USCMO Meets With Myanmar, OIC, Turkish Ambassadors Demanding Halt to Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing
(Washington, D.C., 9/15/17) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations in America, met separately in the last few days with the ambassadors of Myanmar, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Turkey, intensifying its international diplomatic campaign to immediately end the brutal ethnic cleansing and savage persecution of the Rohingya by Myanmar and to open all routes for their humanitarian assistance ahead of a comprehensive political solution.
"We held constructive meetings with each of the ambassadors, who obviously represent entities with very different positions and commitments regarding the Rohingya" says Oussama Jammal, USCMO Secretary General. "We focused on common ground to establish channels for American Muslims to help the Rohingya survive the catastrophe they face now and to undo the insupportable conditions that have allowed it for their future."
Jammal cautions that the meetings constituted "verbal affirmations" for "first steps" of cooperation with American Muslim organizations, particularly with Myanmar.
"We have considerable differences with Myanmar but came to several crucial in-principle agreements which we hope to announce jointly with its ambassador in a few days," he says.
"First and foremost, it is about creating in-person contact and dialogue with Myanmar Ambassador U Aung Lynn and finding ways to formalize and regularize both. Our push is to open a direct door for American Muslims to help alleviate the Rohingya's literally life-and-death needs now, to become firsthand observers of their conditions and to advocate for their human rights and political enfranchisement into the future."
USCMO representatives also met with OIC's Agshin Mediyev, ambassador for its permanent observer mission to the United Nations. They thanked him for the OIC's September 2 statement in defense of the Rohingya, but urged OIC Muslim member nations to take much more persuasive, unified diplomatic and economic actions against Myanmar, and to set comprehensive policies of humanitarian aid and enforced human rights protection for this stateless, downtrodden Muslim people with no champion. OIC and USCMO will continue their communications to monitor the situation in Myanmar.
USCMO also paid a special visit to the Turkish Embassy and expressed their gratitude to the Turkish people in standing up for the Rohingya in their meeting with Ambassador Serdar Kiliç. They commended in particular the initiative of First Lady Emine Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu for their recent visit to the Rohingya of the Kutupalong refugee camp. There they personally consoled wounded residents and distributed much needed aid, announcing Turkey's intention to supply as many as 100,000 Rohingya families with food, medicine, and winter necessities.
"We want the Turkish people to know that American Muslims have taken note of their president's witness on behalf of the Rohingya, that we seek to cooperate in upholding the Rohingya's human rights and in helping them recover their lives, rights, and future. Whatever their religion, it is about the greater good of all." Jammal says.
USCMO officials continue to vigorously pursue their diplomatic initiative on behalf of the Rohingya and will announce the results of their full slate of meetings scheduled with both American and international political and consulate representatives as they occur.
USCMO strongly urge American Muslims to continue to press their congressional representatives and Senators to enact a life-saving bill now in support of the beleaguered Rohingya.
Denouncing Myanmar's Massacre and "Textbook Ethnic Cleansing" of the Rohingya
(Washington, D.C., 9/11/2017) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations in America, strongly condemns the Myanmar government's ongoing systematic and categorical persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya civilian population, in flagrant neglect of the longstanding, urgent warnings by top UN officials against these unethical practices that are illegal under international law.
We are shocked and dismayed at State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's tacit approval of the recent mass deployment of the state army to indiscriminately brutalize the already abjectly dispossessed and shamefully despoiled Rohingya. We further denounce her perfidious and feeble justification of it-in the face of the near-universal international condemnation of her-in the tired name of terrorism.
Rather, Myanmar's political and military authorities have clearly descended to the disgraceful actions of terrorizing the Rohingya into leaving the lands and homes of their ancient birthright and legacy because of the depraved incitements of a base religious bigotry and political expedience, in what the UN has branded as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."
The Myanmar army's well-documented use of heavy artillery against unarmed innocents, along with rocket launchers and helicopter gunships, and its merciless program of burning out villagers, mass slaughter, rape, torture, and extrajudicial killings are utterly unconscionable acts of inhumanity. This unjustifiable systematized exercise of both a government's inherently coercive force and the use of its deadliest war machines against its own inhabitants constitutes sufficient cause to delegitimize the political leadership of any party or individual, even to revoke the claimed rights of nationhood of any complicit people.
That is the lesson of Nuremburg, and, indeed, it is by the standards of genocide that independent observers have now begun to measure Myanmar's political and military authorities' heartless assault on the havenless Rohingya, whom Myanmar has deliberately kept in a stateless status with no civil or human rights.
The sheer savagery of the Myanmar security forces against the Rohingya, especially in northern Arakan, since August 11-whether the Rohingya were cowering in their homes, fleeing upon the open road, hiding in the mountains, braving its jungles, or skirting its rivers and dales-leaves few other names than 'genocide' by which this mass atrocity may be called. Since August 25, an astounding 313,000 Rohingya have crossed the River Naf into Bangladesh in "urgent need of life-saving assistance," according to the International Organization for Migration.
The Myanmar government cannot contest these egregious facts by what the UN calls a "complete denial of reality" but only by allowing independent humanitarian agencies, including Muslim agencies, to minister to the cordoned-off Rohingya's grave traumas-mental, physical, and social-and by permitting independent media to tell their stories and human rights advocates to assess their allegations and conditions.
USCMO urges our United States government, the UN Security Council, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take concrete steps in holding the government of Myanmar responsible and accountable, to immediately demand the protection and enfranchisement of the Rohingya people, and to open safe passage for countries and relief organizations to provide the life-saving humanitarian assistance that the Rohingya now so desperately need.
USCMO asks president Donald Trump & Department of Justice to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/7/17) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim-American organizations, is firmly against the Trump Administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( DACA) and urges the president to keep it.
On Tuesday, September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice will move to repeal the DACA, an immigration policy that provides hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants the opportunity to legally reside in the United States of America, the only country they have ever known, to be able to grow, develop, and mature as Americans and as human beings.
Repealing DACA is not only detrimental to immigrants that have participated in this program, but harms us all by contradicting core American values. Our nation prides itself on the opportunities that we provide and the freedoms that we enjoy. To take these opportunities away from hard working, and contributing members of society is dehumanizing, discriminatory and un-American.
USCMO adds its voice in denouncing this action and ask members of congress to keep DACA because it is the right thing to do.
USCMO Urges the Community to Aid and Support Victims in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/29/17) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim-American organizations, offers its sympathies to the people of Texas and all those affected by the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
USCMO urges its community members to offer their support and assistance in any way to those affected whether it be donations, volunteer efforts or opening community centers to host those fleeing the devastation.
We commend the relief organizations who are actively engaging in relief efforts to those in need and encourage the community members to donate and help their efforts. Some of these organizations doing outstanding work include, United Muslim Relief, Zakat Foundation, ICNA Relief, Baitulmaal, Islamic Relief, IMANA, Pure Hands, Life for Relief and Development, and others.
USCMO prays for the safety of those in Hurricane Harvey's path and a speedy recovery for the communities that have witnessed loss and destruction.
USCMO Condemns the Brutal Attack by White Supremacists Against Peaceful Protestors in Charlottesville, VA
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/14/17) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim-American organizations, stands in solidarity with the city of Charlottesville, VA, and sends its sincere condolences to the victims and their families.
On Saturday, August 12, hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klu Klux Klan members held a rally where they clashed with counter protesters. During the rally a white supremacist plowed his car into the crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Virgnia State Patrol Officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates,41, were also killed when their helicopter crashed while en-route to respond to the chaos.
USCMO adds its voice in condemnation of violence and terrorism against peaceful protesters and calls on President Trump to be more clear and louder in denouncing these Neo-Nazi and racist groups who promote violence and division in our society. Furthermore, USCMO calls upon public officials, interfaith groups, and civic organizations to stand united against hate and bigotry. USCMO also urges the Muslim community to engage in public debate and to push-back against all types of hatred, racism and violence.
Muslim Groups Meet with State Department Officials to Discuss Al-Aqsa Mosque Crisis
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/10/17) - Representatives of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, met yesterday with State Department officials to discuss the ongoing Al-Aqsa Mosque crisis and Israel's denial of religious freedom in Jerusalem, which is holy to the three Abrahamic faiths.
During the meeting at the State Department, the USCMO delegation highlighted the religious significance of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque sanctuary - one of Islam's holiest site -- for the world's 1.6 billion Muslim, including the 6 million American Muslims. Officials assured the group the United States is committed to maintaining the safety and security of worshipers in Jerusalem.
"We wanted to convey to the State Department how deeply concerned we are about the incidents in Jerusalem and to make sure they understood the religious significance this site holds for American Muslims," said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary general. "We were encouraged by the constructive dialogue at the State Department on this important issues."
Two weeks of peaceful Palestinian protests and international pressure in July forced Israeli authorities to remove surveillance cameras they had installed at the gates to Al Aqsa. Palestinians and Muslims worldwide remain concerned about Israel's denial of religious rights for Muslims and Christians, and the ongoing Israeli effort to alter the religious landscape of Jerusalem.
USCMO member organizations represented at the meeting included Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO; Osma Abu-Irshaid, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP); Roula Allouch, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCSC); Dr. Zahid Bukhari and Dr. Mohsin Ansari, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Mir Masum Ali, Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA).
USCMO Holds 3rd Annual National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill
On Monday and Tuesday, May 1st-2nd, 2017 the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) held its third Annual National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. More than 400 activists representing 30 states convened on Capitol Hill to connect national, regional and state Muslim Organizations, community members and activists with their elected representatives.
The delegates met with around 230 elected officials and congressional staffers during this year's record-breaking Advocacy Day, despite the anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies disseminating from the White House. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen Corey Booker (D-NJ), Sen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Sen Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Congresswoman Terri A.Sewell (D-AL), Congressman Gary Palmer (D-AL), Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin were among the elected officials who met Muslim leaders and delegates.
USCMO'S advocacy day event focused on promoting a legislative agenda in support of equality and social justice issues that will be of benefit to all Americans, regardless of faith or background, including:
- A round up endorsement of people against the Muslim ban, religious questioning and registry legislation
- Supporting DREAMers and raising concerns about the Secure Communities Program's impact on civil liberties and immigrant communities
- Endorsing the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act
There are several bills in both House and the Senate that seek protection from the Presidential Executive Order on travel, effectively known as the Muslim Ban, as well as a registry based on religion. This year, the big ask was to .... Read More
USCMO vehemently condemns the growing wave in anti-Semitism in the US and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery
(WASHINGTON DC 2/23/2017) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations and institutions, strongly condemns the growing wave in anti-Semitism in the US, and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, MO.
In recent weeks, anti-Semitic activity has increased across the country, with swastikas and other hate speech graffitied on both Jewish buildings and public spaces such as subways, bomb threats being called into Jewish daycare's and community centers, and desecration of Jewish sacred spaces. "It is unconscionable that anyone would slip into a cemetery and vandalize it, destroying headstones and graves and disrespecting those who rest beneath them as well as their loved ones.", USCMO General Secretary Oussama Jammal said in a statement.
USCMO stands firm against racism and hate crimes, and calls on the Trump administration to cease its discriminatory rhetoric and anti-immigration/anti-Muslim tone which have led to attacks not only on the Jewish community, but other minorities as well.
USCMO's Response to Muslim Ban by President Trump
(Washington, D.C., 1/27/2017): The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations and institutions, expressed concern over President Trump's executive order to ban Muslim visitors, immigrants, and refugees from entering the United States.
The draft order calls for an immediate halt to resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States until further notice, and a 30 day halt on all issued immigrant and visitor visas from Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Libya and Sudan. It does not take into consideration the status of the individual or whether or not they have US relatives, effectively dividing families, especially those who are seeking entry under refugee status.
In a statement earlier today, USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal said: "What this executive order amounts to is a "Muslim ban" on nationals who are trying to escape the same extremism and violence that Mr. Trump is claiming to protect the country from, particularly Syrian refugees who view their visas as a ticket to safety. These refugees in particular have gone through a very rigorous vetting process that can range from months to years- taking away their light at the end of the tunnel is not only inhumane, it's unAmerican."
USCMO calls on elected officials to reject the anti-Muslim rhetoric touted by the Trump administration in the name of national security. USCMO also calls on all Americans to reject efforts to divide our great nation through labels and fear mongering.
Standing in Solidarity with Women's Rights and their March on Washington, D.C. January 21, 2017
(Washington DC 01/20/2017) The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations and institutions, stands in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington and women's rights as universal human rights.
USCMO firmly believes in a woman's right to live without fear of discrimination, harassment and assault of any kind. Additionally, We stand for the rights of women, minorities, immigrants and refugees' to equality in society and equitability in the workplace, to due process and to fair treatment by law enforcement and the judicial system. We abide by the Constitution and the rights included therein, and pledge to work to uphold the freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights, and in particular freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and right to personal security.
As such, USCMO encourages the attendance of the Women's March on Washington or any of its Sister Marches*, in support of women's rights, the rights of minorities and in particular Muslims and people of color, the rights of immigrants, refugees and those with disabilities.
* Sister Marches taking place in various cities are neither officially nor legally affiliated with the Women's March on Washington; therefore attendees are encouraged to find out the overarching messaging of their local march before attendance.
USCMO Reacts to Election Results
(Washington, D.C., 11/9/2016)- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of national, regional, and local Muslim organizations, called on President-Elect Trump today to uphold the foundational values of the Constitution by protecting civil and religious freedoms of all Americans.
In a statement today, USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal said, "Though the outcome of the elections was not what most expected, it is still the choice of the American people and the result of the democratic process. It is our sincere hope that negative campaign rhetoric is left behind in the upcoming phase, and that President-Elect Trump advocates for the rights of the American people regardless of gender, race or religious affiliation. We look forward to working with the new administration in order to help our great nation to come together and heal, and to move past the divisive sentiment that defined the electoral campaigns."
USCMO encourages Americans across the nation to come together at this time to work towards closing the divide and building a better, stronger, more productive country.
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USCMO soon to launch the Muslim Census Project
On the first day of USCMO's formation, the Census Project of Muslim Americans was announced as its major and signature project. With so much variation in the number of Muslims in America, this project will help identify how many Muslim Americans do actually count. Details will soon be announced. Click here if you are interested to volunteer.