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News Analysis

Brotherhood Interfaith Partners Pounce on Anti-Jihad Subway Ads

Tue, October 9, 2012

Ryan Mauro

Interfaith allies of the Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S. are now jumping into the controversy over the pro-Israel, anti-jihad advertisements in New York City subways. Their outcry is not a spontaneous reaction to "hate speech." It is part of an organized pushback against critics of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, adopting "Islamophobia" as their line of attack.

The ads merely state, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." The premise is simple and true: Israel is civilized and is targeted by jihadist savages. All the ads do is acknowledge that there is a jihad. It did not assert or imply that all or most Muslims are part of this jihad or that the jihad is legitimate according to Islam.

Nonetheless, the ads were accused of branding all Muslims as terrorists.  Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said, "You are talking about people like me being called a ‘savage.’” Interfaith groups eager to show off their bona fides sprung into action, nonetheless.

It is not an exaggeration to say these interfaith groups are part of a coalition friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood-originated groups in the U.S. and their agenda. On March 13, the group Shoulder-to-Shoulder published a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressing its outrage against the New York Police Department's showing of The Third Jihad, a documentary that exposes the Brotherhood origins of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The signatories blasted it as "bigoted" even though it is narrated by a devout Muslim, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. The President of ISNA is a member of Shoulder-to-Shoulder's Executive Committee.

On July 6, the Presbyterian Church USA came within a hair's breadth of approving divestment from Israel, winning applause from ISNA. The measure was defeated 333 to 331, only two votes. The Brotherhood affiliates' interfaith allies were again deployed when five members of Congress, with Rep. Michele Bachmann being the most prominent, wrote well-documented letters requesting inquiries into the influence of these affiliates in the U.S. government. Over 40 groups, bringing together churches with atheists, responded with their own letter dismissing the allegations and endorsing ISNA and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

Participants in these Brotherhood-friendly campaigns are now taking aim at the subway ads. United Methodist Women put up counter-ads saying, "Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed." The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society signed the pro-ISNA and pro-MPAC letter.

The Interfaith Center of New York organized a joint condemnation of the ads. One of the media contacts in its press release was Muneer Awad, Executive Director of CAIR. Sponsors included ISNA, the Muslim Day Parade (which featured extremism offensive enough to make a Democratic State Senator to walk off the stage) and two groups founded by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society of Muslim Advancement. Rauf, who supports the elimination of Israel, is a Vice Chairman of the Interfaith Center of New York. The Interfaith Center is also a member of Shoulder-to-Shoulder and endorsed the March 13 letter to Mayor Bloomberg.

The WESPAC Foundation also endorsed the condemnation. It was the sponsor of a Viva Palestina event in Manhattan on July 14, 2009. This is an Islamist group led by the ferociously anti-American George Galloway and it is friendly with Hamas. Its website condemns the "continuing injustices by the U.S. and Israel" and a "permanent end" to U.S. military aid to Israel. It demands that Israel release "all Arab political prisoners" and end "ethnic cleansing" and "collective punishment."

"We also affirm the right of all people to resist occupation and oppression," the WESPAC website says. That sounds like an endorsement of violence, especially considering that WESPAC sponsored Viva Palestina. WESPAC depicts the U.S. as an evil imperialist nation, standing against the "illegal invasion and current occupation" of Iraq and Afghanistan and "larger U.S. strategies for hegemony in the region including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."

The double-standard here is unbelievable. WESPAC had anti-Israel ads put up in New York City subways on September 5, 2011, including one with a photo that gave the impression that an Israeli soldier was using his gun to intimidate three women. The pro-Israel activist group, Stand With Us, responded with its own pro-Israel ads demanding that the Palestinian Authority stop teaching hate.

At that time, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said both ads fell under the First Amendment. This time, the MTA lost a court battle when it tried to stop the pro-Israel, anti-jihad ads from being posted. Now, it has changed its rules so it can reject ads that "imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of peace."

The leader of Jews Against Islamophobia, Maureen Silverman, took part in the interfaith condemnation of the ads. Her organization is actually a coalition consisting of three groups: Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and Jews Say No!

The lattermost group is saying "no" to Israel. It stands in "opposition to the siege of Gaza and to Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people." It boasts of sending aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Its website links to two reports defending the innocence of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and even the Brotherhood itself. For this group, this fight is about Israel. Fighting "Islamophobia" is just the method.

Three other groups involved in the fight against the ads are the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Each one signed at least one of the letters written in the campaign to defend the Brotherhood affiliates.

These groups want to frame the issue as one they can win on: Islamophobia. But that isn't the real issue here. For some, the issue is American support for Israel. For others, it's their desire to enjoy the affection of the Brotherhood groups that want to take this opportunity to bash one of their critics.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.