The Letter to De Blasio
In November of 2017, Tawhidi found himself once again in the limelight when he released a letter he allegedly sent Mayor de Blasio in February of 2016 warning of extremist threats in New York City. On October 31, 2017, eight people were killed when a terrorist, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, mowed down innocent pedestrians on the streets of New York. On November 2, 2017, Daily Mail published an article where Tawhidi stated “I truly believe we could have prevented the terror attack in New York if the mayor gave me just ten minutes of his time.” Tawhidi was referring to letters he allegedly sent Mayor de Blasio in February of 2016 warning de Blasio of extremist threats and radicalization that was occurring in New York. He attempted to embarrass the New York City mayor, who we certainly are not fans of for multiple reasons, whose press secretary, Eric Phillips, stated via Twitter that their office had never received the letter. With some obvious discrepancies found within the letter, and given Tawhidi’s less than flawless record where honesty and consistency are concerned, we decided to take a deeper look to see if we could determine who was being honest.
It becomes increasingly obvious that the entire episode was concocted by Imam Tawhidi to get media attention, as evident by the following details.
It was immediately evident that the letterhead Tawhidi alleges to have sent the letter on does not match the letterhead Tawhidi was using before, during, and after February 9, 2016. What’s even stranger is that the letterhead Tawhidi alleges to have sent the letter on did not emerge until 2017 when Tawhidi changed his domain from Tawhidi.com to ImamTawhidi.com, rebranded his website, and eventually changed the name of his organization from “the Islamic Association of South Australia” to “the Imam Tawhidi Foundation.” A Facebook post made in July of 2016 shows the logos Tawhidi was using at the time, and the logo found on the alleged letter is not one of them.
Another anomaly found in the letter is in the postal code of Tawhidi’s office location found in the lower left corner of the letter. While Tawhidi typically abstained from including details of his address on letters he sent around that time, the February 9 letter to de Blasio indicates Tawhidi is located in Adelaide, SA, 5000. According to the Australian Business Registry, Tawhidi’s organization was not located in 5000 until August of 2017, roughly around the same time Tawhidi rebranded his organization and adopted his current letterhead.
While analyzing Tawhidi’s letterhead may seem like splitting hairs, there is also an issue with the content of Tawhidi’s alleged February 2016 letter to de Blasio. In his letter, Tawhidi writes “I have spent the past two weeks in New York, both meeting and working with Muslims in the community and its leaders.” Tawhidi’s social network posts suggest this claim is not accurate. Tawhidi was in Indonesia establishing a Shirazi hawza through 2015, before returning to Australia to establish another Shirazi hawza in Adelaide. Tawhidi was meeting with community leaders, but not in New York, rather in Australia, where they discussed the teachings of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi that were being implemented in the Adelaide Islamic seminaries, according to a press release issued by the office of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi. Tawhidi made several Facebook posts of himself in Indonesia, one of himself teaching lessons at the newly established hawza on January 5, 2016. Tawhidi is also pictured in Australia on February 4th and 8th, 2016, then again at the Zainibiyah Hawza of Australia’s opening ceremony on February 13, 2016.
Perhaps the most absurd part about the alleged letter is the fact that Tawhidi is requesting a meeting, yet failed to provide any contact information for himself, as pointed out by de Blasio’s press secretary, who indicated de Blasio’s office never received a letter from Tawhidi. The only information the letter contained was an inaccurate postal code and an email address that we cannot find a record of Tawhidi using prior to 2017.
Tawhidi released a second letter to de Blasio that he represented as a “follow up” to the first letter he allegedly sent, however, this “follow up” makes zero references to the first letter he was following up on. Contrarily, the content of the “follow up” is introductory. Tawhidi indicates he would like to set up a meeting, but not to discuss radicalization occurring in New York mosques, rather Tawhidi wishes to discuss his own business agenda. His name is inconsistent, his position is inconsistent, and the company he’s claiming to represent is inconsistent between the two letters. To refer to the second letter as a “follow up” is an insult to anyone who is literate. While looking at Tawhidi’s different signature blocks, note that in the first letter, Tawhidi referred to himself as the director of an organization that, as of February 9, 2016, had not yet been established.
In the future, we hope that Tawhidi will send critical letters containing potentially life-saving information via a channel where he can confirm receipt of the message. More importantly, we would encourage Tawhidi to engage the appropriate parties, such as the FBI, rather than sending an uncertified letter to a town politician halfway around the globe. In the unlikely instance that Tawhidi actually sent the letter as he claims, issuing an attention-seeking, post-mortem “I told you so” is grossly negligent, inappropriate, and disrespectful to the victims and their families.