US media is reporting that the Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA) will be holding a panel discussion today on the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy which will include the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). According to one report:
Members of the Congressional Muslim Staff Association (CMSA) will convene a panel discussion on Tuesday in response to the recent controversy over a proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan. Billed as a discussion of “Muslims in America: Myths and Realities,” the three-member panel will be made up of Arab American Institute president Dr. James Zogby, Muslim Public Affairs Council president Salam Al-Maryati, and Dr. Azizah Al-Hibri, founder of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. The panel will be moderated by a former member of the Bush administration, Suhail Khan, now a fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement. According to a release from the CMSA, the panel will “expose the myths and shine a light on the realities of the American Muslim community in the wake of the Park 51 controversy.” 51 Park Place is the address in Lower Manhattan of a proposed Islamic Cultural Center. The center’s proximity to Ground Zero has sparked intense controversy in recent weeks. Last Tuesday a Muslim taxi driver in New York City was stabbed in what police say may have been a hate crime. Founded in 2006, the CMSA welcomes any Muslim congressional employee of any office, committee, or service within the House of Representatives, Senate, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office, Congressional Research Service, and Capitol Police. Congressional staffers are welcome to attend Tuesday’s panel, which runs from 10-11:30 a.m. in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.CMSA spokesman Mouaz Moustafa said that he expects a crowd of around 40 people, and that most of them will not be CMSA members. There will be also be Q&A during the panel discussion.
MPAC was established initially in 1986 as the Political Action Committee of the Islamic Center of Southern California whose key leaders likely had their origins in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Since that time, MPAC has functioned as the political lobbying arm of the U.S. Brotherhood. MPAC has opposed virtually every count-terror initiative undertaken or proposed by the U.S. government. At times this opposition was said to be on civil-rights grounds but, just as often, MPAC claimed that U.S. counter-terror efforts were aimed at the U.S. Muslim community itself. MPAC has consistently supported and facilitated terrorism by supporting terrorist organizations and, more broadly, constructing an elaborate ideology defending the use of violence by Islamists and Islamist organizations. More than any other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organization, MPAC has developed extensive relationships with the U.S. government which have included numerous meetings with the Department of Justice and the FBI. A previous post reported that MPAC recently participated in a White House meeting with President Obama and cabinet officials to announce the President’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The Congressional Muslim Staffers Association (CMSA) web site describes itself as follows:
The Congressional Muslim Staffers Association(CMSA) is a chartered organization within the United States House of Representatives, established in 2006. CMSA is a non-dues paying membership association open to any Congressional employee who defines his- or herself as “Muslim”, regardless of their race, gender, school of thought, personal level of “religiosity”, and country of origin. Members can be employees of any office, committee, or department within the House of Representatives, Senate, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office, Congressional Research Service, and the Capitol Hill Police Department. Any Muslim Congressional employee is considered a CMSA member regardless of their level of participation or the degree that they publicly identify themselves as “Muslim”.
Previous posts have described various activities involving joint activities of the CMSA and U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including meeting with a Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) youth group, a June 2009 CMSA “social” attended by three U.S.Brotherhood organizations, and promoting the January Capitol Jummah (Friday prayer) led by Muslim American Society (MAS) President Esam Omeish, and hosting the 1st Muslim Student Association Day ever to be held on Capitol hill.
It should also be noted that, despite a disclaimer, the CMSA web site links primarily to organizations associated with the U.S. Brotherhood.