The American Muslim Taskforce (AMT), a coalition of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations has written a letter to President-elect Obama identifying themselves as “Muslim leadership” and alleging that the U.S. government has engaged in “COINTELPRO” campaigns against the U.S. Muslim and Arab communities, referring to a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the F.B.I. from 1956 to 1971 and targeting political organizations. The letter also demands a series of policy changes from the Obama administration:
We…wish to see you instruct senior officials in your administration to reinstate roundtables with Muslim leadership for all departments, such as State, Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services,” said the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT). Unveiling the “American Muslims in the American Mainstream,” open-letter in a press conference on Monday, December 29, AMT chairman Agha Saeed said the incoming Obama administration needs to take notice of the American Muslim community. “Ninety-five percent of Muslims voted on the day of election,” he stressed. “That was the highest voter turnout of any community in America.” An AMT poll found that 89 percent of Muslims voted for Obama while only two percent voted for Republican candidate John McCain. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), affirmed that US Muslims are “capable” and ready to help bring the change Obama has promised during his campaign. “American Muslims are [a]vibrant community and we would like to be part of that change.” State Senator Larry Shaw, the longest-serving Muslim elected official in the US, agreed. “Within the Islamic community in America are untapped resources,” he said. “We are very highly competent and capable people who can head any secretary department or deputy department or senior-level management.” The United States is home to between six to seven million Muslims. Change Policies The Muslim organizations urged President-elect Obama to change some of the unpopular Bush policies. “As you assume your new duties, there are some areas we hope you will list among your priorities,” read their open-letter. “This includes restoring due process, objective justice, repealing manifestly unconstitutional clauses of the USA PATRIOT ACT, ending COINTELPRO campaigns against Muslim and Arab American communities, and ensuring that our nation rejects the use of ex post facto laws.
The AMT was founded in February 2004 by a coalition of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups to “encourage community-based Muslim political participation and to defend against the erosion of civil liberties in a post-9/11 social environment.” At that time, the coordinator, of the AMT was identified as Agha Saeed chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) which in turn was part of the American Muslim Political Coordination Council, both organizations representing earlier U.S. Brotherhood electoral coalitions. The new organization aid that it was committed to holding voter education and registration drives, encouraging Muslims to work in political campaigns, hosting candidates’ town hall meetings, issuing candidate scorecards on issues of importance to the Muslim community, and to forming coalitions with like-minded groups. In 2004, the AMT drew national attention when it endorsed Senator John Kerry (Dem) for President and criticized President Bush for being “insensitive to the civil liberties and human rights of American Muslims, Arab-Americans and South Asians” and to treating American Muslims “like second-class citizens.” The AMT today is comprised of the most important U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Muslim American Society (MAS). Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle Of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society Of North America (ISNA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).