Islam Online, the Internet news portal associated with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has interviewed Dalia Mogahed, one of two U.S. Muslims recently appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In the interview, Ms. Mogahed repeats claims often made by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. When asked how she saw her role as “an adviser on Islam”, for example, Ms. Mogahed replied:
I would not say I am an advisor on Islam. I would say that it is my role to convey the facts about what Muslims think and feel. I see my role as offering the voices of the silenced majority of Muslims in America and around the world to the council so that our deliberations are informed by their ideas and wisdom. I believe that I was chosen because the administration cares about what Muslims think and wants to listen.
Positing various plots and conspiracies to “silence” U.S. Muslims is a standard tactic of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
When asked what she thought of “rising Islamphobia in America?”, Ms. Mogahed chose to center her response around “racism” comparing the situation to 1956 when Americans disapproved of interracial marriages:
Islamphobia in America is very real. Gallup finds that Muslims are among the most unfavorably viewed groups in the US and only a little over a third of Americans say they have no prejudice against Muslims. This presents a grave danger to America as a whole. The disease of racism, by definition, is a bias in judgment. This means that racism clouds sound judgment and leads people to make irrational decisions. It also divides a nation and prevents the full utilization of its intellectual and cultural resources. Racism is wasteful. Racism is a strategic disadvantage. I am very proud of the progress America has made in fighting this problem as it relates to the relationship between blacks and whites. In 1956 only 4% of Americans approved of a marriage between whites and blacks. The marriage that produced our president was illegal in Virginia when he was born. Today 80% of Americans approve of marriage between blacks and whites. Last year, Barack Obama became the first Democratic Presidential candidate in decades to carry Virginia. We are a stronger and smarter nation because of this growth. Our next growth spurt will be in ridding our society of anti-Muslim prejudice.
A recent poll by Gallup, however, found that:
…when comparing percentage of “thriving” Muslim Americans with Muslims in other Western societies as well as those in predominantly Muslim countries, Muslim Americans are among the groups with the largest percentage of respondents who say they are thriving. (Of the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, only Saudi Arabia’s population has a similarly high proportion of thriving individuals.)
It is telling that Ms. Mogahed chose to focus on U.S. “racism” directed against Muslims rather than the more balanced results presented by Gallup despite the fact that Ms. Mogahed heads the Gallup unit that carried out this poll. U.S. Brotherhood organizations and their leaders have consistently suggested that they would make the best U.S. “goodwill ambassadors” to the larger Muslim world yet often portray the U.S. treatment of Muslims in an unfavorable light.
Responding to another question on what advice she would give to President Obama about how to improve relations with U.S. and foreign Muslims, Mr.s. Mogahed invokes the notion of “legitimate grievances”:
I would advise him to listen first and foremost. Many have claimed that terrorists have ‘hijacked Islam’. I disagree. I think Islam is safe and thriving in the lives of Muslims around the world. What the terrorists have been allowed to take over are Muslim grievances. Muslim concerns over injustice have been largely dismissed by the previous administration leaving a vacuum exploited by extremists. This is a dangerous reality for all of us. Instead, the US must hear mainstream Muslim concerns even if America does not agree with their perceptions. These issues can no longer be ignored or left and the extremists to monopolize.
As noted in a post discussing Muslim Brotherhood rhetorical tactics, defending the violence carried out by Islamist groups is part of the Brotherhood strategy:
Having staked out the positions that Islam is not violent and that Jihad is not connected with violence, the Brotherhood is left with the task of defending the violence carried out by Islamist groups. Since according to the Brotherhood these groups cannot, by definition, be motivated by Islamic ideology, there can be only one answer- they are fighting because of “legitimate grievances” and hence are “freedom fighters.”
In the interview, Ms. Mogahed describes her background as follows:
I have been tremendously blessed, Alhamdulillah. I feel that mine is a uniquely American story. I grew up in an educated middle class home, but with no special connections or privilege. By excelling in school, I was able to attend a top university and helped pay my way by working during the summer as an engineering intern. My summer job was at a paper factory in a small Wisconsin town. I was only 19 years old. Managing technicians often reminded me that they’ve been working on the machine longer than I’ve been on Earth. Many also told me that I was the first Muslim they’d ever met. Very few women worked in the factory, so I was already a minority just as a female, but I was also the only hijab-wearing woman in the entire town and the only Muslim in the factory. All of this of course presented a challenge, but one that taught me a great deal. Once people got to know me I became a professional to them, not a woman in hijab. I took this experience with me to my permanent job after college and to my graduate work. These situations taught me that living according to your conscience was more important than comfortably conforming to your surroundings. I think this simple lesson of life is one that has helped me succeed and given me the courage to face the most difficult and daunting situations.
However, Ms. Mogahed makes no mention of the part of her background suggesting strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood. Ms. Mogahed, who was born in Egypt and lived in the U.S. since the age of 5, is the daughter of Elsayed Mogahed, an Egyptian immigrant who is a former engineering scientist at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Islamic Center of Madison (ICM). The website of the ICM links mainly to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Souheil Ghannouchi, the President of the Muslim American Society (MAS), was ICM Imam and President for several years. The MAS is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closest to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood . In 2003, Ms. Mogahed was identified in 2003 as the Outreach Coordinator for the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh (ICP) whose co-founder recently lost a DOE security clearance and whose Imam will probably be deported on immigration violations.
Ms. Mogahed is currently the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies that also includes Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito and she also co-authored a book with Dr. Esposito suggesting that majority of the world’s Muslims support some form of democracy. Dr. Esposito, in turn, is a long-time supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood , has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine, and has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Also part of the Gallup Center is Ahmed Younis, previously a National Director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.