See also: Huma Abedin Hassan Abedin Saleha Abedin
Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs
Syed Abedin, best known as the father of Hillary Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin, was born in 1928 in New Delhi, India. In the early 1970s he was a professor of general studies at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. During that same time period, Abedin was affiliated with the Muslim Students Association at Western Michigan University (WMU).
In a 1971 interview titled “The World of Islam,” which was first broadcast on Western Michigan University television, Abedin stated that Islamic hostility toward the West was largely a form of backlash against Western intervention in the Arab world. “The response to the West has been of two kinds,” Abedin said. “By and large the response has taken more of a hostile form.... The first impulse of the average Muslim in the Islamic world is that this kind of borrowing [culturally] would be somehow an alien factor into our social fabric and thereby destroying the integrity of our ethos … the integrity of our culture.”
In a discussion regarding the proper role of the state in people's personal lives, Abedin told the WMU interviewer that it was necessary for government to strictly enforce the application of Sharia law. “The state has to take over,” he said. “The state is stepping in in many countries … where the state is now overseeing that human relationships are carried on on the basis of Islam. The state also under Islam has a right to interfere in some of these rights given to the individual by the Sharia.”
In the same 1971 interview, Abedin discussed the origin of Muslim resistance to Western ideas. “In the contemporary Islamic world,” he said, “religious leadership is of very crucial significance because any change that will be abiding, that will make any positive contribution to the development of Muslim life, must come from that source, and that is one reason why ideologies like socialism or communism that have been introduced into the Muslim world have never really taken root. They have always been considered as foreign importations.... It’s a kind of suspicion.” “The main dynamics of life in the Islamic world are still supplied by Islam,” Abedin elaborated. “Any institution,… any concept, any idea, in order to be accepted and become a viable thing in the Islamic world, has to come through … Islam.”
Syed Abedin's wife, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is a sociologist known for her strong advocacy of Sharia law. A member of the Muslim Sisterhood (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood's division for women), Saleha is also a board member of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief, a pro-Hamas entity that is part of the Union of Good.
In 1976, Syed and Saleha Abedin gave birth to a daughter, Huma Abedin, who since the 1990s has been best known as a close aide to Hillary Clinton. The couple also had a son, Hassan Abedin, and another daughter, Heba Abedin.
In 1978 the Abedin family relocated from Michigan to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This move took place when Abdullah Omar Naseef, a major Muslim Brotherhood figure who served as vice president of Abdulaziz University (AU), recruited Syed Abedin, his former AU colleague, to work for the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), a Saudi-based Islamic think tank that Naseef was preparing to launch. A number of years later, Naseef would develop close ties to Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group al Qaeda. Naseef also spent time (1983-93) as secretary-general of the Muslim World League, and in 1988 he created the Rabita Trust, which in 2001 was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity by the U.S. government.
IMMA's “Muslim Minority Affairs” agenda was, and remains to this day, a calculated foreign policy of the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, designed, as former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy explains, “to grow an unassimilated, aggressive population of Islamic supremacists who will gradually but dramatically alter the character of the West.” For details about this agenda, click here.
Syed and Saleha Abedin served together as editorial-board members of IMMA's in-house publication, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA). All three of their children -- Huma, Hassan, and Heda Abedin -- later worked there as assistant editors. In the inaugural edition of the JMMA, Syed Abedin expressed his “deep appreciation” to the aforementioned Abdullah Omar Naseef, referring to him as “His Eminence.”
Syed Abedin died in 1993.