‘Building Power for Muslims in Politics’: The Push To Place Muslims In Elective Offices
Editor’s note: In this monograph, Robert Spencer reveals the disquieting agenda and goals of those who are working hard to get Muslims elected to political office at the national, state, and local level. He shows how this initiative is gaining ground despite the frank anti-Americanism of Ilhan Omar and others – or is it because of that anti-Americanism?
“Invest in building power for Muslims in politics,” is the invitation from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in a tweet on May 23, 2020, which features a photo of a smiling Salam al-Marayati, MPAC’s President and co-founder, with the notorious Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.). “We ensure that Muslim voices are heard by decision-makers in Washington, DC,” the tweet also says, “and we work diligently with policymakers like Rep. Adam Schiff to advocate for legislation that protects our communities.”
To those who are aware of Adam Schiff’s central role in the attempt to frame President Trump for an impeachable offense and railroad him out of office, MPAC’s upbeat declaration of civic engagement was hardly reassuring. Even more disturbing was the fact that the stated goal was not something to the effect of “Help Muslims begin to participate in the American political process,” much less anything such as “Encourage Muslims to assimilate and adopt American values,” but “invest in building power for Muslims in politics.”
Building power. It is not unreasonable to surmise from this language that MPAC, at very least, appears to be aiming toward establishing a Muslim bloc in American politics, one that will wield power and influence with its Muslim identity at the forefront, contending for candidates and policies that it deems to be in line with Islamic teachings and values.
While there are many organizations in the United States defending their own group’s interests, MPAC’s endeavor is different from the others in that Islamic law, Sharia, is authoritarian by nature, denying the freedom of speech, as well as aggressive, expansionist, and supremacist. In its classic formulations, Islamic law denies equality of rights to women and non-Muslims, and allows for a host of practices that are incompatible in numerous with American principles and customs; discussion of these issues, however, has been effectively silenced by charges of “Islamophobia” and “bigotry,” not least from al-Marayati and MPAC itself.
Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch asked pointed questions in November 2019, after another Islamic advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), sent out a press release celebrating the large number of Muslims who had just been elected to various offices. “One might wonder,” Corcoran wrote, “as I did here in 2007 why if refugees and Muslim migrants of all stripes were eager to assimilate did they need to place their people (representing their religion) into local, state and federal government? And, just imagine, I asked then, if we would blatantly say—we want Catholics, Jews, other Christians as our leaders—wouldn’t all hell break loose in the media? Yet, no one seems to care if CAIR says we are electing our people, Muslims, everywhere we can!”
Yet there is ample cause to be concerned about this. Not a few Muslim leaders in the United States have been quite clear about their long-term goals and intentions, including Omar Ahmad, CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board chairman, who once said in an unguarded moment: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
When confronted about these words, Ahmad vehemently denied saying them; however, the original reporter, Lisa Gardiner of the Fremont Argus, hardly a hardline “Islamophobe” with an axe to grind, stood by her story.
What’s more, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper once said: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”
Meanwhile, according to a captured internal document, the Muslim Brotherhood (to which all the major Muslim groups in the US, including CAIR, are linked) is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house….so that it falls, and Allah’s religion is victorious over other religions.”
Then there was the Washington, DC imam Abdul Alim Musa, who declared in 2007 that he wanted to “establish an Islamic State of America by 2050.”
Whether the drive to elect as many Muslim candidates to office as possible is part of the effort to make Islam “dominant” in the United States, or is rather a healthy manifestation of Muslim assimilation, it has been gathering steam in recent years. NPR reported in July 2018 that “a record number of Muslim Americans ran for statewide or national office this election cycle, the most since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, made Islam a political target for many, according to Muslim political groups. The Muslim civil rights group, Emgage, estimates that as many as 100 Muslims filed to run for elected office this year. Of those 100, about 50 Muslim-American candidates remain more than midway through the primary season…which is significantly higher than the dozen that ran in 2016.”
NPR claimed that this was because of “Islamophobia” and Donald Trump: “Many of the candidates say they were motivated by growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S., inspired by President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies. ‘I’m running for office because I felt a dire need to help the community,’ says Saima Farooqui, who, if elected, would be the first Muslim representative in the Florida statehouse [she lost]. ‘[Trump] has kind of ignited the minorities to be together and stand with each other and to make a difference.’” The Washington Post agreed, running a story with the headline “The blue Muslim wave: American Muslims launch political campaigns, hope to deliver ‘sweet justice’ to Trump.”
The Post and NPR were not alone. This unprecedented number of Muslim candidates received abundant and enthusiastic attention from the establishment media. The Associated Press announced happily in July 2019: “Record number of Muslim Americans make bids for elected office.” Despite the evidence to the contrary that was right before their faces in the very fact of these candidacies themselves, some media outlets still did their best to portray Muslims as the victims of widespread discrimination and harassment in the United States. The Seattle Times headline for AP’s story was “Muslims run for office in record numbers but the path is uphill.” Minnesota’s Star-Tribune headlined the same story: “Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash.” The article laments that “the path to victory can be tougher for a Muslim American. Some promising campaigns already have fizzled out while many more face strong anti-Muslim backlash.”
As an example of this backlash, the AP offered the claim that “in Michigan, Democrat candidate for governor Abdul El-Sayed continues to face unfounded claims from a GOP rival that he has ties to the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, even though Republican and Democratic politicians alike have denounced the accusations as ‘conspiracy theories.’”
However, it was not simply a “conspiracy theory” that, as the Christian Post reported, “while a student at the University of Michigan, El-Sayed was ‘an active member’ and vice-president of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) – a group founded mainly by members of the Muslim Brotherhood for the express purpose of spreading Wahhabist ideology — an austere form of Islam that insists on literal interpretation of the Quran and views those who disagree as enemies.
The MSA bills itself as a networking and support group for Muslim students. But according to terrorism expert Patrick Poole, the MSA ‘has been a virtual terror factory. Time after time after time again, we see these terrorists . . . MSA leaders, MSA presidents, MSA national presidents — who’ve been implicated, charged and convicted in terrorist plots.’”
Yet throughout El-Sayed’s unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, his campaign refused to address suspicions about his connections to the Muslim Brotherhood except to charge those raising concerns with “Islamophobia.”
In reality, there was abundant reason to be concerned about the priorities and even the loyalties of Muslim candidates, given the fact that mainstream Islamic teaching holds that one’s allegiance to Islam, and to the worldwide Islamic community (umma), transcends all other loyalties, including one’s loyalty to one’s nation. Whenever such concerns arose, they were buried under accusations of “Islamophobia,” and legitimate concerns were ignored.
The strange case of Ammar Campa-Najjar
Take, for example, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democratic candidate for a California Congressional seat. Campa-Najjar is not a Muslim at all, but a Christian; nevertheless, he has earned a place in these considerations with his questionable statements about his grandfather. In October 2018, Joel Pollack reported in Breitbart that Campa-Najjar “deleted an Instagram post in which he referred to his grandfather, Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar, as a ‘legend.’ Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar was ‘a senior member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September that murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics,’ according to the Times of Israel, and a deputy for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat.”
The Breitbart report added: “Earlier this year, when Campa-Najjar’s roots were first reported, he condemned his grandfather’s actions and supported peace. But in a 2015 Instagram post praising his father, who is a former Palestinian Authority (PA) official and Palestinian ambassador, Campa-Najjar referred to his grandfather as a ‘legend.’ He offered no criticism or condemnation of his grandfather’s terrorist acts. Breitbart News reported the existence of that Instagram post on Monday, as well as another in which he noted that his family was close to Yasser Arafat’s.”
What’s more, Campa-Najjar “received a campaign donation from a Palestinian ambassador; and donated campaign funds to a radical group, CAIR, while taking donations from CAIR officials. Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Campa-Najjar’s campaign made a ‘civic donation’ of $650.00 to CAIR in 2017, and that he had received nearly $9,000 from CAIR officials. Breitbart News had reached out to Campa-Najjar’s campaign Tuesday to ask about his appearance on the ‘top ten’ list of political candidates who had received contributions from ‘Islamist’ sources, as compiled by the Middle East Forum’s ‘Islamist Money in Politics’ (IMIP) project. (Campa-Najjar himself is a Christian, of mixed Palestinian and Mexican-American origin.)”
The money from CAIR is a matter of grave concern. Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, two officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) (which was listed as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s allied organizations in the 1991 memorandum), founded this Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood group in 1994. The federal government shut down the IAP in 2005 as a Hamas front.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service reported in 2001 that the IAP was so close to its parent organization that it published and distributed Hamas communiqués on its own letterhead, “as well as other written documentation to include the HAMAS charter and glory records, which are tributes to HAMAS’ violent ‘successes.’” Oliver Revell, a former chief of the FBI’s counter-terrorism department, called the IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”
Several CAIR officials have already been convicted of participating in violent jihad activities. Randall Todd (“Ismail”) Royer, CAIR’s former communications specialist and civil rights coordinator, participated in the “Virginia jihad group,” which was indicted on forty-one counts of “conspiracy to train for and participate in a violent jihad overseas.” Royer served over a decade in prison after a plea bargain that had him pleading guilty to lesser charges.
Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, likewise served time in prison for jihad activity. In 2009, he was sentenced to sixty-five years in prison for funneling over $12 million in charitable contributions to Hamas while serving as head of the Holy Land Foundation. Other former CAIR officials have been convicted of jihad terror activities as well, raising the question of how this supposedly moderate group failed so abysmally to distinguish “moderates” from “extremists.”
CAIR itself was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. The organization not only facilitated donations to the Holy Land Foundation, but also received money from it – no less than half a million dollars. CAIR cofounder Nihad Awad vehemently denied this when terror researcher Steven Emerson confronted him: “This is an outright lie. Our organization did not receive any seed money from the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR raises its own funds and we challenge Mr. Emerson to provide even a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claim.” Emerson then published an image of the canceled check.
Meanwhile, the two highest-profile Muslim politicians in the United States, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) showed that to dismiss concerns about the loyalty of Muslim candidates simply as signs of “bigotry” was facile and dangerous.
Allegations that Omar had married her brother and funneled campaign funds to the company run by her lover and then husband dogged Omar’s first term as Congresswoman from Minnesota, despite the establishment media’s determination to ignore them. Even more disturbing, however, were the numerous indications that the patriotism and loyalty to the United States of this migrant from Somalia were not as fervent as the media and her supporters would have had us believe.
On October 15, 2017, Omar tweeted about “thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces,” and added the hashtag “#NotTodaySatan,” with “Satan” apparently referring to the American troops who had gone to Somalia on a humanitarian mission.
Then on January 8, 2020, investigative journalist Matt Margolis noted that Omar “was seen laughing and joking around during a House Progressive Caucus press conference about Iran at the same time Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was talking about U.S. casualties in Iraq. In addition to laughing, at one point, Omar can be seen talking to Rep. Rashida Tlaib behind her, and appears to be joking and smiling, even when she turns back towards the camera.”
However, Omar wasn’t nearly as amused when, as Fox News reported two days later, “a northern Minnesota county on Tuesday night opted to ban the resettlement of refugees within its boundaries.”
Beltrami County, Minnesota voted to ban refugee resettlement after Somali Muslims have arrived in the state in large numbers, making Omar’s district the leading center for jihad terrorist recruitment in the United States. The refugees were also blamed for a sharp rise in rape, sex trafficking and other crimes. Beltrami County voted accordingly. Republican State Rep. Matt Grossell noted: “President Trump empowered counties to have a voice in the decision-making process for the federal refugee resettlement program. Tonight, Beltrami County exercised that option.”
Unlike the deaths of American soldiers, Ilhan Omar found this no laughing matter, tweeting on January 8: “Over 20 years ago, the state of Minnesota welcomed my family with open arms. I never would’ve had the opportunities that led me to Congress had I been rejected. What Beltrami County is doing is denying refugees a chance at a better life.”
So apparently Minnesotans weren’t allowed to try to provide a better life for themselves and their children. They must instead be wholly concerned with providing Muslim migrants a better life. Meanwhile, it didn’t seem to have occurred to Omar that those refugees about whom she was so concerned had a place of refuge in the United States because of the actions of those American soldiers she so disdained.
That incident unfolded two days after Omar, in the wake of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, effectively invited the Iranian regime to target Trump hotels in jihad terror attacks, tweeting: “Trump needs to immediately divest from his businesses and comply with the emoluments clause. Iran could threaten Trump hotels *worldwide* and he could provoke war over the loss of revenue from skittish guests. His business interests should not be driving military decisions.”
Omar dismisses all criticism of her statements, which have been remarkably consistent in support jihad and the weakening of the U.S. and its allies, as “Islamophobia,” tweeting: “There is nothing shocking about the right clutching their pearls at everything I say or do. It’s however entertaining to watch how transparently their anti-Muslim rhetoric has been, as they use colorful language to cast me as their lead villain. Bless their hearts!”
She also tweeted a video in which the late comedian George Carlin asserts that the U.S. is “not very good at anything” besides war.
And so once again the question arose: was Ilhan Omar a traitor who hated America? Was it really wise for her opposition to shy away from all efforts to question her loyalties, and to accept the contention that all such questions crossed the line into bigotry?
It was also noteworthy that Omar’s warning that Trump’s “business interests should not be driving military decisions” made no sense, because clearly the fact that Trump owns hotels that Iran could target didn’t stop him from going after the notorious Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. But as far as Omar and her ideological allies were concerned, it didn’t matter how much they had to twist their logic into pretzels to get Trump, as long as they made the President look bad. That imperative drove Omar even to give a military suggestion to a hostile foreign power. The mullahs and their henchmen hadn’t said anything about targeting Trump hotels, so here was a United States Congresswoman to give them a marvelous new idea about how they could murder Americans and others, and further menace the United States.
The definition of treason is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran order their people to chant “Death to America” in mosques every Friday, and repeatedly vow that they will ultimately destroy the United States of America and the state of Israel. They were doing this before Qassem Soleimani was killed, and before (and during) the conclusion of the nuclear deal with Barack Obama, and they’re doing it now. How was giving them a suggestion about how they could target the United States, whether or not they have or would have thought of it themselves, not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and hence treason?
When she took the oath of office to become a member of the United States House of Representatives, Omar swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” as well as to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Inviting, out of a hysterical hostility to the President of the United States, a nation that regularly chants “Death to America” to strike American-owned businesses – was that supporting and defending the nation against foreign enemies? If anyone had ever asked Omar such questions, which of course no one did, Omar might well have split hairs and asserted that she suggested no attack on the Constitution, which was what she specifically swore to defend, but clearly the oath uses “Constitution” as a metonymy for the nation as a whole.
Abetting this impression was the fact that Omar on the same day demonstrated her hostility to the country that she had sworn to protect and defend. She tweeted the Carlin video with the comment: “It’s no laughing matter,” just so that we were clear that she didn’t mean any joke. She was seriously offering the claim that the country to which she had sworn allegiance and which she represented in its Legislative Branch was just a war-mongering blunderer that was not good at anything besides being militarily aggressive. Meanwhile, she invited the military aggression of one of America’s foremost enemies. If the Islamic Republic of Iran turned out to be not good at much of anything besides war against the United States, would Ilhan Omar have had any problem with that?
Despite all this and more, it is, of course, inconceivable that any treason charges will ever be brought against Ilhan Omar. Her hatred of America plays well among the American Leftists who share it; the Democratic Party establishment would condemn any such charges as a partisan attack and the attacker as a racist right-wing white supremacist and enemy of all that is good.
Ilhan Omar’s Congressional colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, has likewise demonstrated many times that it is entirely reasonable to raise questions about where her loyalties really lie. At the celebration following her victory in the Democratic Party Congressional primary, Tlaib wrapped herself in a flag. Not the American flag, but the Palestinian flag.
It was not an isolated moment of simple exuberance; Tlaib has numerous connections to the Palestinian jihad. Journalist Valerie Richardson reported in the Washington Times on January 14, 2019 that Tlaib was posed for photos with “Palestinian activist Abbas Hamideh, a staunch defender of the terrorist group Hezbollah,” at Tlaib’s “swearing-in ceremony in Detroit. Mr. Hamideh tweeted a photo of himself Saturday with Ms. Tlaib along with the caption, ‘I was honored to be at Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib swearing in ceremony in #Detroit and private dinner afterward with the entire family, friends and activists across the country.’”
A year later, according to the Times of Israel, Tlaib “retweeted then removed a tweet falsely blaming Israelis for the death of a Palestinian child.” Tlaib “retweeted a tweet by Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestinian official, who was quote-tweeting an account, realSeifBitar, that accused Israeli settlers of kidnapping, assaulting and throwing into a well an eight-year-old child.” When it became clear that the child had drowned, rather than being killed by murderous Zionists, Ashrawi published a retraction. In contrast, although she took down her initial retweet, Tlaib didn’t retweet the retraction. Tlaib at that time had nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter. Hundreds of thousands likely saw her initial tweet before she took it down.
Tlaib also displayed an ugly authoritarian streak, saying in an October 2019 speech in Detroit that if Trump Cabinet members failed to comply with Congressional subpoenas issued during the impeachment imbroglio, “they’re trying to figure out, no joke, is it the D.C. police that goes and gets them? We don’t know. Where do we hold them?” Tlaib added: “This is the first time we’ve ever had a situation like this,” and that consequently, she and other Democrat leaders were “trying to tread carefully” into this “uncharted territory.” She volunteered her own district for this noble undertaking: “I will tell them they can hold all those people right here in Detroit.”
Another Muslim politician, former Pennsylvania State Assembly Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, illustrates another concern that Muslim candidates raise, or would raise if the United States had a sane and healthy public square at this point. In March 2019, Johnson-Harrell denounced a Christian prayer in the State Assembly as “Islamophobic.”
The “Islamophobia,” according to Johnson-Harrell, was committed by another state Representative, Stephanie Borowicz, who prayed this to open a legislative session: “Jesus, you are our only hope. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus, that you are Lord.”
Johnson-Harrell was livid. The prayer, she declared, was “highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House.” In a statement, she added that the prayer “blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people. I came to the Capitol to help build bipartisanship and collaborations regardless of race or religion to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth.”
There may have been a real point in there. Rep. Borowicz’s prayer could legitimately have been inappropriate in a setting in which not everyone present was Christian. However, many imams offer prayers at various legislative bodies that are not non-sectarian, but manifestly Islamic and even condemning of Jews and Christians, while the non-Muslim lawmakers stand with oblivious heads bowed.
But “Islamophobic”? This illustrated yet again how absurd charges of “Islamophobia” are, and how some Muslims sometimes regard as offensive any manifestation of faith. Johnson-Harrell’s charge of “Islamophobia” should have come as sobering news for the comfortable Christians of the West who have made an idol out of “interfaith dialogue” and fastidiously avoid saying anything remotely critical about Islam, even as the Muslim persecution of Christians continues worldwide.
Movita Johnson-Harrell provided proof of the futility of such endeavors. By calling Borowicz’s prayer “Islamophobic,” she was in effect saying that the public expression of the Christian Faith mocked Islam and despised Islamic teachings.
The lesson was clear: Christians should make no public expression of their faith at all, and convert to Islam, so as to avoid mocking, provoking, and offending Muslims, and poking them in the eye. Was this what an elected representative to the assembly of a state in the United States of America should have been standing for?
In the face of Johnson-Harrell’s rage, Pennsylvania House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, a Democrat (of course), immediately began to give her what she wanted, stating: “Let me be clear. I am a Christian. I spend my Sunday mornings in church worshiping and being thankful for all that I have. But in no way does that mean I would flaunt my religion at those who worship differently than I do. There is no room in our Capitol building for actions such as this, and it’s incredibly disappointing that today’s opening prayer was so divisive.”
So Harris said that Christians must not flaunt their religion. Not coincidentally, that is exactly what Islamic law says about Christians: that they should carry on their worship quietly, behind closed doors, and never make public display of it. Meanwhile, speaking of flaunting one’s religion, Movita Johnson-Harrell wears a hijab. Harris was not on record objecting to that kind of flaunting one’s religion.
In December 2019, Rep. Johnson-Harrell was charged with perjury, as well as accused of buying luxury clothes and properties with nonprofit funds. She resigned her seat in the Pennsylvania State Assembly.
Movita Johnson-Harrell was not a jihadi. And corrupt officials of all creeds can be found more easily than anything else in this world. However, her story was illustrative of what is perhaps the most important consideration regarding Muslim candidates for elective office in the United States: the career trajectory of Movita Johnson-Harrell is another indication of the dangers of identity politics. She became a state representative because she is a Muslim. She was a symbol of the Democratic Party’s commitment to “diversity.” No one knew or cared whether she would be an honest or competent state representative.
In that, Johnson-Harrell’s story is similar to that of Mohamed Noor, the Muslim police officer in Minneapolis who was hired despite demonstrating his unfitness for the job in numerous ways, and who ultimately shot and killed an unarmed, pajama-clad woman who had called the police to report a rape. Noor was only on the Minneapolis police force because he was a Muslim, despite numerous indications of his incompetence. A woman is dead in that case. In the case of Movita Johnson-Harrell, Medicaid and Social Security disability funds were diverted into her coffers.
The lesson is clear: why don’t we go back to supporting candidates based on their merits, instead of on their religion, ethnicity, race, or gender? Oh, that would be “racist”?
Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer