Muslim man probed for posing as US spy, Hasidic Jew to marry Brooklyn girl: report

Asia's Tech News Daily

FBI investigations, lebanon, muslim, orthodox judaism, scams, weddings

Ali Hassan Hawila claimed to be a US spy to hide his true identity.

A Lebanese-born Muslim man was reportedly investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security after posing as a Hasidic Jew to marry a Brooklyn girl — while claiming to be a US spy to protect his wild ruse.

“Eliyah” Hawila, 23, recently wed a woman only identified as Sally in a lavish ceremony thrown by the bride’s family in Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community, according to The Times of Israel.

The nuptials featured stretch limos and even helicopters — but none of the groom’s family, according to a video he provided to Israel’s state-run Kan TV.

Within weeks, the bride’s suspicious father discovered Hawila’s real identity — Ali Hassan Hawila, a member of a Shiite family from southern Lebanon, a stronghold of the terror group Hezbollah, The Times of Israel noted.

“Her father began Googling my last name until he reaches my father, who tells him stuff about me, that: ‘No, he’s not Jewish, he’s not this, he’s not that,’” Hawila admitted in his interview with Kan TV.

Hawila said he had already lied to his bride — whom he met on a Jewish dating site — that he was a US spy for the National Security Agency after she saw his true identity on papers.

“I had to make something up, so I told her, you know what, this is an NSA ID, that I’m on a mission, things like that. I just made something up,” he told the paper.

FBI investigations, lebanon, muslim, orthodox judaism, scams, weddings

Ali Hassan “Eliyah” Hawila recently wed a woman only identified as Sally in a lavish ceremony thrown by the bride’s family in Brooklyn.

Provided

Confronted by his new parents-in-law, he repeated the same lie and “started making even more stuff up,” he told the TV station.

“I was panicking, and they took her away from me, they separated her away from me,” he said, at times sobbing over his apparent heartbreak.

His trickery meant the wedding was instantly annulled — and investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security over fears he was infiltrating the Jewish community for nefarious reasons, he admitted.

“When the FBI agent came to my place, I said: ‘Sir, I give you my permission to spy on all my phone calls, I am not affiliated with anybody,’” he told Kan TV.

There has been no suggestion that the investigation found anything untoward beyond Hawila’s confession about lying, the reports noted.

FBI investigations, lebanon, muslim, orthodox judaism, scams, weddings

Ali Hassan Hawila is actually a member of a Shiite family from southern Lebanon.

KANN

Instead, he insisted it was the end result of a year-long fascination with the Jewish faith that he said even saw him making his own kippa out of cardboard and cloth as a young boy in Lebanon.

“I had no connection to Islam … This is what I belong to, this is how I feel connected,” he insisted of his fake Jewish persona.

“I started coming out to people, and saying ‘I’m Jewish.’ People started spitting on me in the streets, I started getting death threats, people would call me a ‘Jew, a Jewish Dog,’” he said.

Hawila’s family moved to Texas in September 2015, and he initially tried to formally convert, he said.

“When I got rejected, I started just saying I’m Jewish,” he recalled.

FBI investigations, lebanon, muslim, orthodox judaism, scams, weddings

Ali Hassan Hawila is being investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security over fears he was infiltrating the Jewish community for nefarious reasons.

“My name is Eliyah, and this is the name I chose for myself because I love the story of the prophet Elijah,” he said.

He also became a frequent attendee at the local Chabad synagogue and was active in Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, he said.

Hawila told Kan that he was finally speaking out because “I can’t lie about anything anymore.”

“My lying is not justified, but at the same time, I lied because I was in pain, but I want to correct my mistake. I want them to understand where my pain is coming from,” he said.

The bride — who was reportedly moved to a safe house during the investigation — has refused to give interviews, The Times of Israel said.

FBI investigations, lebanon, muslim, orthodox judaism, scams, weddings

Ali Hassan Hawila insists he “had no connection to Islam … [Judaism] is what I belong to.”

Heartbroken Hawila is hoping there’s a path forward for the couple.

“If she wants to give me a second chance, she can give me a second chance,” he told Kan TV.

“If she doesn’t want to, I still can’t blame her. But I want her to know she is the love of my life,” he said.

Even if she does, her Orthodox community’s rules will forbid her from marrying a convert, the paper noted.

Hawila wants another kind of second chance, too, saying, “I just want to convert and I want to live a Jewish life.”

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