The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) has announced that it has launched an interfaith initiative on health care reform According to the announcement:
As promised in September, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) launched an interfaith initiative on genuine health care reform at an Oct. 14 Capitol Hill briefing. After the Muslim Health Care Professionals’ hearing the previous month (see November 2009 Washington Report p. 44), the coalition of major Islamic national organizations resolved to broaden their efforts to support health care reform and bring in panelists from the Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths. Muslim American Society (MAS) executive director Imam Mahdi Bray chaired the hearing and set the stage, saying, “As people of faith we must continue to fight for a health care bill that contains a public option; without it Americans will continue to fall prey to the tyranny of insurance companies.” Co-chairpersons at the hearing included Interfaith Worker Justice executive director Kim Bobo; Dr. Jamal Barzinji, vice president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT); Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); Naim Baig, secretary-general of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); and the Hon. Rev. Walter Fauntroy, former member of Congress and former pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church. Among the panelists offering their testimonies were the Rev. Louisa Davis, coordinator of the Greater Washington Allies in Reconciliation and Rev. Kaz Nakata of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple, who were joined by MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights director Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey. Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau; Takoma Park pediatrician Lavanya Sithanandam, board member of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); and Asma Hanif, chairperson of CCMO, Coordinating Council Muslim Organizations and director of the Muslimat Al-Nisaa Health and Shelter Organization, presented united testimony in support of lobbying Congress and helping grassroots organizations push for a public insurance option… Dr. Sithanandam noted.Congressional Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) added their spirited opinions….According to Ellison, “This is not the time for cynicism, this is the time for us to run the risk of hope.” Organizers of the Oct. 14 event plan to follow up by preparing and delivering a letter signed by interfaith leaders to congressional members to encourage them to pass health care legislation that contains a public option.
One of the common tactics of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is to construct coalitions of its own front organizations as well as inter-related groups and individuals, giving the appearance that the Brotherhood has more broad-based support than it actually enjoys. The AMT is comprised of all the major U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). The AMT supplanted an earlier electoral coalition known as the American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC). According to its website, In 2004, national news described the founding of the AMT as follows:
The leading Muslim organizations have been so outraged over the USA Patriot Act (search) that they have banded together as the American Muslim Taskforce (search) to make civil rights their top issue in the presidential race.
AMT activities appear to be similar to those of the AMPCC although consistent with the groups ostensible civil-rights agenda, the organization has defended high-profile terror suspects such as Sami Al-Arian.
Jamal Barzinji and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) are also important parts of the U.S. Brotherhood.
The health care initiative appears to be part of a broader effort by the U.S.Muslim Brotherhood to play a role in U.S. domestic policy issues, likely as a means to enhance its legitimacy and to divert focus away from terrorism.