USCMO welcomes President Obama's remarks distinguishing between extremists and Islam
(WASHINGTON, DC 02/19/2015) - After attending the two-day Countering Violent Extremism summit at the White House this week, US Council of Muslim Organizations Secretary General Oussama Jammal welcomes remarks by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, which made clear distinctions between violent extremists and Islam. The USCMO is a a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations.
President Obama explained his refusal to use the term, "Islamic extremist," because, "They are not religious leaders. They are terrorists." He went on to say, "Of course, the terrorists do not speak for a billion Muslims who reject their ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God, represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism."
The USCMO applauds the president for his courageous stance, especially in the face of harsh backlash.
"We appreciate the President's comments and his refusal to paint all Muslims with the same broad brush," Mr. Jammal said. "We are grateful the President and Vice President drew strong distinctions between terrorism and Islam, between violent extremist and Muslim. We hope this will help calm Islamophobia in the US, which often results in hate crimes against innocent Muslims, such as the murder of three college students in North Carolina recently."
The president also brought context to the discussion by pointing out issues such as the failure of democratic aspirations in the other parts of the world, the constant violation of human rights, lack of education and poverty, which terrorists exploit as recruitment tools.
"We cannot view groups like ISIS in a vacuum," Mr. Jammal said. "It was right for the president to point to some of the causes behind why a few people find these groups alluring. It is time for the global community to own up to these issues and we are happy President Obama pointed them out."
Many Muslim organizations, including the USCMO, have concerns that counter extremism programs and their sole focus on Muslim communities may have contributed to the heightened atmosphere of anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States. As Vice President Biden said, other extremist groups such as white supremacists and militias also are a threat to the public's safety and wellbeing. On the other hand, the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State is preying on and trying to recruit Muslim youth via the Internet and the USCMO believes that finding a balance to protect them is of utmost importance.
While federal agencies admit the number of Americans who have actually joined ISIS is extremely small, even one person is too many. The USCMO believes Muslim leaders can be the frontline of defense for our children. We call upon imams, youth leaders, institutional heads and organizational directors to continue to develop programs to engage youth and educate our communities about Internet safety and the dangers of extremist groups. Together, we can work to make our youth, our communities and our society safe.
USCMO has consistently and unequivocally condemned ISIS and similar groups' violent extremist ideology and actions. We assert that these groups have never represent Islam and Muslims.
USCMO Offers Condolences On Chapel Hill Murders, Urges Further Investigation By Authorities
(WASHINGTON DC 02/11/2015)-- The US Council of Muslim Organizations(USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organization, expresses its deepest condolences to the families of Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-SAlha, 21 and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, who were murdered execution style, by their anti-thiest neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, in what was possibly a hate motivated crime.
“We condemn this atrocious act of violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims at this difficult time,” says Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO.
Taking into account the perpetrator’s social media condemnations and anti-religion statements posts, we call upon the FBI and local authorities of Chapel Hill, N.C. to further investigate any possible hate motives and treat this case as a hate crime.
At the time when the White House is hosting a summit on violent extremism, this terrible tragedy reflects that extremism has no religion, identity or community.
The Secretary General and leaders from the council have traveled to North Carolina to express their condolences and to participate in the funeral of the three victims which takes place tomorrow, Thursday February 12, 2015, after the midday prayer at the Islamic Association of Raleigh.
"The USCMO is here to offer support to the Muslim Community during this traumatizing time," says Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO.
First National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill
USCMO plans to host the first National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, April 13, 2015.
Expected to draw hundreds of Muslim delegates from across the nation this one day event is open to all national, state and local Muslim organizations and communities that want to join. A great opportunity for youth involvement and for community members.
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.