DEARBORN, Mich. – Over 70 percent of American Muslims said they would likely vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 in a poll conducted by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), leaving 12 percent undecided and 5 percent voting for either the Green or Libertarian Party.
But is the Democratic Party the rightful home for American Muslims, or as Malcolm X said in his autobiography, are American Muslims being duped by the liberal sly fox?
On all major issues, a President Hillary Clinton would be just as detrimental to the American Muslim community as President-elect Donald Trump.
Clinton would have continued the wars overseas which would bomb the families of those American Muslims who vote for Clinton; she would have continued to serve the financial elites in Wall Street and in the Federal Reserve, which is contrary to what Islam has to say against usury (charging interest); would continue surveillance and entrapment; and would have expanded upon President Obama’s harsh immigration policies, which has earned him the nickname “Deporter in Chief.”
America’s problems are bi-partisan, so should American Muslims allow themselves to become token pawns of the Democratic Party?
If electing a candidate like Hillary Clinton, with her pro-war, pro-corporate record will not make the world a better place, what will it take to save humanity from war, greed, oppression, immorality, inequality, racism, colonialism, pollution, and other man-made evils on the planet? That is the lofty question that Muslim Congress attempted to solve during their 3-day annual conference from August 5 through 7.
According to their mission statement, Muslim Congress is a non-profit organization seeking to promote unity among the Muslims of North America, so that the Muslims become proud of their Islamic identity as well as become well-informed and successful citizens.
With elections putting Islam and American Muslims front and center, having a voice in the future of the planet coincided with their desire to make the world a better place for all human beings to live in harmony regardless of minor differences, as long as there is mutual respect with equal rights under law.
With both the RNC and the DNC trying to use Muslims as token photo op material, it is important for the general public to listen when American Muslims speak for themselves instead of speaking on behalf of the power elite, such as the RNC or DNC.
To address these issues, Muslim Congress brought in many experts on the political field, such as Codepink founder Medea Benjamin, former college professor Dr. Kevin Barrett, and Cindy Corrie, mother of the late humanitarian activist Rachel Corrie. Also, many Islamic speakers spoke their mind on the issues of the day.
Codepink founder Medea Benjamin addressed a breakout session where she described American imperialism. While the Democratic Party is banking on fear of Trump to win over the support of American Muslims, the speakers at Muslim Congress were not about to be pawns of a pro-war, corporate political party like the DNC.
The common theme was that while everyone recognizes the danger of a Trump presidency, they will not be fooled into supporting Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s policies as Secretary of State in Libya and Syria contributed to the rise of ISIS. Aside from their horrific atrocities, ISIS has tarnished the name of Islam in the eyes of the general public, and the rise of Islamphobia is associated with the monster that was created in the environment of US imperialism.
Benjamin, who recently released a book on US relations with Saudi Arabia entitled Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection, detailed the massive amounts of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia to be used in the illegal war of aggression against impoverished Yemen, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 10,000 civilians and is putting 500,000 children at risk of starving to death.
Benjamin and others brought up the fact that in contrast to Donald Trump’s overt bigotry against Muslims, the Democratic Party is far from innocent, especially when it comes to supposedly liberal politicians who are really National Security Democrats.
Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, National Security Democrats say that they are tolerant of American Muslims so long as they support America’s unconstitutional policies, such as the Patriot Act, support and die in America’s illegal wars around the globe, work within the corporate establishment, serve as spies for Big Brother’s intelligence apparatus, and never ever speak truth to power or question the status quo. American Muslims who dare to be outspoken against the wars, inequality, police militarization, the Federal Reserve, the two party system, and more, are not given a voice and will have their 4th amendment rights stripped as they are spied on by the dragnet surveillance system that was unveiled by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.
The definition of domestic terrorism has been expanded to include political activism, so despite the rhetoric of Muslim Congress being in favor of patriotic policies like restoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights in public policy, the attendees of the conference would end up on watch lists and risk partially or totally losing their rights as American citizens under a Hillary Clinton presidency, in addition to losing family members in the continued wars abroad. However, another common theme at Muslim Congress was to not embrace fear of being targeted by the state for standing up for what is right.
After Benjamin, Imam Abdul Alim Musa of Washington D.C. spoke about the history of revolution and counter revolution in America, including how outspoken Imams were either assassinated by the US government, imprisoned, or infiltrators would try to cause division within communities.
Muslim Congress is mixed: it has many Shi’a Muslims in its ranks, whereas Imam Musa is a Sunni Muslim who is strongly against what he calls “fitna,” which is Arabic for divisiveness. He does not consider Wahabbism and Salafism, perverted strains of Islam pushed by the British-created regime of Saudi Arabia, to be Sunni Islam. Imam Musa has even visited the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In his speech, Imam Musa brought up the controversial “death to America” slogan used by many revolutionaries in Iran. He reiterated how the slogan doesn’t mean killing innocent American civilians, nor does it refer to any acts of violence. He says the slogan is a call for a political paradigm shift, a death to colonialism, imperialism, war, and arrogance. Imam Musa discussed what type of political paradigm shift needs to take place for the rights of all Americans and all human beings who are, as Malcolm X said, victims of Americanism, to be respected and honored, as the US Constitution enumerates.
Given the current state of affairs in the world, especially when it comes to the decline of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency, Imam Musa claims that the American system is already dead or is in the stage of dying.
A common theme that also reverberated throughout the conference was how certain mosques are run under systems of Boards of Directors. Often under those systems, American Muslim youth are not catered to, English is not spoken as the main language of the lectures, and political lectures are prohibited. As one speaker in the conference said, even if you are not involved with politics, politics will be involved with you. Whether it is Trump coming to deport you or Hillary bombing your relatives, or both major parties supporting the banking elites who get richer while the masses get poorer, Muslims and non-Muslims alike who refrain from political activism will find themselves the victims of the system they choose to ignore.
The main event for the afternoon was a town hall featuring Dawud Walid of CAIR Michigan, Hujjat al-Islam Sayed Abbas Ayleya, Dr. Kevin Barrett, and Codepink’s Medea Benjamin.
Many ideas were brought up, such as Muslims running for political office, working outside the political system, undermining the Federal Reserve banking system, not being afraid to stand up for issues such as 9/11 truth, but one of the most important points was intersectional activism.
They noted how Islam has a lot to say about securing rights and justice for not only Muslims, but also all oppressed human beings in general.
They compelled American Muslims to form alliances with non-Muslim victims of police brutality, of inhuman immigration laws, of poverty caused by the fractional reserve banking system, and those who oppose the Orwellian surveillance state. Anytime there is an injustice, they conveyed, Muslims should be at the forefront of solidarity with those issues, no matter if the oppressed are Muslim or non-Muslim.
Additionally, Ms. Benjamin and other speakers brought up why it is important for Muslims to care about the environment, as pollution from the leakage from DuPont’s Teflon factories, hydraulic fracturing operations, and the effects of climate change may bring the planet past the point of no return.
Additionally, Muslim Congress has a program to foster the involvement of Muslim women into both spiritual activism and political activism with their Hayaa360 program. The Poetry Slam at the conference featured a large amount of Muslim women with impressive vernacular and poetic ability.
The evening was brought to a powerful close when Muslim Congress presented an award to Cindy Corrie, the mother of Rachel Corrie, a young American humanitarian who was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer while non-violently defending a Palestinian home from being demolished. Her speech brought the audience to tears.
Afterwards, Mrs. Corrie was surrounded by Muslim women who gave her endless amounts of hugs and support for her daughter who was a true American hero.
Sayed Abbas Ayleya led a lecture about the state of the world and why Muslims should work towards the ideals of justice in present day. Wars, man-made famine, man-made poverty/classism, man-made environmental disasters (nuclear leaks, chemical plant accidents), extreme poverty which causes children to die from hunger, and other forms of oppression have killed hundreds of millions of people. He compared it to shark attacks and lion attacks which kill very few people annually. This, he said, is proof that greed makes men lower than beasts.
Ayleya pointed to many parts of the world which suffer immense death, suffering, and oppression, from both internal and external forces, such as America, Gaza, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, and many more.
He said that in order for peace to be established, we have to understand the depth of the geopolitics involved. It is easy for American Muslims to point to ISIS and no one else. He calls this the “Islam of convenience,” where many Muslims are afraid to talk about other entities that are at play in causing suffering on Earth, or are so brainwashed to love their own oppressor that the thought of the American government being corrupt doesn’t come to their mind.
He went a step further to say that there are Muslims who point to ISIS but additionally talk about Saudi Arabia, but then they stop there. This is also a convenient position to take which does not upset the comfortability of American Muslims.
Ayleya said that to truly solve the problem, we have to understand the deep roots of the global Zionist lobby and how Western imperialism works hand in hand with Wahabbi “takfiris” (meaning one who labels non-Wahabbis as ‘kuffar,’ meaning non-believers, such as Sunnis, Shiites, and Christians) to create a state of perpetual war and suffering. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel were established by Britain for similar purposes of dividing and conquering the Middle East. Splitting the human family and pitting people against each other for the sake of money and power is the opposite of the justice and peace that should exist on this earth.
He pointed to the fact that millions of dollars are spent on mosques in America, but that these millions are worthless if the board of directors of these mosques tell the scholars and religious lecturers that they are forbidden to hold lectures and events about Quds Day, an annual international day of pro-Palestine solidarity set up by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
The mentality behind such mosques turn them from Islamic centers into cultural centers and social clubs, and those who get the short end of the stick are the youth and American converts.
To counter this problem of youth defection from Islamic communities, Muslim Congress is on the forefront of outreach to youth, empowering communities and centers to strengthen their English programming so that the youth can become the conscience of their society.
By shifting this paradigm away from supporting oppression to supporting the oppressed, Muslims will begin to have an even bigger positive influence on society, which they currently do have but not at the potential that they want it to rise to.
If Muslims were to stand up for restoring the US Constitution, which has been destroyed over the past decades by a government that is sold out to the major banks and corporations, then American Muslims will be seen as far more patriotic than the Republicans and Democrats that currently hold office. Unlike the fake patriotism which blindly worships the corporate state and the unjust laws it passes, American Muslims standing for real American ideals will dispel much of the misinformation and hate directed at them.
Can humanity be saved from the bleak future that awaits us if we do not change our ways?
The conference made it clear that what has to happen are small acts of kindness, compassion, and stances for justice that will eventually become collectively organized acts of justice, and that the work of a tireless minority has historically always been the group that secures the rights of everyone in society.
From Rachel Corrie to the youth at Muslim Congress, people are already starting to be the change they wish to see in the world, and they are getting more and more organized as time goes on, and working as a community for change as opposed to individually will be a force to be reckoned with.
As American Muslims increase their intersectional activism with non-Muslim Americans, the ruling class should start to fear the people, they should fear the day when they will watch their rigged world of death and hate will turn into a just world of life and love.
As far as this group of American Muslims are concerned, the Democratic Party is not their friend and they will not be token pawns of any political party.
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