Talking to (and About) The Muslim American Society

Talking to (and About) The Muslim American Society, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, November 4, 2017

The Muslim Brotherhood founded the Muslim American Society in 1993. In 2003 the Muslim American Society of Minnesota was incorporated as an affiliate of Muslim American Society. The MAS-MN puts it this way: “[A] number of activists of the Islamic movement launched the [MAS] in 1992 [sic] to complement the work that has been accomplished in the last four decades and to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has posted a useful account of the MAS here. The MAS-MN’s use of the term “activists” in its canned history is illustrative of the MAS approach to public relations for an American audience.

As Andrew McCarthy explains in his invaluable 2010 book, the MAS is engaged in The Grand Jihad. Looking into the MAS here for the Weekly Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross “found that MAS–except in its most public of statements–is quite open about its agenda and allegiances.” Its agenda is the Islamization of the United States and its allegiance is to the Muslim Brotherhood. In his 2005 Weekly Standard article Gartenstein-Ross specifically discussed the MAS-MN.

Minnesota of course has its own growing core of “activists.” The MAS-MN puts it this way: “In Minnesota, Islamic activists began gathering in 2001 to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century. In 2003 the [MAS-MN] was incorporated as an affiliate of Muslim American Society.”

Readers with a long memory may recall the Islamic charter (i.e., public) school known as the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in suburban St. Paul. Based on the explosive reporting of then Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten, the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit against TiZA for operating a religious school with public funds.

TiZA had been founded by a pair of imams who doubled as top leaders of MAS-MN. One of them served as principal of the school and proved himself to be a voluble liar in conventional Western terms. See, for example, Greg Pratt’s excellent 2012 City Pages retrospective article “The truth about TiZA.”. I can’t find the officers of MAS-MN on its site but I think the former TiZA principal in fact serves as the MAS-MN’s executive director.

I mention this because one of the candidates contending for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (Keith Downey) recently spoke to the MAS-MN. Indeed, he was the only GOP candidate to accept the group’s invitation to appear at the candidates’ forum during MAS-MN recent Minneapolis convention. Downey’s speech was quoted in the daily email newsletter on state politics written by Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican. The text of Downey’s speech is posted in full on his campaign Facebook page and embedded below. Coolican quoted Downey saying this:

So what can the Muslim American Society expect from me as your Governor? First, I do believe in you. That stems from my Christian faith and belief that each of us is created in the image of God – everyone in this room, everyone up here, everyone out there – and as such you are infinitely valuable, with creative potential, morally relevant, and accountable for your actions. That is the foundation of America. It’s why Republicans and our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and gave them the right to vote. It means that as Governor, I will treat you exactly the same as any other person in our state. Exactly the same. I will defend your freedoms: of religion, speech, and assembly. You will receive the exact same protections. And I will fight for you – and everyone else – every day, for your opportunity in life, here in Minnesota.

Coolican commented, “That’s the carrot. There was plenty of stick, too,” quoting this:

I will defund sanctuary cities and freeze refugee resettlement until an airtight vetting process is in place and we can establish a resettlement volume that Minnesota can afford and assimilate….Minnesotans generally don’t know the Muslim community’s goals, and so our political discussion is hampered and inflamed. You can fix that by stepping forward to assure the people of Minnesota that the Muslim community embraces the American melting pot, that there is no interest to end our constitutional system and replace it with Sharia law, that the goal is to become American while maintaining Muslim communities’ ethnic and religious distinctiveness, and that like everyone else you simply want your chance at the American dream.

Coolican commented favorably on the two excerpts he quoted: “All in all, it’s admirable, for whatever you think of his message. He will win few if any Muslim votes at the GOP convention or in a GOP primary or in a general election — and yet he goes to the event and states his principles, even when they clash with the crowd’s. We don’t do much persuading in politics these days. Mostly, we just inflame our bases.”

I had a different reaction. I wrote Coolican: “Speaking as a core Republican voter, I would like to mention this. The Muslim American Society is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. That Keith Downey went to speak to them and said what he said tells me he is an idiot.”

Coolican asked for my permission to quote my email in his newsletter the next day. I gave him my permission, but I would revise my comment to say that Downey was on a fool’s errand rather than that he is an idiot. It is nevertheless late in the day to have to make the necessary points.

Yesterday Downey called me to talk in a friendly spirit about what he was up to. He asked if I had read his speech in its entirety; I hadn’t. I have done so now and I think Coolican fairly represented it. It is a speech expressing admirable sentiments in good faith, but it is apparent that the speaker doesn’t understand whom he is talking to. That was my point.

Downey told me that the MAS-MN has disavowed the Muslim Brotherhood. I can’t find the disavowal on its site. Maybe it’s there, I just can’t find it in a quick look around. I told Downey that the disavowal doesn’t impress me. One can see it in the well-known 2004 Chicago Tribune article on the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. It is a familiar part of the MAS public relations package.

Downey told me he received a chilly reception from the MAS-MN but that he viewed the group as a local organization whose members he would serve as constituents if he were governor. He distinguished MAS-MN from CAIR (which also has a Minnesota chapter) in this respect. He said he would not speak to CAIR Minnesota if invited.

I don’t have a favorite among the declared GOP candidates for governor. I have nothing against Keith Downey. I appreciated his call. I would support him if he were nominated. In Minnesota, however, we have a serious problem that is aggravated by the Star Tribune. It is, moreover, a difficult problem even for knowledgeable and worthy candidates to discuss in a candid fashion. I think Downey misfired in this case by treating MAS-MN as a sectarian interest group like any other rather than by taking a pass or calling it out.

NOTE: This is the text of Keith Downey’s speech to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. It’s a pleasure to be here.

I’m running for Governor for a crystal clear purpose…to Make Minnesota Work for Everyone.

I was born and raised in Minnesota, and our state provided great opportunities and a wonderful life. But so many people don’t see their opportunity here anymore. Minnesota isn’t working for everyone. And more and more we see a failure to thrive in Minnesota.

I’m running because we can’t just live in the past. We’re losing great people, farms, businesses, capital, and the vitality of our state. Government is coming at us, not from us. Liberal Democrat policies are destroying our inner cities’ schools, businesses, neighborhoods and families, and now they’re pushing their failed policies onto greater Minnesota.

I believe in you. And I trust Minnesotans, not bigger government, for our future. We need results, not excuses in state government.

I’m running to make Minnesota work for everyone – to grow new and better jobs, fix the schools that are failing, reduce state government, and get back to what works. And I’m asking you to join the cause!

So what can the Muslim American Society expect from me as your Governor?

First, I do believe in you. That stems from my Christian faith and belief that each of us is created in the image of God – everyone in this room, everyone up here, everyone out there – and as such you are infinitely valuable, with creative potential, morally relevant, and accountable for your actions. That is the foundation of America. It’s why Republicans and our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and gave them the right to vote.

It means that as Governor, I will treat you exactly the same as any other person in our state. Exactly the same.

I will defend your freedoms: of religion, speech, and assembly. You will receive the exact same protections. And I will fight for you – and everyone else – every day, for your opportunity in life, here in Minnesota.

It also means that I will expect you – and everyone else – to live up to the same obligations to obey the laws, to live by our constitution, and to live peaceably in a pluralist society – E Pluribus Unum.

As Governor, my first duty is to protect our citizens. So you can count on me to work with you to prevent recruitment and radicalization by Islamic terrorists, to defend the rule of law and support our police, and to protect your communities from the horrendous impact of a religiously motivated terrorist incident and from illegal practices like female genital mutilation that violate your faith.

I will defund sanctuary cities and freeze refugee resettlement until an airtight vetting process is in place and we can establish a resettlement volume that Minnesota can afford and assimilate.

While not easy, my commitments on these issues are ultimately for the good of your communities and our state, and I look forward to discussing them here today and ongoing.

Let me leave you with this. You have an incredible opportunity right now as leaders of the Muslim community.

Minnesotans generally don’t know the Muslim community’s goals, and so our political discussion is hampered and inflamed. You can fix that by stepping forward to assure the people of Minnesota that the Muslim community embraces the American melting pot, that there is no interest to end our constitutional system and replace it with Sharia law, that the goal is to become American while maintaining Muslim communities’ ethnic and religious distinctiveness, and that like everyone else you simply want your chance at the American dream.

Please, don’t take the Democrats’ identity politics bait and reduce yourselves to just one more of their grievance groups, pitted against others.

My commitment to you as Governor is that I will be there, believing in you and working with you. And together, we can truly Make Minnesota Work for Everyone, including our Muslim community.

My sincerest hope is that you’ll join the cause!

Thank you again for having me.

The text of the speech is posted here on Facebook.

Explore posts in the same categories: Islamists in America, Keith Downey, Minnesota Muslims, Minnesota politics, Muslim American Society, Muslim Brotherhood, Republicans

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s