, Founder and president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Since 9/11, Muslim reformers have been at the forefront of the fight against global Islamist forces. We have watched in horror as modern Islamism, a theocratic political ideology aimed at replacing secular law with clerical interpretation of sharia law, has made common cause with progressivists under the guise of “social justice.” Deeply illiberal organizations such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society have become the community sources for politicians, academics and left-leaning journalists to obtain the “Muslim perspective.” Meanwhile, the real secular and liberal Muslims have been propelled to the fringe, cast off as “Islamophobes” and “native informants” merely for trying to root out the closet-extremists and theocrats in our midst.
Now, a second pseudo-progressive, Orwellian movement has emerged that, in the same spirit of modern Islamism, is perceived to be about one cause while fiercely committed to another. Having achieved confounding levels of deception by generating a moniker that is undoubtedly true, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is now at the top of the cultural food chain, uninhibited by moral and political constraints. Its self-appointed defenders in the media, universities, corporations and entertainment industry genuinely believe that ending police brutality and building a racially just and equitable society is all it seeks. But take a deep dive into BLM’s website, and the organization’s true objectives are plain for all to see.
BLM, like its American Islamist brethren, is avowedly neo-Marxist, anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, anti-democratic and anti-American. It wishes to erase and rewrite America’s history, destroy and rebuild her institutions, and overthrow her political system. In short, it seeks to remake the entire country in its own image. Both movements’ unwavering allegiance to identity politics, ideological conformity and totalitarian tactics betray the carefully cultivated image portrayed by their allies. Those who dare criticize the movements are publicly shamed or canceled and fraudulently charged with racism or Islamophobia, regardless of whether they are black or Muslim themselves. Look at the many individuals fired from their employment for questioning BLM over this past month in order to gauge the high priests of censorship at work.
Whether at the United Nations, where oppressive, despotic nations such as China, Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Qatar work against American interests, or in Congress, where the “Squad” shills for both the domestic radicals of BLM and the Islamist movements, the world’s “Red-Green Axis” has landed in our streets.
Though the masses are largely oblivious to the strategic doublespeak, the goals of these groups are explicit. “We’re trained Marxists,” co-founder Patrisse Cullors proudly admitted. Co-founder Opal Tometi considers the brutal and corrupt Maduro regime in socialist Venezuela a “participatory democracy” with a “fair, transparent election system.” “I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work,” wrote Alicia Garza in referring to Assata Shakur, a violent murderer on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.
And BLM’s list of demands, which reads like socialist code, is even more revealing. In its own words, BLM wishes to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” a demand that many black leaders have publicly decried and repudiated, pointing to the fact that absent fathers is one of the most pressing issues currently plaguing the black community. BLM’s coalition website, The Movement for Black Lives, lists a “radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth” as demand number one.
In the same spirit of dismantling free enterprise, Islamist activists such as Linda Sarsour, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are not shy about their vision for restructuring America as a socialist state. Omar Suleiman, America’s leading Islamic cleric, who has been hailed as a progressive voice for political change, at one point admitted that Western notions of liberty, freedom, justice, mercy and fairness are “problematic,” as a Muslim.
Both BLM and modern Islamism are street-led movements whose members, whether clerics or activists, see themselves as grassroots revolutionaries—not modest reformers. They are akin to the Red Guards of Mao’s Chinese Revolution, or the citizens’ revolt of the French Revolution. Driven by nihilism, they tear down historical statues, ban book, and rename institutions. Global Islamist tyrants have been engaging in this behavior for decades, the most notable being the destruction of Palmyra and other ancient sites by ISIS and the Taliban’s bombing of the 1700-year-old, 8,200-feet Buddhas of Banyan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And while we were initially led to believe BLM only wished to topple Confederate statues, we have now seen abolitionists, Founding Fathers, Civil War Union heroes and former slaves themselves all come down at the hands of BLM activists. Similarly, TV shows are being canceled, movie scenes removed, names, logos and mascots of schools and consumer products changed. Ironically, as Islamists publicly cheer on these acts of vandalism, they ignore or rationalize our own history as slave owners, which includes the Prophet Muhammad. Jonathan Brown at Georgetown University trafficked in such apologetic polemics when he went so far as to defend the roots of Islamist slavery.
On a global scale, the most obvious link between BLM and modern Islamism is the embrace of anti-Semitism—from French anti-racist protestors shouting “dirty Jews,” to multiple anti-Semitism scandals plaguing BLM U.K., to the arbitrary and glaring anti-Israel clause inserted into BLM’s original charter. In the same way, anti-Semitism has been a defining feature of modern-day Islamists, from the Muslim Brotherhood to New York City’s notorious Imam Siraj Wahhaj. The overlap on this point is significant. Melina Abdullah, the head organizer of BLM Los Angeles, is also an Islamist supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who famously compared Jews to “termites” and “bloodsuckers.” He referred to Hitler as “a very great man” and attributes gay marriage, abortion and anal sex to the “Satanic influence of the Talmudic Jews.” Speaking of Farrakhan, posting videos of this Jew-hating, misogynist homophobe on social media in support of Black Lives Matter has recently become a favorite hobby of Hollywood celebrities and major league athletes.
Anti-Israel organizations have been flooding their social media feeds with messages of BLM solidarity. American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a grassroots organization that the Anti-Defamation League has said provides a platform for anti-Semitism, promotes BLM protests and now hosts a monthly webinar series called, “Let’s Talk About BLM.” Ironically, AMP’s newest national development coordinator, Mohammed Habbeh, has repeatedly referred to blacks as abeed, the Arabic word for “slaves.” On social media, he has made racist jokes about Somalis and said that if he ever dated a black girl, his mother would think he had AIDS. Similarly, Islamist Samer Alhato was once invited to speak at a BLM protest in Chicago. Alhato’s social media is replete with racist content, including the vile claim that blacks are “monkeys” who lack “working brain cells.” So much for intersectional anti-racism.
Both BLM and modern Islamism are cut from the same cloth; they are victim-obsessed, ethnocentric struggles that frame every difference of outcome in terms of identity, whether race or religion. They are the commissars of the thought police, the connoisseurs of cultural demagoguery. Whether out of allegiance or fear, we have witnessed the entire Democratic Party and swaths of the Republican Party fall into lockstep with their narrative. The only way to fight them is to recognize their strategic similarities and recommit ourselves to authentic ideological diversity. No race should bend the knee to any other, for we are all equal in the eyes of God.