On 13 December 2021, a coalition of US NGOs and Muslim Brotherhood groups published an open letter urging Members of Congress to vote “Yes” on a newly introduced law aimed at combating Islamophobia in the US and internationally. One day later, the “Combating International Islamophobia Act” passed the House of Representatives with a narrow vote of 219 – 212. According to a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) press release :
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined 53 organizations in a letter to members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives urging they vote “YES” on Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Jan Schakowsky’s Combating International Islamophobia Act (H.R. 5665). The bill is expected to receive a vote on the House floor sometime tomorrow.
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The “Combating International Islamophobia Act” (HR 5665) was initially introduced in the House by Rep. Ilhan Omar(D‑MN) in October 2021 and co-sponsored by 56 members of the Democratic Party, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, serving as the US Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district. On 15 December 2021, the bill was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. The bill seeks to establish a new Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia within the US Department of State and tasked with monitoring and combating “acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement in foreign countries.” If signed into law, the bill also would require existing annual reports to Congress about human rights and religious freedom in foreign countries to include information about Islamophobia, such as information about acts of physical violence or harassment of Muslims. The reports would also include Instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote hatred towards Muslims.
In their letter, the groups stated that anti-Muslim rhetoric, bigotry, and acts of violence went together with the rise of political parties that “outwardly attack the rights of Muslims, especially in France and other parts of Europe.” Co-signatories included CAIR and a large number of other US Muslim groups tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and the Hamas support network, including:
- United States Council of Muslim Organizations, comprising 35 member organizations, almost half known to be part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and including almost every important component of the GMB in the US.
- MPower Change, a Muslim advocacy NGO that has cooperated with important organizations in the US MB and whose Executive Director Linda Sarsour has family ties to Hamas.
- Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice, an important part of the US MB.
- Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), a US think-tank whose board of directors includes numerous individuals tied to the GMB.
- American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to both the US Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas support infrastructure in the US.
- Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, a recently established political advocacy group, associated with AMP.
- EMGAGE Action, a Political Action Campaign associated with EMGAGE USA, a Muslim civil society organization tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood whose board member Farooq Mitha has served as Joe Biden’s former senior advisor on Muslim American engagement.
- JETPAC Resource Center, part of a Muslim political action committee led by CAIR-Massachusetts board member Nadeem Mazen.
- Muslim American Society (MAS), part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization.
- Muslim Public Affairs Council, established as the Political Action Committee of the Islamic Center of Southern California, whose early leaders had backgrounds suggesting they were associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported earlier on bill sponsors Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib’s own ties to US Muslim Brotherhood groups.
In early 2021, US Muslim Brotherhood groups had already called on President Biden to appoint a State Department special envoy dedicated to Islamophobia.
CAIR is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the US. It describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group” and was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time. The organization has repeatedly joined other groups with ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood in engaging Muslim citizens to participate in consultative meetings with legislative offices and state senators, highlighting the need to combat Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the US. Rep. Omar has a history of working together with and delivering speeches for CAIR.
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