As with our reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, the GMBDW feels the obligation to take note of the positions taken by the Global Muslim Brotherhood with respect to the Black Lives Matter Movement and the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. All of the major groups comprising the US Muslim Brotherhood have issued statements on the killing that at first glance do not appear to differ from those issued by other groups. In May, the Muslim American Society (MAS) issued a statement calling for the arrest of the officers involved:
May 27, 2020 The Muslim American Society condemns in the strongest words possible the death of yet another unarmed Black man at the hands of police brutality. The choking death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the complete disregard to his life and health is a cruel and unnecessary abomination. A white officer pressed his knee against the neck of George Floyd, and refused to lift the pressure for several minutes despite the plea and distress Mr. Floyd expressed. As witnesses begged the officer to listen to the screams of Mr. Floyd and ease off, he refused to listen and continued to apply pressure while other officers held him down and another kept guard. All four officers have been fired. “A Black man lost his life. It is not enough that the officers are fired. They must be arrested and held accountable immediately for the taking of a life. We know that when justice is delayed and deferred, it truly is justice denied,” said Ismahan Abdullahi, Executive Director of MAS-PACE.
In June, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued the following press release saying that the organization stood with BLM protestors:
June 26, 2020 CAIR calls on Congress to stand with the brave Black Lives Matter protestors risking their lives to combat the systemic racism inherent in our country’s police force,” said Robert S. McCaw, Director of CAIR’s Government Affairs Department. “While there is still much work to be done to fully realize the vision of the Black Lives Matter movement, we’re encouraged by the swift action taken by the US House to address police violence. Now it is time for the Senate to act.”
Read the rest here.
Also in June, a branch of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), made the following statement at a demonstration in front of the Newark City Hall, stating that the group had full solidarity with the black community:
June 13, 2020 “All of us – in our Muslim community leaders and community at large – all of us are gathered here to express our full solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the African American community and we are condemning the death of George Floyd in Minessota,” said ICNA CSJ-NJ Director Atif Nazir. “Police brutality is a long-standing issue in this country and Mr. Floyd was a victim of this atrocity.”
Read the rest here.
The MAS, CAIR, and ICNA were also signatories, along with a large number of other Islamic groups, to a statement in support of the BLM.
This is not the first time that the US Muslim Brotherhood has acted in support of the BLM and related issues. In 2014, CAIR Director Nihad Awad attended the funeral for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager shot to death by police in Ferguson, MO. Some have claimed that CAIR leaders at the time tried to link that killing with the 2009 death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, calling them both targets of police racism directed towards blacks (the GMBDW could not independently confirm the sources used in that report). In addition, at the 2015 annual MAS-ICNA convention, MAS leader Khalilah Sabra gave a long talk titled “Black Lives Matter: Standing for Justice.” Finally, in 2015 activist Linda Sarsour discussed BLM at that year’s annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
MAS, CAIR, ICNA, and ISNA are all components of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US.
While some have asserted that the efforts of the US Brotherhood to ally with the black community are part of a master plan intending to lead toward a violent overthrow of the US government, the GMBDW has long rejected such overheated and inflammatory rhetoric coming from the right-wing in the US. However, we do think it is fair to ask whether these efforts are truly genuine or represent something else at work. US media has recently reported statements by a US Brotherhood leader that give some indication about the true position of the US Brotherhood with respect to the black community.
June 29, 2020 At the Islamic Society of North America, where the current elected board of 10 directors has no African Americans, executive director Basharat Saleem said the organization has been working to boost diversity but acknowledged that more must be done. African American Muslims have been well represented as speakers at ISNA events, he said, but attendance from people in that community at annual conventions has been low.
Read the rest here.
While the history of ISNA with respect to black Americans is lengthy and complex, it should be noted that ISNA is the largest of the organizations representing the Muslim Brotherhood in the US and through its North American Islamic Trust, holds title to hundreds of US mosques. If ISNA shows no signs of a serious historical interest in diversity among its leadership or in attracting Black Americans to its ranks, it would seem that we should look elsewhere for clues as to the motivations of the US Muslim Brotherhood with regard to the killing of George Floyd and the BLM (it should also be noted that US Brotherhood black leaders felt the need to create their own organization).
In 2016, the ICNA website gave a clear explanation of their intentions with respect to activism and the BLM. According to the ICNA report, the intention is to use the events for “dawah”, the call for non-Muslims to convert to Islam:
The past couple of weeks have been fraught with unjustified shootings of Black individuals. We even saw the terrifying killings of 5 police offers in Dallas. #BlackLivesMatter has been trending for days now. Many influential Muslims activists have used this news presence to rally other Muslims for the cause .In Islam, activism is an essential element of dawah, which is the act of calling people to Islam. A number of American Muslim activists have taken this aspect of dawah to heart, especially in a time when Islam and Muslims are widely maligned. In addition to helping restore the image of Islam, these activists are also striving to intertwine the concept of dawah with the concept of American activism.
Read the rest here.
The above statement by ICNA is in alignment with a 1989 book written by the late Shamim A. Siddiqi, a well-known ICNA leader who once headed its Dawah department. Titled “Methodology Of Dawah”, the work asserts that the goal of establishing “Allah’s Deen” in the US will require uniting the immigrant and black communities together with the “Islamic Movement of America”, generally understood to mean the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:
This again, will not be possible without bringing both the immigrant and Afro-American Muslim communities of America on to one platform. The resources of one and the political awakening of the other, when combined together with the Islamic Movement of America, will be able to play miracles…There will be no dearth of resources, both of men and material, at that time. Only the Islamic Movement of America can get this job accomplished.”
Read the rest here.
Aside from Dawah, another way in which the BLM is being instrumentalized by the US Brotherhood is by attempting to capitalize on recent events in order to gain allies for Hamas-related activism. The GMBDW has long reported on other efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood in the US to ally itself with far-left political movements. For example, in 2009 we reported that the Muslim American Society (MAS), along with the ANSWER Coalition, had announced a “Gaza Solidarity Day.” ANSWER, in turn, was the creation of former attorney general Ramsey Clark and his International Action Center and has its roots in the far-left Workers World Party. The MAS has participated in events alongside ANSWER since 2003. In 2010, we reported that the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) would be joining a national marched organized by ANSWER to protest events taking place in Gaza at that time. As an organization with its roots in the US Hamas infrastructure, CAIR would be also be motivated to seek allies on the left for its Hamas-related activism often includes the other USMB groups.