The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has issued a statement calling comparing Europe and the U.S. and calling for greater “engagement ” by the U.S. government with Muslim communities. The statement opens by acknowledging the greater integration status of U.S. Muslims but cites examples of European programs to argue that the U.S. is behind in this regard:
According to numerous well-respected studies, the Muslim American community is socially and economically well-integrated into American society. Muslim Americans are above the national average in terms of education and income, and are regarded as law-abiding citizens. Muslims in Europe, unfortunately, represent a significant portion of the underclass, ridden with social problems ranging from discrimination in the workplace to gang proliferation. As a result of limited upward mobility for immigrant communities in Germany, for example, many young men have turned to organized crime and drug smuggling. The constrasts between the European and American Muslim experiences are striking and might lead one to conclude that Muslim Americans are far more advanced than their European co-religionists. Not true. In reality, European governments are more engaged with Muslim communities and attempt to include them in either official legislative bodies or through regular official consultations. Many model engagement programs have been created to reach out to disenfranchised people to address their concerns. According to many experts, these programs have gone a long way in establishing a healthy relationship between Muslim communities and government entities. For example, the British government issued a 64- point recommendation paper for its newly formed Department of Communities and Local Government to implement. The recommendations outlined in the report touch at the heart of the very issues that the British Muslim community values. The UK’s Prevent Strategy Mcalls for intensive engagement with Muslim communities regardless of their conservatism or liberalism. The Danish government funds programs that assist Muslim communities and regards Islamophobes as radicals. In Paris, a government-sponsored conference every year gathers 135,000 Muslims throughout Europe to discuss means of fighting discrimination and promoting integration, and land grants are provided to Muslims to build community centers and parks. No such programs exist today within the United States.
The argument that official European engagement with Muslim communities is evidence of the more “advanced” status of European Muslims ignores the central reality that European countries have a long history of official interaction with religious communities. A number of European countries have official state-sponsored bodies to represent the various religions and some governments, Germany for example, assist in the collection of a “Church tax” which is then tax-deductible representing a form of state subsidy. The absence of such a history and precedent in the U.S. is the most likely explanation for the difference between Europe and the U.S. in this regard. The MPAC statement, consistent with Muslim Brotherhood rhetorical tactics, instead blames “Muslim-bashers” :
One explanation from U.S. government officials is our country does not face the same threat of homegrown terrorism that European countries face. According to this line of thinking, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” Therefore, less concern over Muslims means less suspicion, a good thing for all parties. It’s an attractive argument, but is inconsistent with law enforcement assertions that domestic radicalization is a real and pressing problem. Then there is the alternative explanation, typified by a dreadful commonality between the U.S. and Europe the Muslim-bashers, who spew intolerance and hate through national media outlets and obscure blogs. Some Muslim-bashers argue that the U.S. government should not engage with its Muslim citizens and instead, should conduct more investigations of law-abiding Muslim Americans as “part of a totalitarian movement.” In reality, invasive policies against any community create a radicalization problem that never existed beforehand. Regardless of their respective starting points, the U.S. and Europe are going in opposite directions vis-a- vis the integration of their Muslim citizens and their efforts at counter-radicalization. America prides itself in that it promotes the integration of minorities into mainstream society. On the eve of Independence Day, let us recall the meaning of e pluribus unum: Out of many, One.
Ironically, of all the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations, MPAC itself is the most successful at engaging with the U.S. government and brags on its website:
The MPAC National Office in Washington DC serves as the primary interface between the American Muslim community and US Government officials. MPAC works closely with the departments of State, Treasury, Homeland Security and the White House to offer guidance in both action and analysis on issues that affect our country and its Muslims….In the past year, MPAC DC has met with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, FBI Assistant Director John Pistole and Mike Doran of the National Security Council. MPAC DC officials are frequently invited for briefings to senior staff at the State Department, US Agency for International Development and the United Nations. MPAC was a central player in the aftermath of the cartoon crisis serving as a liaison between the US and Danish governments.
Just today, local media reported that 25 Muslim Americans were “selected to speak with national political leaders and public officials shaping national policy” during last week’s Young Muslim American Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., an event sponsored by MPAC. The group met with representatives of the civil liberties offices at the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security , Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Congressmen Adam Schiff of California, Frank R. Wolf of Virginia and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
It is doubtful that any European Muslim Brotherhood organization enjoys this level of access to their national government. Why MPAC is choosing at this moment to complain about lack of access may have something to do with setting the stage for a change of government the U.S. more than reflecting any form of reality.
MPAC was established in the mid 1980’s by individuals whose backgrounds are likely rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and since its inception has acted in concert with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The organization, like other U.S. Brotherhood organizations, has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and support for terrorism.