In remarks made before the 45th Annual Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, ISNA President appears to imply that U.S. Muslims do not enjoy full rights as citizens. According to a report carried on Islam Online:
Addressing the event, ISNA President Ingrid Mattson called for unity and overcoming all differences. She cited the example of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, attributing its success to putting aside people’s theological and sectarian differences and working together for one common goal. Mattson, the first women and convert to head ISNA, believes that it will take a “unity of purpose” for Muslims to attain all their rights in the US. “Those rights they are seeking take time to achieve. You have to change people’s hearts and the laws and it is not easy to do this.”
It is not clear what rights Mattson is referring to nor does any comparison to South Africa seem appropriate. A May 2007 Pew Foundation survey indicated that despite being recent arrivals, U.S. Muslims are “highly assimilated into American society” and Muslim American income and education levels “generally mirror those of the public.” Both conclusions would appear to contradict Mattson’s statements that U.S. Muslims are denied “all their rights.”
U.S. Brotherhood groups generally attempt to foster a sense of grievance in the U.S. Muslim community. One of the major themes of this effort is the near constant assertion that U.S. anti-terrorism efforts are in fact a “war on Islam.” Another way in which the U.S. Brotherhood attempts to manufacture grievances is the claim that U.S. Muslims are the victims of a rising wave of hate crimes. Investigative research has determined that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), another part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, routinely manipulates its statistics in this regard. It would appear that Mattson’s statements are yet another attempt to build support for the U.S. Brotherhood by continuing this sense of grievance.