If Islamism (political Islam) was a sport, the convening members of the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy Conference in Washington, D.C. this week would be in the American Islamist Olympics finals, the dream teams of Islamist all-stars from a host of American Islamist lobbying groups.
Gone are the days of hidden dissimulation, or “taqqiya,” operating under elusive conference titles like “reviving the Islamic spirit” or “social justice,” or “fighting Islamophobia.” Now this new “Muslim Caucus” openly seeks Muslim power and all of whatever that means to them.
How fitting that the “Muslim Caucus Education Collective’s” slogan reads “Muslim Americans Organizing to Win?” Their homepage description in fact states:
This is our moment to come together and organize as one constituency, bridge traditional advocacy, and policy organizations and grassroots groups to work together in building Muslim American Electoral Power at the local, state, and national level to build our power beyond 2020.
That verbiage is the “sine qua non” of political Islam and its attendant Islamist movements. Hassan al-Banna (Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder), Mawlana Maududi (Pakistani founder of Jamaat e-Islami), Recep Erdogan (Head of Turkey’s AKP) or Ayatollah Khomeinei (Head of Iran’s Islamic Supreme Council) would all be so proud.
These Americans may try to claim stark divisions with Islamism’s founding fathers, but essentially, their attempt to collectivize and empower Muslims as one political and national identity sprouts directly from the seeds of 20th century political Islam and is undergirded by most Islamic teachings and interpretations of sharia that are theocratic or Islamist. The classically liberal anti-Islamist reformists are a minority among Muslim leaders but we exist and are the only means to defeat Islamist movements.
Attendees at this conference came in buoyed by a sycophantic Leftist media anesthetized by identity politics, and also buoyed by the unrepentant unchecked Islamist radicalism of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Component organizations of their “collective” like the notorious Hamas sympathizing, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are now marketing their fundraisers as rooted in building “Muslim power.”
This theocratic tyranny is only viable as an Orwellian collective when it brainwashes Muslims to believe that the Islamic faith is a single political, legal, cultural, and governmental ideology, state, and global caliphate — in other words — full throated Islamism. The indoctrination begins as a political collective.
For anyone just now paying attention to this “Muslim Collective,” we Arab or Muslim Americans have seen this show before. It is no exaggeration to say that this conference was essentially the founding of a new American political party. In Egypt, it is the Muslim Brotherhood. In Iran, it’s the Khomeinists, In Pakistan, it’s the Jamaat e-Islamiya. In the United States, it’s the Muslim Caucus Education Collective.
We at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) have been laser focused since 2003 on our mission to “protect the U.S. Constitution, freedom, and liberty through the separation of mosque and state.” To that end we convened in 2015 a coalition of anti-Islamist reformers we all dubbed, the Muslim Reform Movement. Most of us would have nothing to do with anything called a “Muslim collective.”
While catering to their favorite collectivist identity group bloc, 2020 Democratic Party hopefuls are tripping over themselves to attend this “Islamist Constitutional Convention.” What a great place for the Democratic Party to float lies about America while they further radicalize Muslims with contrived “Muslim bans” and “deportation of citizens.”
The “Red-Green Axis,” from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Omar in the U.S. to Nicolas Maduro and Erdogan abroad, contrives “Islamophobia” as bigotry with generations of cooperation at the United Nations. American Islamists are now in high gear to kindle that in the Halls of Congress and with presidential hopefuls.
Some naysayers may say that any “faith group” is by definition a “collective.” There are some legitimate functions of a faith collective that survive modernity and liberalism. After we Muslims abandon Islamism with deep reforms, I see that collective circumscribed to recognition of the authenticity of the Arabic script of the Quran (with vast division on interpretation), to our faith calendar and holidays, and to performance of the Hajj (pilgrimage) to name a few.
But even in our worship services, mosques are better served with more division, not less. Real diversity is not ethnic nor racial. It will be seen in new diverse schools of thought rooted in modernity rather than the few dominant ones now rooted in the 12th century.
We tell our Muslim youth in our Muslim Liberty Project at AIFD to see their political activism whether locally or nationally primarily through the lens of their American identity which is infused by their personal morals, ethics, and values. Certainly, faith plays a role in that, but never as a political “collective” identity. Islam is in a very different time in our faith’s historical arc at this time than that of other religions in the west. We still have not defeated the theocrats that dominate our faith leadership across the planet.
It is important to note that when our government, media, and interfaith communities do seek input from American Muslim activists and thought leaders, it should first and foremost be ideologically diverse and inclusive across the spectrum of American Muslim ideologies both Islamist and anti-Islamist.
This collective conference or Muslim Caucus this week seems to be led predominantly by Islamists with rare exception who matter little in a conference whose very existence defines Islamism. This is not just because they are all of the Left. Muslim Republican collectivism would also make no sense unless your mission is to empower Islamists. Islamist groups like the “Republic Muslim Coalition” are just as dangerous and separatist on the right as these are on the left. Infusing Islamist proclivities into politics whether right or left is disastrous for freedom and liberty regardless of what side of the aisle.
When we lobby our representatives, our specific faith identity or strain is of no consequence. Similarly, when we go to pray at the mosque, the political identity of those with whom we pray, side by side, should also be of no consequence.
In essence, I and many reformed, westernized, patriotic American Muslims reject the entire premise of this Muslim collective conference. This “collective’s” effort to proclaim and invoke “Muslim power” is offensive and antithetical to both our faith values and our Americanism.
This domestic and global battle within the House of Islam is not just about the political activism of a few million Muslims in America. The success or failure of American Islamists will impact the confidence of Islamist movements across the planet whether political or militant. Omar is already becoming an Islamist icon on Qatar’s al Jazeera and Iran’s PressTV.
This is all especially poignant given the context of where Islam and Muslims are in their legal, social, political, and cultural history at 1,440 years old. The radical, bigoted ideas of members of Congress like Omar and Tlaib are not created in a vacuum. They are byproducts of an Islamist farm team in America spanning the spectrum from non-violent to violent. Their “Muslim collective” is their defining flag. It is their party.
Zuhdi Jasser (@DrZuhdiJasser) is the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, a physician, and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He hosts the podcast, “Reform This!”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.