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Mohammed (sometimes spelled "Mohammad") (born 1928 - dead 1999) Taki Mehdi, commonly M.T. Mehdi was an Iraqi-American in New York. He was highly visible in media circles for being one of the earliest pro-Palestinian activists in the United States, and garnered controversy for his often brash defense of the Palestinian cause. He held debates on television and radio with many supporters of Israel, including the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. He died of cardiac arrest at Bellevue Hospital in 1999.



Dr. M.T. Mehdi was born in Baghdad (then in the British Mandate of Mesopotamia) in 1928. He came the United States to study at the University of California at Berkeley to pursue a doctorate in Political Science. He sued, successfully, the New York City Board of Education to require it to display Islamic crescents along with Christian and Jewish symbols during the holiday season. Out of his three daughters, Anisa Mehdi is the most prominent as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

M.T. Mehdi was the secretary-general the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations at the time of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination by Sirhan Sirhan, and interviewed Sirhan several times during his inprisonment, at which time M.T. Mehdi was the president of the American-Arab Relations Committee, now called the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.



M.T. Mehdi was a leading pro-Palestinian activist in the United States, and his support of the Palestine Liberation Organization was an implicit endorsement of that group's terrorist activities. He was criticized for his support of Sirhan, a Palestinian, and Mehdi's numerous interviews with him, as well as his belief that Sirhan acted justifiably. [1] He wrote a 100-page book entitled "Kennedy and Sirhan: Why?" [2], and had said that he believed Sirhan had acted in justifiable self-defense, stating: "Sirhan was defending himself against those 50 Phantom jets Kennedy was sending to Israel." [1]

Further, after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, he gave counsel to the blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was later convicted and given a life sentence for his role in the attacks. The Anti-Defamation League, a leading American-Jewish activacy group, opined in Dr. Mehdi's obituary in the New York Times that he was "a lifelong Arab propagandist." [3]

He has also been criticized for his denouncing of Yasser Arafat, especially by those within the Muslim organizations. Regarding Arafat's red-carpet welcome from President Bill Clinton, M.T. Mehdi, then-president of the American Arab and Muslim Council, denounced Arafat as "... a pawn in the reelection bids of both Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres...", who visited the White House on April 30, 1996. "He is being as well-received as Peres because he is doing what Peres wants him to do," said Mehdi. "It's a charade." [4]


  • Kennedy and Sirhan: Why? (1968)
  • Peace in Palestine (1976)
  • Terrorism: Why America Is the Target! (1988)


  1. ^ a b Paul Kujawsky (May 29, 2008). "Palestinian terror stretches back to RFK". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2009-09-09.  
  2. ^ Mohammad Taki Mehdi (1968) (Illustrated Paperback ed.). New World Press. pp. 100. ISBN 0-911-02604-7.  
  3. ^ Eric Pace (February 25 1999). "M. T. Mehdi, 70, Arab-American Leader". The New York Times (obituary).  
  4. ^ Frank Lombardi (Thursday, May 2th 1996). "Arafat Portrayed as Hero or Zero". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-09-10.  

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