Official USCMO Statement Regarding Emgage
Oct. 8, 2020 - In recent weeks, numerous Muslim and Palestinian Americans have expressed concern about reported ties between Emgage and Emgage leaders with anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian groups. Some of the specific concerns expressed to USCMO relate to:
- Emgage board members participating in the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), an offensive program which seeks to undermine Muslim solidarity with the cause of Palestinian freedom.
- Emgage directly partnering with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which weaponizes Islamophobia, lobbies to restrict the right to boycott for human rights, and regularly smears American Muslims who speak up for Palestinian human rights, including elected officials like Rep. Ilhan Omar, among other unacceptable conduct.
- Emgage and Emgage leadership directly working with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which has praised anti-Muslim bigots like Daniel Pipes and Ayaan Hirsi Ali while also targeting Muslim Americans who support Palestinian freedom, among other Islamophobic conduct.
Over the past month, USCMO has been working to investigate these concerns, address them with our friends at Emgage, and develop a positive way forward. Despite strong efforts by everyone involved and some progress, we were not able to reach an agreement. As a result, Emgage is no longer a member of USCMO.
We regret this outcome. However, all USCMO members must fully maintain the Muslim community’s united support for causes of justice here and abroad, including the cause of Palestinian freedom.
Put simply, it is unacceptable for a Muslim organization to collaborate with organizations that harm the Muslim community, or for the leaders of a Muslim organization to collaborate with organizations that harm the Muslim community.
Although Emgage has now said that it does not currently engage in any "joint programming" with the ADL or the AJC, Emgage and its leadership have not addressed their other direct collaboration with these groups. Nor has Emgage pledged that the organization and its leaders will cease directly working with these groups.
These groups do not simply have an "inconsistent track record on standing up to Islamophobia and on Palestinian rights," as Emgage describes. They have a consistent track record of engaging in Islamophobia, especially against Muslims who support Palestinian human rights.
American Muslims have nothing to fear from the ADL, the AJC, Hindutva, or other groups that regularly undermine and attack our community. We must not directly work with them. We must stand up to them. And we must engage in politics without sacrificing our principles.
To that end, we encourage our brothers and sisters at Emgage to clearly, specifically and publicly bar itself and its leaders from directly partnering with all of these harmful groups so that our community can reunite on common principles.
In the meantime, USCMO members will continue our history of advancing Muslim political and civic engagement by working to mobilize Muslim voters to make their voices heard in the critical 2020 election and beyond, insha Allah.
Finally, USCMO would like to thank the entire community for its patience as we worked through this situation. We especially appreciate the community members who brought their concerns to our attention.
We encourage you to continue holding all USCMO members accountable for our obligation to serve our nation in accordance with the values of our community and our faith.
US Council of Muslim Organizations
*AMP is a co-founding member of the USCMO.