Islamist group joins with Occupy Wall Street
The Occupy Wall Street organizers have invited support from Muslim groups, and on Friday, their camp in New York City’s Zuccotti Park played host to an Islamist group with ties to Islamist anti-Semites, radicals and terrorists.
The Islamic group held a small prayer service that featured roughly 30 men and 30 women. As required by Islamist rules, the women sat in the back and wore head coverings, as the prayer leader cried out “Allahu Akbar,” or “Allah is the Most Powerful of All.”
The group from the Council on American-Islamic Relations – New York was introduced by an Imam, Aiyub Abdul Baki of the Islamic Leadership Council, and by Linda Sarsour, a leader of the Arab-American Association of New York.
CAIR-NY is an affiliate of the D.C.-based Islamist group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Several of CAIR’s employees and former employees have been jailed and deported for terror-related offenses, and it has been criticized even by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin for ties to Islamist terrorists.
Although widely publicized in the media, CAIR is regarded as a leadership group by only 12 percent of Muslims in America, according to an August 2 report by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. Muslim groups that separate politics from religion, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, do not ally with progressive groups and get little media attention.
CAIR’s arrival will stoke fears of anti-Semitic views among the disparate protesters. (RELATED: Rev. C.L. Bryant: Occupiers are ‘basically white kids’)
Last week, the Anti-Defamation League complained about a few anti-Semitic comments and protesters at the Wall Street protests. “While we believe that these expressions are not representative of the larger views of the OWS movement, it is still critical for organizers, participants and supporters of these rallies to condemn such bigoted statements clearly and forcefully,” national director Abraham Foxman said.
The Islamist group’s arrival is part of a larger trend in the progressive movement to ally left-wing groups with Islamist groups. The groups differ on issues such as rights for women, the legality of homosexuality and the right of people to quit Islam, but they share many common aims, such as larger government role in the economy and increased immigration.
At the prayer event, for example, members of the left-wing Workers World Party help up signs demanding “Stop Entrapment of Muslims.” That matches the demands by many Islamist groups for an end to police surveillance of suspected Islamic radicals in New York.
The arrival of the Islamist group followed outreach by the Wall Street protesters. On Sept. 25, organizer Matthew Bralow urged the group to contact leaders of the Muslim Day Parade. “That could really start to diversify our movement and build it!” Bralow said. His proposal was boosted by several other organizers, including two who had been urging the Zuccotti Park movement to protest the U.S. government’s anti-terror policies.
The protesters’ alliance mirrors the strategy adopted by Democratic Party of growing by incorporating often-fractious groups. But the progressive movement’s growing alliance with U.S. Islamist groups makes its unity-through-diversity coalition more unstable, and prone to splits and public opposition.
Sarsour, for example, helps run the Arab Muslim American Foundation which is a umbrella group for numerous Muslim groups, including American Muslims for Palestine. Many of these groups are focused on opposition to Israel, not the economic and government factors that have stalled the U.S. economic growth. In 2004, American-born Sarsour said some of her Arab friends living beside Israel have been jailed or pursued by the Israeli government for terror offenses, according to a report from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
The Muslim groups’ focus on Israel spurs opposition with American Jewish groups, such as the ADL. The AMP’s webpage, for example, features a recent criticism of the Anti-Defamation League. “The mullet-million-dollar [sic] agency has morphed into an organization intent on stifling any honest public discourse about illegal Israeli policies … by a variety of methods, including intimidation, censorship, spying on American citizens and smearing the reputation of individuals and organizations,” according to the AMP’s website.