Popular Muslim civil rights leader Hassan Shibly was recently accused of infidelity, sexual harassment, and bullying. The 34-year-old man was unaccustomed to the public lens until his estranged wife, Imane Sadrati, decided to turn to the public for help. She posted to a GoFundMe begging for support after Shibly allegedly cut off financial payments. They have three children together. The spectacle has reminded activists that even their own groups are not immune to this terrible behavior.
Sadrati said in the video, “For years, I’ve been in an abusive relationship, and the situation at home has become unbearable. I finally decided to build the courage to start over for my children and I.”
Only fifteen days after the video was posted, Shibly put in his resignation. He subsequently denied his wife’s allegations, which included vivid descriptions of the abuse for which he was accused. Sadrati said that he had twisted her arm, slapped her, and pushed her up against a wall.
As with most cases during which a man is accused of this type of behavior, more women came forward to make similar allegations. Some of these individuals said that he had abused them both emotionally and sexually in and out of the workplace — CAIR’s national office.
One of these women, Laila Abdelaziz, said she resigned because of Shibly’s sexual harassment. According to her accounts, CAIR already knew about the situation but has done little to prevent it from happening again. She believes the inaction stemmed from anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric and how the situation could be perceived by the public.
Abdelaziz commented, “When your community is being attacked and diminished and demeaned every single day, it’s difficult to invite even more of that.”
CAIR is perhaps the largest Muslim civil rights organization operating in the United States, composed of 33 chapters who manage operations independently of one another.
Yale University anthropologist Zareena Grewal said, “There is a certain brand recognizability. Muslims do turn to them in crisis.”