• Aslam Abdullah

Emgage! Where is the Transparency? Dismantle the Muslim PAC serving the anti-Muslim groups?

Updated: Sep 13

More than 30 prominent Muslim activists issued a statement condemning Emgage, a Muslim PAC, for its anti-Muslim policies and positions. They say that Emgage ignored and compromised the interests of the constituencies it claims to represent.

The activists demanded that the Biden campaign remove Farooq Mitha, his Muslim advisor, Muslim individuals and group drop any affiliation with Emgage and chastize its leadership.

The statement came after a Palestinian writer published a detailed article on Emgage's Israel connections. But it is not only Emgage's Zionist relationship, but its refusal to condemn Hindutva fascist forces that raises several serious questions about the organization that brought Joe Biden to address to Muslims after the confirmation of his nomination as a Democratic presidential candidate.

Prominent organizations of Muslim Americans of Indian origin wrote Emgage about their past support to Sri Preston Kulkarni in TX-22 Congressional District, backed by the Hindutva fascist groups, and requested to withdraw it in 2020. Emgage leaders ignored the request entirely. An inside source revealed that Emgage does not value Muslim Americans of Indian origin because "they do not donate to Emgage."

Reports are Many high-ranking members of Emgage, including board members, chairs, founders, and the CEO, worked in lockstep with AIPAC, the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a well as Hindutva fascists.

The activists gave details of the following Emgage connections with the supporters of the apartheid state of Israel.

• Board Member Farooq Mitha, also Joe Biden's Muslim Engagement Advisor, boasted to former employees that he was an AIPAC member and attended AIPAC events.

• Emgage CEO Wael Alzayat served as an "expert" at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) supported by AIPAC.

• Emgage Co-Chair Khurrum Wahid attended MLI in 2015. Along with Mitha, he also hosted a fundraiser in 2010 for former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami-area Republican and one of Israel's most far-right Congress supporters. MLI is a propaganda-laden trip to Israel sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute, which works closely with the Israeli military is behind the MLI. It receives funds from the Russell Berrie Foundation, which funds Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes, two known Islamophobes.

• Emgage Texas Executive Director Nabila Mansoor attended MLI meetings. Mansoor also gave a talk at South by Southwest (SXSW) with a panel including the Alumni Director for MLI, Maital Friedman, where they talked about the benefits of MLI.

In June 2019, Nabila issued a statement through Facebook distancing from MLI. This is her statement: "Friends, I have been approached by many of you, with genuine concerns, regarding my views around an organization called the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI).

This was a program I took part in a few years ago. When I joined the program, I did so under an understanding that there were no commitments or expectations after the program. My intentions were to learn about ways in which we could come together to help solve a humanitarian crisis that I was passionate about. However, I see today the harm participating in this program has caused many in our community and understands that it was not in the best interests of our mutual desires for justice. With the information I have today I would NOT take part in this program.

I will continue to push for work that brings people together, including people from different faiths, backgrounds, and experiences, as I always have. Understand that going forward, I will do this with input from the community regarding the most effective and appropriate means of engagement. As always, my primary commitment is to bring together the people of Sugar Land, and making Sugar Land a better place to live, work, learn, and play.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to me personally so we can engage."

In its rebuttal of the article, Emgage stated clarification rather than denial of its relationship with the USA's pro-Israeli groups. It said: As always, we are committed to standing up for Muslim Americans' diverse community across America in political and civic engagement." It also asserted that it has always supported the Palestinian people's human rights and freedom and actively supports initiatives to protect and uplift Palestinians. They continue to endure unimaginable suffering and hardship. It explained that it opposes the continued occupation of Palestinian lands and Israeli settlement activities that displace them from their homes and heritage. Emgage claims that it supports the BDS movement and the Right of Return of Palestinians — or providing those displaced and their descendants with fair compensation, should they accept it. Emgage also opposes Israeli force and coercion against Palestinians, rather than diplomacy and negotiations. We strongly support a peaceful and negotiated settlement of this issue.

However, Emgage did not give any explanation of its ties with MLI and AIPAC.

Both the Palestinian and Indian Muslim issues are the concerns of these two communities and those who believe in human dignity and rights. The two groups will decide the nature of their struggle, not the Emgage or anyone else. Emgage does not have the political or moral rights to speak on behalf of these communities. Emgage leaders can say and do whatever suits their interests, but they cannot claim that they have the right to bargain with the Palestinians' interests or Indian Muslims.

Muslim Americans have to be careful about those who claim to represent them. Emgage's failure to represent them honestly has raised questions about its integrity and transparency. Emgage failed to have openness and concealed its real agenda and dubious relations with Hindutva fascists and Zionist human rights violators. The entire board should resign, and Muslims should look for an alternative to create a transparent group that respects them and represent their interests with integrity.


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© Aslam Abdullah