A recent post reported that Dr. Esam S. Omeish, President of the Muslim Brotherhood organization known as the Muslim American Society (MAS), had resigned from the Virginia State Commission on Immigration following the pubic release of videos showing him condemning Israel and advocating “the jihad way. A national media report has detailed Mr. Omeish’s response, highlighting the usual defenses employed by the Brotherhood when confronted with past misdeeds– accusations of “smear” and remarks taken” out of context”:
Esam S. Omeish, a Fairfax County surgeon and Muslim leader who resigned from a Virginia immigration commission after videotapes of him making controversial remarks surfaced on the Internet, said yesterday that he has never promoted violence and accused his critics of perpetrating a “smear campaign” against him. Surrounded by Christian and Muslim leaders as well as a prominent antiwar activist, Omeish said at a news conference that his remarks were taken out of context. Although he is a fierce critic of Israeli military force against Palestinian civilians in Lebanon and the occupied territories, Omeish said he has consistently pushed for a peaceful solution to conflict in the Middle East. But jihad is a broad term meaning “struggle,” Omeish said.” It was related to giving support to people who are under occupation and who are under severe conditions of repression,” Omeish said at a hotel near Baileys Crossroads. He said: “It was not a call for violence. It was never any condoning of terrorism or any violent acts.”
Controlling the definition of “jihad” has been a key effort by the Muslim Brotherhood around the world.
Interestingly, Dr. Omeish is defended by the leader of the antiwar ANSWER Coalition who picks up on the same themes:
Brian Becker, national coordinator of the antiwar ANSWER Coalition, also spoke on Omeish’s behalf. “At almost every one of the big peace marches that have happened in the Washington, D.C., area, including the very last march of tens of thousand of people, led by Iraq war veterans and Gold Star mothers whose children have perished in Iraq, Dr. Omeish was there as one of the foremost leaders,” Becker said. “And so we were stunned and shocked that a small group of right-wing anti-Muslim bigots would launch a campaign” against him.”
Previous posts have reported on the participation of the MAS in the march referred to by Mr. Becker.
A leader of the Council on Islamic American Relations, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations joined in the criticism with the same theme:
“It trashes the reputation of a well-respected Muslim leader based on hype and hysteria,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It unfolded just the way I thought it would. Bloggers use any opportunity they can to marginalize American Muslims and their leaders. It’s political theater.”