White House appointment has links to Muslim Brotherhood


By Mark Ellis

Zaki Barzinji
Zaki Barzinji

The Obama Administration appointed a new liaison to the Muslim-American community who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood is labeled a terrorist organization by six countries, but not the United States.

The official hired by the White House, Zaki Barzinji, 27, is the former president of the Muslim Youth of North America, which is the youth wing of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), according to The Clarion Project.

The ISNA is a Muslim Brotherhood entity that was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-financing trial.

Barzinji is also the grandson of a Muslim Brotherhood terror suspect, Jamal Barzinji, who died last year.

“Jamal Barzinji was a founder and/or senior official in virtually every group identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front in America. He also frequently donated to political campaigns. He was nearly prosecuted, but the Obama Justice Department dropped the planned indictment,” noted Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst with The Clarion Project.

Jamal Barzinji
Jamal Barzinji

The younger Barzinji accepted an award on his grandfather’s behalf in 2013 at a mosque in Virginia known for having Al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki as its imam in 2001.

Before his White House appointment, Barzinji served as the deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

McAuliffe was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He is currently under investigation by the FBI for campaign contributions.

The Muslim Brotherhood in this country has held lobbying and fundraising events in several U.S. cities featuring top Brotherhood personalities, according to research by Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy.

“One of those personalities is Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Ramadan was allowed into the United States in January 2010 at the direction of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose longtime aide, Huma Abedin, also has extensive personal and family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gaffney notes.

ISNA’s links to the Brotherhood and Hamas are laid out in bipartisan legislation titled the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. The bill now has over 75 supporters in the House and Senate.

Mauro wonders how Zaki Barzinji rose through the ranks of ISNA and McAuliffe’s office to the White House. “Keep…the investigation into McAuliffe’s political contributions in mind when you consider how Zaki Barzinji apparently rose to his new position with some help from his grandfather’s political connections.”

In 2011, his grandfather’s organization donated $10,000 to the New Dominion PAC, which has strong Democratic party ties in the state, particularly as a donor to current Senator Tim Kaine, who spoke at a New Dominion PAC event honoring Jamal Barzinji in 2011, according to The Clarion Project.

The Barzini/IIIT-linked PAC raised $15,000 for McAuliffe’s campaign two years later on September 29, 2013.

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

“Is it really wise to have the grandson of a Muslim Brotherhood terror suspect, who served as the head of the youth wing of an identified Muslim Brotherhood identity with Hamas links, as the White House’s liaison to the Muslim-American community?” Mauro asks.

“What role did the political ties and donations of his Islamist grandfather and IIIT play in his remarkably fast rise through state politics and to the White House?”


Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on television and radio.