Islamism in US Politics: Examining a Proposed Massachusetts Bill and Islamist Propaganda Tactics

Islamism in US Politics: Examining a Proposed Massachusetts Bill and Islamist Propaganda Tactics
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The Massachusetts State Senate is currently considering a bill petitioned by State Senator James Eldridge that proposes to establish a commission that would “identify and recommend qualified American Muslims for appointive positions at all levels of government, including boards and commissions”.  This Bill has been flagged as unconstitutional by legal scholars, including Steve Resnicoff of the DePaul College of Law who notes, “It would clearly violate the principle of separation of church and state”. How is it that Sen. Eldridge, who earned a law degree from the Boston College Law School, not know about it?

While the millions of Muslims in the US freely practice their faith and go about their lives as does every other American, a few activist groups are on a mission to bring their religious identity into politics. From Eldridge’s Facebook posts, it appears that groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and JETPAC are behind the Bill. JETPAC, the acronym stands for “Justice Education Technology Political Advocacy Center”: however, the organization “seeks to build a strong American Muslim political infrastructure and increase our community’s influence and engagement”. Interesting. We wonder what is the “technology” they use or build to increase their “community’s influence”. While there is nothing wrong with communities celebrating their heritage and advocating for themselves, the antecedents of these particular groups should be cause for alarm. According to Politico, CAIR and its leaders have long been in the crosshairs of law enforcement and named in a case as unindicted co-conspirators for providing material support to Hamas. CAIR’s Massachusetts’ Executive Director Tahirah Amatul-Wadud — named in the social media posts of Eldridge — has served as the lawyer for an extremist group “Muslims of America” which has sent its members to Pakistan for indoctrination and military training.

Mixing religion and politics should be a cause for alarm as it can destroy the fabric of a nation. For example, at the height of India’s movement for independence, Islamist ideologues rejected the idea that India’s Hindus and Muslims could co-exist in a single nation, leading to the partition of the Indian subcontinent and the displacement and genocide of millions of people, on a scale comparable to the Holocaust. The subtext then, in India, and the subtext now, in the US, twenty-two years after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, is that “Muslims are in danger,” and that “Islamophobia” is a threat to American diversity and democracy.  That Muslims and Islam are in danger in the US is an idea that has now percolated to every school, college, diversity center, and media house courtesy the billions that oil-rich Muslim nations have poured into American politics, academe, media, and K Street. The trope that “Islam/Muslims are in danger/are victims and targets of hate,” is used to polarize society and generate an irrational emotional response to win support from politicians like Eldridge.

CAIR and other Muslim groups such as the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) have used these toolkits to build support for their transnational pan-Islamist causes. While the separatist worldview is rooted in the causes they support — Palestine or Kashmir, for example — they are cleverly camouflaged under the garb of human rights and minority oppression, while building common cause with social justice movements now spreading across America today. For example, IAMC has been relentlessly and falsely promoting the propaganda that Muslims are threatened in India, despite the lack of empirical evidence. That Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution in Congress and took to Twitter to claim that two hundred million Indian Muslims are under a genocidal threat goes to show the extent and audacity of Muslim propaganda that has gained traction in the highest of American establishments – political, academic, military, media, and diplomatic.

In 2019, after the Indian Government fully integrated the State of Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Union, this propaganda became even more shrill, with allegations that a Muslim genocide was imminent, so much so that even the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, carried an article on this alleged threat facing Muslims! Contrary to their false propaganda, Kashmir has seen a remarkable transformation since then, with once rampant Islamist militancy brought under control, numerous development projects launched, and tourism in the region booming with a record 1.8 million tourists visiting Kashmir. FDI inflows have begun to trickle in, with Dubai’s Emaar Group announcing an investment of $62.5 million to build a network of malls in Kashmir that is projected to generate 7,000 to 8,000 jobs.

Also in the crosshairs of the Islamists are any groups or politicians who they feel may thwart their agenda. Several Hindu American politicians running for office have thus been attacked and smeared as supremacists/fascists. One of the most blatant of such attacks was on Sri Preston Kulkarni. They have also succeeded in using local political units as proxies to launch these attacks so they can cover their tracks. An example of this was an unprecedented resolution passed by the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee attacking almost every major Hindu American organization, including Hindu faith-based charity Sewa International. The resolution sought to tarnish the reputation of highly regarded organizations. Sewa, for example, serves all humanity and is active across the globe. Its volunteers have helped the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, evacuated thousands of students from Ukraine upon the start of the war, distributed thousands of Oxygen concentrators at the height of the Delta wave, distributed food rations in Pakistan and Kenya to provide relief from food shortages, and raised money to help the earthquake affected in Turkiye. In the perverse worldview of Islamists, the rising profile of such groups and the goodwill they generate for Hindu Americans in the broader American consciousness is seen as a threat to their own political agenda.

It is time for both political parties and their local units to wise-up to such propaganda tactics often couched in values of human rights, social justice, inclusion or countering Islamophobia, and not let them become a Trojan horse for approving legislation such as S.1994 which aim to promote one religion, Islam, above all others, because it will not end well for the American society. In the text of the Bill, this clause, among others, is the most dangerous: (5) identify and recommend qualified American Muslims for appointive positions at all levels of government, including boards and commissions, as the commission considers necessary and appropriate….” The Bill might as well have been introduced in Pakistan or Turkiye or Sudan. That it has made its way to the Massachusetts State Legislature goes to show the power and the influence of the Muslim lobby in the United States now, their increased ability to manipulate and gain power, and propagandize their wishes to demonize and terrorize others.

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"Garuda" has lived in the US for several decades and works in the IT industry. He writes on topics that lie at the intersection of identity, politics, and religion.