The International Islamic News Agency is reporting on a statement by Dr. Saleh Al Wohaibi, secretary general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), arguing for the creation of a “Muslim Lobby” in the U.S. to project the rights and interest of Muslims. WAMY is a Saudi religious organization that has a close association with the Muslim Brotherhood and U.S. government agencies and officials have argued that WAMY has helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. As past posts have noted, the Brotherhood frequently contrast the treatment of Muslims with what it perceives to be the treatment of Jews. Dr. Wohaibi’s statement follows this pattern by claiming that Jews have “immense power and influence” and that the establishment of a Muslim lobby is necessary to counter this influence:
Dr. Saleh Al Wohaibi, secretary general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), underlined the need for creation of Muslim lobby in the United States, especially in the Congress, to protect the rights and interests of Muslims. He said that Muslims, like all other communities, are enjoying freedom for work, religious propagation, construction of mosques and Islamic centers and the like in the United States. “However, they do not have any influence in decision making process in the country. Moreover, Islam and Muslims are the most misunderstood section in the American society,” he said in a statement. Although Jews make up only about two percent of the US population, they wield immense power and influence, vastly more than any other ethnic or religious group. Muslims are also equal to the number of Jews in the country. While the global population of Jews is some 15 million, there are nearly 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. Dr. Al Wohaibi noted that the Jewish lobby, represented by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the most powerful in decision making in the United States. “But Muslims do not have any such organizations in that country. Therefore, Muslims do not sit idle leaving everything to the Jewish lobby. As an open country, Muslims should play a creative role in this respect,” he said.
The statement by Dr. Al Wohaibi is consistent with an article recently posted on Islam Online which, as a previous post has reported, made the claim that there was no organized Islamic lobby operating in the United States, ignoring the extensive and organized U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. Both statements overestimate the size of the U.S. Muslim population and were likely precipitated by the recent publicity surrounding the paper by Harvard professor John Mearsheimer on the “Israel Lobby.” The claim that there is no organized Islamic lobby may be an attempt to deflect attention from this development or perhaps even to serve as a basis for a new set of organization should developments further weaken or even destroy the existing Brotherhood organizations. According to the statement, Dr. Al Wohaibi also singled out two U.S. Islamic organizations for praise. The first is the Friends of Charity Association (FOCA), a Washington lobby group made up of Saudi charities including WAMY. The second group is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an important part of the U.S Muslim Brotherhood. A recent post has reported the visit of a Nihad Awad, a CAIR leader, to Saudi Arabia where he appeared on Saudi TV and this statement further illustrates the relationship between CAIR and Saudi Arabia. In November 2002, the Arab News reported that CAIR and WAMY announced their cooperation on a $1 million public relations campaign and that Nihad Awad was expected to speak about the project at the WAMY headquarters in Riyadh.