“What is the Truth About American Muslims: Questions and Answers is a resource created jointly by Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project. In a time when misinformation about and misunderstandings of Islam and of the American Muslim community are widespread, our goal is to provide the public with accurate answers to understandable questions. The resource reflects widely-shared views among American Muslims on important topics such as sharia, jihad, the role of mosques and the relationship between religious and civil legal codes. In producing and disseminating this resource, we seek to uphold our shared commitment to religious freedom and contribute to a climate of understanding and mutual respect among Americans of all faiths and none.The document was endorsed by a variety of Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Sikh and left-leaning NGO’s such as the Southern Poverty Law Center but most notably, the only Islamic groups included were Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) all part of or close to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
Space does not allow for a complete analysis of all the deception contained within this document. However, notable example include the following description of Muslim immigration to the U.S. starting in 1965:
After passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, greater numbers of Muslims began migrating to America along with many other immigrants with diverse backgrounds. The change in immigration laws allowed highly-skilled professionals to enter the U.S. Many Muslims who came during this time period were from the Middle East and South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh).The report fails to note that as documented in a Hudson Institute report, the Muslim immigration at that time included large numbers of students and professionals who were affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood movements in their respective home countries and who went on to found to found organizations such as the Muslim Student Association (MSA) which became the nucleus for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. today.
The answers to the following questions are also deceptive:
10. Is Islam a political movement?While this answer may be characteristic of U.S. Muslims as individuals, the groups endorsing the document are core components of what can be described as “political Islam” at the root of which is the notion that Islam should guide all parts of an individuals life including politics.
No. Islam is a religious tradition, and adherents to Islam are called Muslim. Of course, American Muslims like Americans from other religious groups, participate in American political life. American Muslim voting patterns generally mirror the broader American population. American Muslims are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, liberals, and conservatives. There is no one political platform or agenda for those who practice the religion of Islam in the United States.
11. Have American Muslim leaders spoken out against extremist violence?In fact, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and the fatwa in question has been criticized for it’s lack of specificity about individuals and organizations, the vagueness of it’s definition of terrorism, it’s lack of theological justification, and the weakness of the implied penalties. It should also be noted that over the years, both ISNA and FCNA, the leaders of both organizations as well as the entire U.S. Muslim Brotherhood have been involved with various forms of support for Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization.
Yes. Many American Muslim leaders and organizations have repeatedly denounced extremist violence in the strongest possible terms.
Of the many statements and actions taken by American Muslims to condemn and counter terrorism, the fatwa (religious ruling) from the Fiqh Council of North America (an Islamic juristic body) captures the views of the vast majority of American Muslims:
14. What does “jihad” mean? Isn’t it a “holy war?”In fact, this explanation of Jihad is part of the larger strategy of Brotherhood positions on terrorism discussed fully in a previous post. As that post explained:
“Jihad” literally means striving, or doing one’s utmost. Within Islam, there are two basic theological understandings of the word: The “Greater Jihad,” is the struggle against the lower self – the struggle to purify one’s heart, do good, avoid evil, and make oneself a better person. The “Lesser Jihad” is an outward struggle. Jihad constitutes a moral principle to struggle against any obstacle that stands in the way of the good. Bearing, delivering, and raising a child, for example, is an example of outward jihad, because of the many obstacles that must be overcome to deliver and raise the child successfully. Jihad may also involve fighting against oppressors and aggressors who commit injustice. It is not “holy war” in the way a crusade would be considered a holy war, and while Islam allows and even encourages proselytizing, it forbids forced conversion. In Islamic tradition, the form of jihad that involves fighting requires specific ethical conditions under which it is permissible to fight, as well as clear rules of engagement such as the requirement to protect non-combatants. Scholars have likened Jihad as fighting to the Christian concept of “just war.” The variety of interpretations of Lesser Jihad or just war over 1400 years in many settings is a complex discussion. Much of the contemporary misuse of the term “jihad” may be dated to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when stateless actors began to claim the right to declare jihad. In Islamic tradition, there is no theological or political basis for this claim. Radical and extremist groups appropriate and misuse the term “jihad” to give a religious veneer to their violent political movements and tactics.
3. DEFENSE- Having staked out the positions that Islam is not violent and that Jihad is not connected with violence, the Brotherhood is left with the task of defending the violence carried out by Islamist groups. Since according to the Brotherhood these groups cannot, by definition, be motivated by Islamic ideology, there can be only one answer- they are fighting because of “legitimate grievances” and hence are “freedom fighters.” This defense of Islamist violence is mounted differently for Brotherhood-related groups such as Hamas as opposed to Al Qaeda. Because of the visible dispute over land, it is easy for the Brotherhood to suggest that the actions of Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas are based on such grievances whereas, in reality, the Brotherhood has managed to turn the conflict into a religious war. The most viable strategy for the Brotherhood in the West is to posit that the problem is “Occupation“, leaving it to the audience to figure out whether the reference is to 1967 or 1947. Given the sensitivity in the West towards terrorism at home, the Brotherhood has a far more difficult job explaining Al Qaeda terrorism which is does by suggesting that while nothing “justifies” such terrorism, Al Qaeda actions spring from justified anger at U.S. foreign policy. This strategy provides a natural interface” for the Brotherhood with the political far-left and, in Europe, the Brotherhood has been successful in forging such alliances.At the end of the document, the Islam Project is listed as one of the resources for learning more about American Muslims. Even a brief glance at one of the education modules developed by the Islam Project reveals that is a vehicle for introducing the Brotherhood’s deceptions, the case the concept of “Hirabah”, into the U.S. school curriculums.
Finally, the document states at one point that:
Islam commands all Muslims to speak the truth and conduct themselves honestly in personal, political, and professional relationships. In the Qur’an, God commands Muslims: “And do not mix the truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know [what it is] (2:42).”