Major Ali Iyad Yakub, an attorney and Marine veteran who goes by the nickname “Yado,” is married to CBS News’ Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan.
Yakub and Brennan first met at the University of Virginia in 1998. But they didn’t become a couple until 2013 after they both had moved to Washington, D.C. for their respective careers. Yakub popped the question during a trip to their alma mater. They got married in 2015 and are the parents of a young son named Eamon.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Yakub & Brennan Met in College in 1998 But Sparks Did Not Fly Until 2013
Brennan said around the time of their wedding that it was all about timing. She met Yakub at the University of Virginia when she was a freshman and he was a senior. She thought he partied too much. Yakub told the New York Times that while he thought Brennan was attractive, he also thought she was too conservative and serious. He described her as being “very Connecticut.”
Years later, the two reconnected after both had moved to Washington, D.C. They ran into each other by chance while Brennan was walking her dog in February of 2013. Yakub invited her to his housewarming party. That led to several weeks of emailing and dinner dates. Yakub told the Washington Post, “When she let her guard down, I liked what I saw. I like the fact that she’s down to earth.” Brennan was equally surprised to learn a different side of Yakub, one she had not known in college.
They got married in April of 2015.
2. Yakub & Brennan’s Son’s Name, Eamon, Pays Tribute to Both of Their Backgrounds
Yakub is Syrian-American while Brennan’s family has Irish roots. It was important to them to honor both of their backgrounds when choosing a name for their son. Eamon Brennan Yakub was born on September 11, 2018, at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. Brennan had announced she was pregnant earlier in the year during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Brennan and Yakub explained to CBS News that the name “Eamon” is significant in both Irish and Syrian culture. The name means “guardian” in Irish and “righteous” in Arabic. Brennan said they picked the name during a trip to Ireland.
When the new parents brought Eamon home from the hospital, Brennan said she was also excited to introduce him to their dog, Callie. A few days before Eamon was born, Brennan posted a photo of Callie to Instagram with the caption, “Happy 3rd birthday to our Callie! She’ll soon be a big sister to a little human & we’re not quite sure how she feels about it.”
3. Yado Yakub Is the Son of a Doctor & a Teacher; His Sister Was Brennan’s Roommate When She Studied Abroad in Jordan
Yakub was born on July 23, 1977. His father, Dr. Y. Nabil Yakub, is a nephrologist, which means he specializes in treating kidney problems. He works at Inova Fairfax Hospital and has more than 50 years of medical experience. According to his hospital profile, Dr. Yakub studied at the American University of Beirut and completed his fellowship at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Yakub’s mother, Rolana, taught preschool in McLean, Virginia, the New York Times reported.
Yakub’s younger sister, Samia, is close friends with his wife. Samia and Brennan both studied abroad in Jordan during the summer of 2000 and were roommates, the Washington Post reported. After Brennan moved to Washington, D.C., she reconnected with Samia, who told her that her brother had become a lawyer and a Marine.
4. Yakub Earned His Law Degree From the University of Miami; He Wrote a Dissertation About Democracy & Islam
Yakub earned his law degree from the University of Miami. According to Avvo, a website that lists attorneys in each state, Yakub earned his legal license in the state of Florida in 2004. That license has since expired.
Yakub wrote a dissertation titled “The Islamic Roots Of Democracy.” It was published in 2005 by the University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review. In the paper, Yakub lays out an argument for why the principles of Islam support democratic ideals.
“Muslim jurists generally agree that the Qur’an does not specify a particular form of government. It does, however, identify essential norms to be promoted in an Islamic state: the pursuit of justice through social cooperation and mutual assistance; the establishment of a nonautocratic, consultative method of governance; and the institutionalization of mercy and compassion in social interactions.
While Americans may not equate the typical Muslim scholar with such liberal political thinkers as Madison or Jefferson, the issue of reform strikes a chord with a number of important jurists in the Muslim world. One such jurist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, issued a religious opinion (fatwa) in response to those who argue democracy is unIslamic. He argued that democracy empowers the community by giving people the right to choose their leaders without compulsion, to question them when they err, and to depose them when they fail to uphold their duties to those they govern, ideas that are all consistent with the tenets of Islam.”
You can read the 35-page piece in its entirety here.
5. Yakub Worked as a Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps at the Pentagon
Yakub is a Major in the United States Marine Corps. Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2012, he had been stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, as explained in he and Brennan’s wedding announcement. The base is located in Twentynine Palms, a city in San Bernardino County in California.
Yakub moved to Washington, D.C. for a congressional fellowship. He went on to work at the Pentagon. According to his LinkedIn profile, Yakub served as a judge advocate for the Marine Corps beginning in January 2007. The recruiting website explains that it is a grueling process to become a Judge Advocate:
“To practice law as a Marine Officer is a distinction reserved for the Few who have what it takes, mentally, morally and physically, to become a leader of Marines. Prior to becoming a Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyer you must graduate from law school, complete Officer Candidates School and follow on officer training at The Basic School… By completing your training, you will prove to yourself and to our Corps that you have what it takes to win as a Marine Officer and Judge Advocate alongside the world’s greatest warriors.”
It was unclear whether Yakub was still serving as a judge advocate as of this writing. According to his LinkedIn profile, Yakub started working for software company SAS in September 2019 as its Senior Strategic Advisor for Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His role at the Pentagon did not include an end date.