics, indicated that Bray was the contact for the National Islamic Prison Foundation, which was "specifically organized to convert inmates to Wahhabism".[13][14]

In December 2004, Bray said that Sami Amin Al-Arian, a former professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida, was innocent of the charges against him, and “Indeed, proving Dr. Al-Arian’s innocence will be a victory for the entire community."[15] In 2006 Al-Arian made a plea agreement, pleading guilty to conspiracy to help a "specially designated terrorist" organization, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and was sentenced to 57 months in prison.[16]

When Ali al-Timimi was found guilty in April 2005 in U.S. District Court on charges that he incited terrorism in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network by encouraging followers to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops, Bray said the conviction "bodes ill" for the First Amendment. "What he said was perhaps repugnant and inflammatory, but was it really his intent to have people go and take his words and translate that into going and killing other human beings, specifically Americans?" Bray asked.[17] Al-Timimi was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In a May 2005 column in the Weekly Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross wrote about his May 14, 2005, debate with Bray on PAX-TV's Faith Under Fire program. He noted that a Chicago Tribune article had detailed how the fundamentalist Islamist Muslim Brotherhood operates in the US through MAS, and that MAS wants to see the US governed by sharia law. He noted that MAS, "except in its most public of statements", was open about its agenda. He argued that while Bray "tries to portray MAS as an organization that embraces these shared [liberal democratic] values, the group simultaneously teaches its members that all government should become Islamic and that non-Islamic judicial systems should be boycotted."[18]

In July 2005, after the London bombings that killed 52 people, Bray said: "Let me say to the terrorists very clearly, that you will have no comfort in our community. Our community offers you no harbor. Our message is clear, you do no service to Islam, you do a great disservice to Islam and for the love of God, stop this madness."[19]

When the Philadelphia Inquirer published some of the cartoons of Mohammed in the 2005 Mohammed cartoons controversy, Bray said: "This has nothing to do with free speech; its pure sensationalism that reeks of religious disrespect. What the Philadelphia Inquirer has done is irresponsible, provocative, and reckless."[20]

Mahdi Bray
at 2006 peace protest.

When in November 2006, two imams from Boston-area mosques were arrested and charged with being involved in a scheme that secured religious worker visas for immigrants who instead got secular jobs, Bray said: "If this was [sic] clerics who were anything other than Muslims, would they have had to face this?"[21]

After the September 2007 resignation of Dr. Esam Omeish from a Virginia Commission on Immigration, after it was revealed that he had publicly endorsed "the jihad way" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bray said "What's the big news? Everybody knows Muslims feel passionately about the Palestinian issue. What in the world is wrong about talking about the invasion of Lebanon or the plight of the Palestinian people?"[22]

Bray served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Alliance and the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, and is a National Co-convener of Religions for Peace-USA. He is a Washington, DC, television and radio talk show host, and has appeared on CBS News, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Aljazeera, and many TV and radio talk shows.[2] Bray also organized protests against the U.S. war in Afghanistan,[23] the Iraq war, and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.[24][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. v. Wright Bray, Indictment, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 8, 1987, accessed December 11, 2009
  2. ^ a b c Official Biography at Muslim American Society website, April 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners, p. 830, Matt Meyer, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Lynne Stewart, Ashanti Alston, PM Press, 2008, ISBN 1-60486-035-9, ISBN 978-1-60486-035-1, accessed December 11, 2009
  4. ^ a b MPAC Hosts White House Office and National Interfaith Leaders, Muslim-American Activism section of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July, 2001, page 82.
  5. ^ Delinda C. Hanley, Freeze on Jewish Defense League Assets Called for After JDL Bomb Plot Foiled, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2002, page 16.
  6. ^ They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, p. 99, Brigitte Gabriel, Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 0-312-38363-0, ISBN 978-0-312-38363-3, accessed December 11, 2009
  7. ^ "Obama concedes mistake over Muslim outreach meeting", MSNBC, October 9, 2008, accessed December 11, 2009
  8. ^ Muslims talk to DiIulio, Christian Century, August 1, 2001.
  9. ^ Renowned Religious Leaders to Call for Dismantling of White House Faith Based Office, Interfaith Alliance Press release, April 25, 2006.
  10. ^ Terry Frieden, Ashcroft meets with Muslim, Arab leaders, CNN, October 16, 2001.
  11. ^ "ALERT: Government "Witch Hunt" Continues With Arrest of Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi", Muslim American Society, September 29, 2003, accessed December 11, 2009
  12. ^ 28 Fall from grace, Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 October - 3 November 2004 Issue No. 714.
  13. ^ Because they hate: a survivor of Islamic terror warns America, p. 142, Brigitte Gabriel, Macmillan, 2006, ISBN 0-312-35837-7, ISBN 978-0-312-35837-2, accessed December 11, 2009
  14. ^ Muslim minorities in modern states: the challenge of assimilation, p. 115, Raphael Israeli, Transaction Publishers, 2009, ISBN 1-4128-0875-8, ISBN 978-1-4128-0875-0, accessed December 11, 2009
  15. ^ "Dr. Sami Al-Arian’s Case: Update," Muslim American Society, December 20, 2004, accessed December 11, 2009
  16. ^ MegLaughlin, In his plea deal, what did Sami Al-Arian admit to?, St. Petersberg Times, April 23, 2006.
  17. ^ Dwyer, Timothy, "Prosecution Called 'Overzealous'Guilty Verdict in Terror Case Angers Muslims Who Know Lecturer", Washington Post, April 26, 2005, accessed December 11, 2009
  18. ^ Gartenstein Ross, Daveed"MAS's Muslim Brotherhood Problem; Does Muslim American Society Want An Islamic Government In U.S.?", Weekly Standard, May 29, 2005, accessed December 11, 2009
  19. ^ "US Muslim group calls for end to terror 'madness'," Forbes, July 25, 2005, accessed December 11, 2009
  20. ^ You decide: controversial cases in American politics, p. 87, Edward R. Drachman, Robert Langran, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, ISBN 0-7425-3805-2, ISBN 978-0-7425-3805-4, accessed December 11, 2009
  21. ^ "Boston Imams Accused Of Participating In Visa Scheme; Men Released After Bail Hearing," WCBV-TV Boston, November 21, 2006, accessed December 11, 2009
  22. ^ "Muslim Appointee To Virginia Immigration Panel Resigns", ABC News, September 28, 2007, accessed December 11, 2009
  23. ^ Religion and Ethics Episode no. 509, Public Broadcasting Service, November 2, 2001.
  24. ^ Activists Arrested Outside White House Protesting Bush-Sharon Meeting, Muslim American Society website, April 15, 2004.
  25. ^ Petula Dvorak, Protest to Encircle White House, Opponents of 'U.S.-Israeli War' Plan Large Rally Tomorrow, Washington Post, August 11, 2006.

External links[edit]