Islam Online has reported on various comments made by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders regarding the first year of the Obama administration. Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Muslim Relations (CAIR), took a common, ambivalent tone:
‘No one can ignore that president Obama has shown his leadership on the Fort Hood incident by urging calm and cautioning against jumping to conclusions,’ says Nihad Awad…’ There is a drastic changing tone from his predecessor. However, we are looking and hoping for actions,’ …Awad,…hopes that the new year would see Obama deliver more of his promises and live up to the hopes the Muslim community has in him. ‘President Obama promises change, others did not. There is a drastic changing tone from his predecessor. That makes us hopeful,’ he asserts. ‘However, we are looking and hoping for actions… otherwise it will be a growing disappointment among American Muslims if we do not see this change soon.’
Salam Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), agreed with Awad about the Fort Hood incident but also expressed reservations about unidentified Obama administration policies:
I think [the Fort Hood situation]could have been much worse in the previous administration. ‘It could have created an environment to stigmatize Islam and Muslims. But Obama handled the situation very well.’..Marayati, the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, gives Obama the thumb-up for the change in message with Muslims, but not for his policies. ‘There is no change in policy until we understand and respect the policy recommendations from Muslim Americans,’ he insists. ‘Right now there is none. We are living in separate worlds.’
The evaluations of leaders of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and the Islamic Society of North America were similar:
Imam Majid, also imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, wants Obama to back up his new language with actions. ‘He reached out to the Muslim community but we were expecting more. We want to be engaged in the political system,’ he told IOL. ‘We want to be able to meet government officials and talk about issues from healthcare to Iraq and Afghanistan wars.’…A year after Barack Obama came to office, American Muslims believe the winds of change are blowing, but are still waiting to see that reflected in their daily lives and want Obama avoid the mistakes of his predecessor. ‘I would like to give Obama credit for reaching out to the Muslim community,’ Mohamed Majid, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, told IslamOnline.net.
Shaker El-Sayyed, imam of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, was somewhat more negative in tone and criticized specific Obama policies:
‘What he said about Muslim charities among others, he spoke very well. I think he did a very good job,’ says Imam Shaker El-Sayyed…He notes that one thing that Obama should be commended for is that he has removed the war rhetoric from the White House. ‘This is very vital because it was about to leave huge civil rights violations in the American Muslim society.’….Imam El-Sayyed also gives Obama the thumb-down regarding the controversial mosque infiltration program established by the previous administration, which remains in full gear. ‘It is very damaging for the Muslim community relations with the wider society,’ he asserts. ‘One of things that are seen as a setback is his administration’s request from the Congress to give them the executive power for indefinite detentions without charges or trials. Even Bush did not legalize this.’…The Dar Al-Hijrah imam says Muslims should not judge Obama by his first year performance. ‘Obama’s promise of change is a wishful hopeful position statement that is yet to materialize. ‘One year is not a full measure of what a president can do.’
Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, was the most critical of all the U.S. Brotherhood leaders.
While he appreciates Obama’s Fort Hood stance, Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, says it was just a moment. ‘Every president has his moment. To be fair even George Bush had his moment after 9/11 when he said there will be zero tolerance to backlash,’ he told IOL. He believes Obama disappointed hopeful Muslims with so many setbacks, especially when it comes to many of the Bush administration’s controversial policies. ‘In fact, in many of them, like the Patriot Act and the detention rights of Muslim prisoners, his position is not different from that of the Bush administration and in some cases it is actually worse.’ The Muslim leader also cites Obama’s decision to send more troops to expand the Afghanistan war.’The escalation of war is not in the best interest of Afghan people, the Muslim world, Muslims in America, or Americans in general. This is totally unacceptable.’
A Hudson Institute report identifies CAIR, MPAC, and ISNA as U.S.Muslim Brotherhood organizations. The report also identifies the Muslim American Society (MAS) as a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization. Dar Al-Hijrah is a Virginia area mosque closely linked to the MAS and the Imam and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), a prominent Muslim community organization in the Washington metropolitan area, is also the Vice-President of ISNA. A number of important U.S. Brotherhood leaders are known to have been members of ADAMS.