USCMO Stands in Solidarity with the People of Turkey Against the Attempted Military Coup
(Washington, D.C., 7/15/2016)- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey against the attempted military coup. USCMO supports the choices of the Turkish people for the right to freedom and democracy, choices that remind all Americans of our own struggle for, and love of freedom and democracy.
On Friday night rogue elements within the Turkish military attempted a coup to overthrow the elected government after rebel soldiers took up positions in Istanbul and the capitol Ankara. The Turkish people took to the streets in the thousands to protest the coup and defend their hard earned democracy. Their brave efforts were proven successful and the coup has crumbled in the early hours of Saturday.
Turkey is the only true democracy in that region and a staunch ally and friend of the United States. Standing with their democratic rights and freedom is imperative on all of us. USCMO strongly believes that the people's choice is the deciding choice, and stands firmly opposed to the military intervention in political affairs.
USCMO Mourns the Victims of the Horrible Attack in Nice France
(Washington, D.C., 7/15/2016)- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, stands in solidarity and mourning with the people of France and sends its heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and to the people of France.
On Thursday night USCMO watched in horror as 84 innocent lives were taken and many more injured when a truck plowed through crowds during a Bastille Day festival and continued to open fire on people gathered to watch fireworks in the French city of Nice. This comes on the heels of mass attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and here at home. USCMO vehemently condemns this deplorable act of violence and all such horrendous acts anywhere in the world.
Sadly, in times like these we find political opportunists who exploit the tragedy to help create a toxic environment of bigotry. We believe that bigotry serves the narrative of terrorists, and that acts of terror promote bigotry. Bigotry and terror are mutually reinforcing social diseases. It is clear to people of conscience that terror has no respect for the sanctity of life that God has made sacred, and has no claim of moral or religious standing. We urge the world to come together in peace and solidarity during this difficult time and rise above the hate and violence these perpetrators wish to spread.
USCMO is outraged by latest incidents of police brutality causing the death of two African-American's and by the horrific shooting of Police Officers
(Washington, D.C., 7/8/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, is outraged over the police shootings and subsequent deaths of two African Americans as well as the slaying of five Police Officers in the line of duty this past week.
On Tuesday night, police shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The incidents leading up to and the aftermath of the shooting were videotaped by a deli clerk and a community activist. On Wednesday, an officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Castile was in the car with his girlfriend and her child at the time of the shooting, the aftermath of which was live-streamed on Facebook. Both incidents and the circumstances surrounding them stirred immediate public outcry. Following a peaceful protest on Thursday evening in Dallas, Tx, five Police Officers were killed and a number more injured by snipers, prompting further public outrage and concern over the developing situation.
In a statement, USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal said: "There is so much wrong with this picture. No man, woman or child of color should have to worry that their next outing might be their last. We ask for justice for Alton Sterling, for Philandro Castile, and the African American men and women who have fallen victim to police brutality in the very recent past. Furthermore we are equally troubled at the violence perpetrated against law enforcement officers who dedicated their lives to protecting the public. Violence is never the answer to social injustice."
The USCMO urges the interfaith community to join hands, amplify voices of reason and wisdom, stand in solidarity, and promote peace and harmony in our society. USCMO sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of all victims, and calls on local and federal government agencies to investigate these incidents, and to work diligently on preventing further deadly incidents in the future.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations denounces the terror attack at Istanbul International Airport
(Washington, D.C., 6/28/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, condemns the cowardly attack at the Ataturk international airport in Istanbul, Turkey which claimed at least 41 innocent lives and scores of injured people. "This terrorist act is strongly condemned and those behind it should be brought to justice" said Oussama Jammal, secretary general of USCMO.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Turkey and stands in solidarity with them against such dreadful acts of terrorism.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations condemns the Orlando shooting
(Washington, D.C., 6/12/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, expresses its horror over the mass shooting which took place at a nightclub in Orlando, FL overnight, and offers its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and prays for quick recovery for those who were injured.
The shooting, where over 50 were killed and at least the same number were injured, is an affront to all minorities. The USCMO stands firmly against all forms of violence committed against any group, regardless of religious affiliation, creed, color, or sexual orientation. "We condemn such heinous acts by individuals or groups who have no regard for the sanctity of human life" said Oussama Jammal, the secretary general of USCMO.
The right to live free from violence, harassment or intimidation is the most basic human right and must be defended unconditionally.
The USCMO urges the Muslim community in Orlando, Florida to step up to donate blood and to reach out to the injured and to the families of the victims.
The Passing of a Legend, Muhammad Ali: 1942-2016
(Washington, D.C. 6/4/2016) The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) offers its heartfelt condolences and is saddened by the passing of Muhammad Ali at the age of 74, a legend and an icon of inspiration, after a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease.
Born in Louisville Kentucky in 1942 Muhammad Ali would go on to become the worlds single greatest heavyweight champion and the most famous and influential American Muslim to date, spending his life fighting for human and civil rights.
Ali began training at the age of 12 and by the age of 22 he had won the world heavyweight championship in 1964. Shortly after, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and subsequently converted to Sunni Islam in 1975 and permanently retiring from boxing by 1981.
Not only a heavyweight champion, Ali went on to become a true champion and icon for human rights and political activism. Among his many inspirational words of wisdom Ali is quoted as saying " Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth". Three years after winning the heavyweight title Ali refused to be conscripted into the US Military citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam war.
Throughout his life, Ali stood firmly for his beliefs shining a positive light on Islam and Muslims. As a proud Muslim, Muhammad Ali brought awareness of Islam and the beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to every household across the world.
A true legend, Muhammad Ali's legacy will continue to inspire the American Muslim community and all of humanity for decades to come.
May the Almighty Allah bless his soul and bring comfort and solace to his family.
USCMO Strongly Condemns Terror Attacks in Belgium, Turkey, and Mali
(Washington, D.C., 3/22/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly condemns the heinous terror attacks that took place early this morning in Brussels, Belgium and left at least 30 innocent people dead and many more injured. Similar terror attacks took place most recently in Turkey and Mali and claimed the lives of tens of innocent people.
USCMO is utterly saddened by these repugnant attacks and stands consistent in its condemnation of any and all attacks on the sanctity of human life taking place anywhere in the world, regardless of the perpetrators, targets, or reasons.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations stands in solidarity with the people of Belgium, Turkey, and Mali and sends its sincere prayers and condolences to the victims' families and loved ones. We urge the world to come together in peace and solidarity during this difficult time and rise above the hate and violence the perpetrators wish to spread.
Muslim Coalition Demands Cruz Drop Hate-Group Leader as National Security Adviser
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/17/16) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, today called on GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to drop designated hate group leader Frank Gaffney Jr. as a foreign policy adviser.
SEE: Cruz Assembles an Unlikely Team of Foreign-Policy Rivals
Gaffney's organization, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Cruz's list of foreign policy advisers reportedly also includes three people who work for Gaffney's organization, including Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez and Jim Hanson. Also on Cruz's list is Andrew McCarthy, who has echoed Gaffney's view that Muslims are seeking to impose Islamic law in America.
SPLC Designated Hate Groups: Center for Security Policy
Cruz also named retired Lieutenant General William G. "Jerry" Boykin to his list of advisers. Boykin has in the past stated that "[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment," that there should be "no mosques in America" and that there can be no interfaith dialogue or cooperation between Muslims and Christians.
"To appoint a notorious conspiracy theorist and hate group leader to such an important role in a presidential campaign sends the wrong message to American voters and to the international community," said USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal. "We urge Senator Cruz to drop Frank Gaffney as a foreign policy adviser and to instead name a person who would base his or her advice on accurate information, not on fear-mongering."
Of Gaffney, the SPLC notes:
"Gaffney's wild-eyed accusations would certainly fit right into the red-baiting [House Un-American Activities Committee] tradition, judging from his long history of smears and innuendo aimed at Muslims. . . Among the 'enablers' of civilization jihad in America, President Obama is near the top of Gaffney's list. But Gaffney has tried - and failed - to gather support for baseless suggestions that Obama is a practicing Muslim. . . Gaffney's scurrilous broad-brush tactics have a serious effect on the lives of all Muslims in America, from students and housewives to corporate executives and budding politicians. A shadow of unfounded suspicion follows even the most upright Muslim citizens."
SPLC Profile: Frank Gaffney Jr.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has referred to Gaffney as "one of the country's leading anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists."
Gaffney is a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He has questioned "whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States," claimed the Missile Defense Agency logo is part of a "worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam," claimed an aide to Hillary Clinton was a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative, was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit seeking to block construction of a Tennessee mosque, promoted the debunked claim that Dearborn, Mich., is a "ghetto enclave in which it's Muslim-only," and hosted "white supremacist" Jared Taylor on his "Secure Freedom" radio program.
Gaffney's staff attorney, David Yerushalmi, has advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America and is the key promoter of anti-Islam bills in state legislatures nationwide, including one being voted on today by the Idaho legislature.
Idaho's Foreign Law Ban: Solution in Search of Problem?
When leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, he quoted from a sham survey commissioned by Gaffney's organization.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization and a member of USCMO, details Gaffney's and the Center for Security Policy's role in America's Islamophobia network in its report, "Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States," and on its website, Islamophobia.org.
SEE: Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy, founder and president)
300+ Delegates to Lobby Congress at 2nd National Muslim Advocacy Day April 18 in D.C.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/16/2015) -- On Monday, April 18, some 300 delegates from more than 20 states will take part in the second National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The lobbying effort is sponsored by the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations. Muslim delegates are expected to meet with a third of the House of Representatives and almost half of the Senate.
National Muslim Advocacy Day delegates will promote a legislative agenda in support of equality and social justice, and will outline the domestic priorities of the American Muslim community, including:
- Support for House and Senate resolutions recognizing and condemning Islamophobia.
- Support legislation that enables individuals to build a credit history without taking on credit debt.
- Support legislation that promotes greater access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods in impoverished areas.
- Address American Muslim community concerns regarding the oversight, management and approach of federal Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs.
For more information about the event or about how Muslim organizations or community members can participate, visit the event registration page.
"With a dynamic legislative agenda, American Muslims are positioned to advocate for core social justice issues that will benefit all Americans, regardless of faith or background," said Robert McCaw, chairman of the USCMO Advocacy Day steering committee.
USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal said: "Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill continues to empower the American Muslim community to work constructively with their elected officials and staff on Capitol Hill. It is important that members of Congress have the opportunity to get to know their Muslim constituents on a first name basis."
USCMO Announces Washington Declaration
(WASHINGTON DC 02/04/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) organized the 1st International Conference of Muslim Councils in the West - a major initiative for Muslims in Western nations - in Washington, D.C., February 1-3 in Arlington, Va.
This conference was the first of its kind to bring Muslim leaders around the world together to exchange experiences and to discuss common issues of concern to our communities. A conference of this scale, uniting the voices of Muslims across the Western Hemisphere and world, is vital to our continued growth and development as a global community. The 200 attendees included representatives from Muslim Councils and their member organizations from North America, South America, the Caribbean, Australia, and Europe.
International representatives presented reports on Muslims in their respective countries.
Conference discussions focused on:
· Identifying and developing strategic priorities for the Muslim communities in the West,
· Exchanging ideas and developing strategies to address the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry in the West,
· Developing ways with which to challenge and counteract the problem of violent extremism in all its forms,
· Enhancing the integration and positive contributions of Muslim communities in the societies in which they live,
· Developing strategies for the resettlement of the new waves of refugees and exchanging experiences and resources.
The Conference was a successful and productive event with participants discussing issues and working together to propose solutions. The leaders were able to come up with a set of initiatives and proposals for further deliberation. The conference resolved that:
The leaders participating in the conference have acknowledged the need and have agreed to form a Coordinating Body of Muslim Councils in the West and have formed a steering committee to implement this decision.
"We will continue to engage in civic, social, political and educational areas to better integrate the Muslims in their own countries, as well as internationally", Said Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO.
The historic conference was a vibrant open discussion with enthusiastic participation from a diverse set of leaders who represented the Muslim community in the West. A commitment to continue such meetings, which bring leaders together for a common purpose and a vision for our community, was agreed on by all.
USCMO Announces 2nd Annual National Muslim Advocacy Day
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/18/2016) -The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, today announced plans to host the second annual National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2016.
Expected to draw hundreds of Muslim delegates from across the nation, this one-day event is open to representatives of all national, state and local Muslim organizations and communities.
The event is designed to connect national, regional and state Muslim organizations and community members with their elected representatives in Congress.
USCMO'S Advocacy day will focus 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.
The first National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill took place in April of last year and was attended by 280 delegates from more than 20 states who met with some 200 congressional offices - one third of the House of Representatives and almost half of the Senate.
"Building off the success of our first National Muslim Advocacy Day, we hope to double the number of American Muslim community members meeting with elected officials and their staff on Capitol Hill," said Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO. "This coming April, Congress will once again have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their Muslim constituents."
"At a time when Congress is posed to adopt a number of bills that will impact the American Muslim community's ability to counter violent extremism on its own terms and to travel internationally, it is important to connect legislators with the Muslim communities they represent," said Robert McCaw, chairman of the USCMO Advocacy Day Steering Committee.
McCaw added: "We've already demonstrated that American Muslims can tip elections in key swing states and 'move the needle' in Congress on issues of great importance to our community. Now more than ever, we must work to politically empower Muslims so that they speak effectively to the issues that impact them most."
USCMO recently announced plans for outreach and civic empowerment initiatives, including a voter registration drive, commitment to address growing Islamophobia in America and to enhance national security through the promotion of freedom and justice.
USCMO will soon launch a registration website to prepare Muslim delegates for their congressional meetings. The coalition will also hold a series of online training seminars on effective advocacy techniques and will provide support in scheduling congressional meetings.
On the day of the event, Muslim delegates will be offered a series of seminars on Capitol Hill covering best practices for meeting with elected representatives and how to discuss the day's advocacy issues.
For more information about the event or how your Muslim organization or community can participate, please contact the USCMO at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
USCMO Thanks President Obama for Remarks on Islamophobia during SOTU
(WASHINGTON DC 01/13/2016) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations, a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, is heartened by the remarks of President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address Tuesday.
The President introduced his call for broader cooperation and inclusiveness in American society and in Congress by first addressing the rising tide of Islamophobia, most recently influenced by racist rhetoric by political candidates, namely Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Mr. Obama rightly asserted that the terrorist organization currently wreaking havoc throughout the world does not represent Islam. He went further to say the ideological, rhetorical and even physical attacks against American Muslims here at home run counter to every American value we hold so dearly.
On behalf of the Muslim community, the USCMO thanks President Obama for addressing the urgent issue of Islamophobia, which not only impacts Muslims but also bleeds into anti-immigrant bias and a general level of mistrust between many layers in our society.
"Muslims are an integral part of American society and we appreciate that the President took the time to address this current wave of Islamophobia," said USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal.
He added, "We agree with President Obama that a healthy democracy depends upon a certain level of trust among its citizenry. We want to help build that trust by our 'One America' campaign that seeks to help Muslims engage in the civic process."
The USCMO launched the One America campaign in December. It's major areas include registering one million Muslims to vote; reaching out to members of the community through a National Mosque Open House Day; and strengthening growing interfaith partnerships, among other things.
USCMO Announces Campaigns to Enhance National Security, Address Rising Islamophobia
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/21/15) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, today announced major educational, outreach and civic empowerment initiatives to address growing Islamophobia in America and to enhance national security through the promotion of freedom and justice.
Proposed USCMO initiatives include a drive to register one million voters prior to the 2016 presidential election, a "One America" campaign to enhance understanding of American Muslims and Islam and a "National Open Mosque Day" designed to help increase interactions between American Muslims and citizens of other faiths and backgrounds.
Another initiative planned by the national Muslim coalition includes the formation of new and strengthened alliances with interfaith partners, social justice groups and other minority communities that have faced or continue to face similar challenges.
The USCMO will also seek to increase emergency preparedness for Islamic institutions and individual Muslims to address the rising number of hate incidents nationwide.
USCMO member organizations discussed the real and present threat of violent extremist groups that are preying on young people via the Internet and who twist the meaning of the Quran to justify their atrocities.
It was noted that groups such as Daesh (ISIS) kill more Muslims than they do people of other faiths.
According to law enforcement experts, American Muslims have been on the front line of identifying and reporting suspected violent extremist activity.
USCMO groups shared their experience and information regarding effective "community-driven" solutions to the problems of violent extremism and recruitment with the aim of providing recommended strategies that expand on and improve their current efforts.
The coalition committed itself to combat all forms of violent extremism in the homeland. Experts in the field shared some factors related to radicalization that include isolation, the presentation of a twisted religious ideology and toxic anti-Muslim political rhetoric and negative perceptions of American policy, particularly in the Middle East.
These strategies will seek to prevent the targeting of members of the American Muslim community by those espousing extremist ideologies and will help young people to rejoin the mainstream community.
In each of the initiatives, coalition members will seek to protect the civil liberties of all Americans.
"USCMO leaders and members understand the magnitude of the challenge facing our nation and our community and will not allow either Islamophobes or un-Islamic extremist groups like ISIS to define American Muslims or to decide our fate," said USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal. "American Muslims will define themselves and will chart their own destiny by securing both our faith and the security of America."
Speakers at the news conference included representatives of USCMO member groups and other key community leaders. Other organizations represented at the news conference included the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
USCMO thanks our faith partners, elected officials, friends, and fellow citizens for the outpouring support against hate speeches and islamophobic remarks uttered by some presidential candidates in recent weeks.
The initiatives announced at the news conference were discussed Sunday at a day-long national summit of more than 100 national and regional American Muslim leaders held in Virginia and representing all areas of the country and all segments of that faith community.
Sunday's summit was convened in response to the unprecedented rise in bias incidents targeting American Muslims in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the San Bernardino killings and recent inflammatory anti-Muslim political rhetoric.
SEE: Security on Agenda at Churches, Mosques Amid Heightened Fears in the U.S.
Hate Crimes and Backlash Against Muslim-Americans Have Tripled in Wake of Paris and San Bernardino Attacks
USCMO Applauds President Obama, Repudiates Candidate Trump on Barring Muslims from Entering the U.S
(Washington, D.C., 12/10/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, welcomes President Obama’s Oval Office address, rejecting the rising islamophobia trend and urging Americans to be united during times of adversity by not allowing fear to give birth to hate and bigotry. The American Muslim community and its leadership applaud the president for his remarks and the many elected and public officials who echoed the president’s rejection for bigotry and division in our nation.
Furthermore, USCMO is outraged by the remarks made by Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to ban all travel and immigration of Muslims into the United States. USCMO believes it is not only outrageous but irresponsible and contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and the foundation of America. This kind of rhetoric only seeks to inspire suspicion and hate in the minds of fearful, misinformed people while making American Muslims vulnerable to hate crimes and harassment.
The USCMO encourages our fellow citizens of all faiths and backgrounds to unite against Mr. Trump’s dangerous ideas by keeping true to the values of this great nation: freedom of religion, liberty and justice for all.
USCMO Strongly Condemns San Bernardino Killings
(Washington, D.C., 12/2/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, offers its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims in the San Bernardino shooting and pray for quick recovery of those who were injured.
USCMO denounces this and every act of violence. This heinous act can never be justified under any circumstances. USCMO commends the first responders to this senseless attack for their swift and courageous handling of the situation.
USCMO strongly condemns the terror attacks in Paris
(Washington, D.C., 11/14/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly condemns the abhorrent terror attacks that took place yesterday in Paris and left over 150 innocent people dead and scores injured. USCMO stands consistent with its position against all forms of violence against innocent people anywhere in Turkey, Beirut, Syria, Paris, and on our soil irrespective of the perpetrators, targets, or reasons. These repugnant acts of violence defy the sanctity of every innocent human live and shall always be condemned and rejected.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of France and stands in solidarity with them against terrorism and violent extremism. We ask the American Muslim community around the nation to hold candle light vigils in memory of the victims and in support of their families.
USCMO condemns killings in Chattanooga, offers condolences to victims' families
(Washington, D.C., 7/17/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly condemns the tragic shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee yesterday which left four Marines dead in an attack on a military recruiting center and another US military site. USCMO offers its sincere condolences to the victims' families and urges law enforcement to fully investigate these crimes.
"We are deeply saddened by this horrific incident and our hearts go out to the families of the victims. These types of senseless acts of violence are condemned and unequivocally rejected" said Oussama Jammal, the secretary general of USCMO.
The USCMO encourages all communities to continue working towards creating a safer and more peaceful nation.
USCMO calls for justice, accountability, transparency in Baltimore
(Washington, D.C., 5/1/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, welcomes the announcement that Maryland State prosecutors have filed homicide and misconduct charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
The USCMO stands in solidarity with the family of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore community in seeking justice, accountability and transparency in Mr. Gray's death at the hands of the Baltimore Police Department. Today's charges are a step in the right direction.
A significant part of the American Muslim community is African American who not only endure commonplace police brutality, but also profiling because of their faith. Like our African American brothers and sisters, the USCMO believes it is our duty to join other community and civil rights organizations standing for justice and demanding an end to police brutality, an end to the structural racism that allows this brutality to exist, and an end to racial and religious profiling, and calling for the demilitarization of our local police forces.
Unfortunately it did not begin with Freddie Gray and will not end with him. We continue to demand justice for all the men and women of color who have lost their lives due to excessive police force.
USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal added, "All communities deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to walk freely without fear of harassment or of being targeted by law enforcement. We understand that justice is universal and we must work collectively towards upholding the rights of all Americans."
USCMO prays for the healing of the city of Baltimore and for justice, peace, and harmony in our country.
USCMO STATEMENT ON 1915 TURKISH-ARMENIAN EVENTS
(Washington, DC, April 20, 2015) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) the largest umbrella group of mainstream Muslim American organizations is aware of the painful history of over 30 nations fighting for over 4 years and the loss of over 37 million lives in World War I, including those of the Armenians.
As April 24 comes near, we share the pain suffered by Armenians during this period. We also believe that any acknowledgment by religious or political leaders of the tragedy that befell Armenians should be balanced, constructive and must also recognize Turkish and Muslim suffering.
In this respect, characterizing the events of 1915 as genocide without proper investigation of these events by independent historians will not only jeopardize the establishment of a just memory pertaining to these events, but will also damage the efforts aimed at achieving reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.
As Americans, we are concerned about alienating a key ally, Turkey, through one-sided declarations that political and religious leaders have made on this subject. The events of 100 years ago should be based on a consensus among historians and academicians with access to archives and documents from that era.
As the only Muslim-majority member of NATO and current President of the G-20 Summit, Turkey has taken on a unique regional and global leadership role in ensuring peace and prosperity for all. Our government has been closely cooperating with the Turkish government on defeating ISIS while also alleviating the suffering of Syrian refugees.
While Muslim Americans sympathize deeply with the loss of Armenian lives in 1915, we also believe that reconciliation must take into honest account the broader human tragedy of World War I. Muslim Americans expect our leaders to act accordingly to ensure that American-Turkish strategic relations are not damaged by a one-sided interpretation of the 1915 events.
National Muslim Groups Call on Jeb Bush to Drop Anti-Muslim Activist as PAC Advisor
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/23/15) – An umbrella organization that represents leading American Muslim civil liberties, human rights, faith, and cultural organizations sent a letter today to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise PAC requesting that Jordan Sekulow be removed from his position as senior advisor to the PAC because of his long history of supporting anti-Muslim legislation and Islamophobic causes.
SEE: Jeb’s Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay New Hire
The letter, sent by the US Council of Muslim Organizations* (USCMO), reads in part:
“We the undersigned American Muslim civil liberties, human rights, faith, and cultural organizations respectfully request that Jordan Sekulow be removed from his position as senior advisor to the Right to Rise PAC because of his history of supporting anti-Muslim legislation and Islamophobic causes.
“The Right to Rise PAC ‘believe[s] that free and fair opportunity for all is at the heart of what makes America exceptional.’ That is why we are certain Sekulow’s support for unconstitutional laws and policies that infringe on the First Amendment-protected rights and liberties of American Muslims makes him unfit to advise the Right to Rise PAC.
“Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an organization that in 2011 published an anti-Muslim pamphlet titled ‘Shari’a Law: Radical Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Constitution,’ which falsely claims that ‘devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.’
“Also in 2011, Sekulow appeared on CBN News to offered ACLJ’s assistance to state legislators who were, ‘serious about writing a law from stopping judges from being able to use Sharia law in court.’ He said ACLJ will ‘walk you through this.’ These comments were in response to a CBN report on efforts around the country to ban Sharia (Islamic principles), including disturbing legislation in Tennessee that Sekulow and ACLJ supported. …
“In 2012 Sekulow and ACLJ supported Oklahoma’s 2012 ‘Save Our State’ Amendment, which prohibited state courts from considering foreign law or Sharia when making rulings. While the amendment was struck down as unconstitutional in federal court for violating the Establishment Clause, Sekulow supported the bill with an essay titled: ‘In defense of Oklahoma's Sharia ban.’ …
“In 2010, Sekulow and ACLJ filed a lawsuit to prevent the construction of the Park51 Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan objecting to its two block proximity to the site of the World Trade Center.
“Sekulow was also a listed speaker at an anti-Park51 rally hosted by anti-Muslim hate groups American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Both groups have been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘active anti-Muslim groups’ and by CAIR as part of the ‘inner core of the Islamophobia network in America.’ SIOA was refused a trademark in May 2011 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board finding that its name was disparaging to Muslims.
“ACLJ’s frivolous suit was dismissed by the New York State Supreme Court for not having any standing to challenge the building permits of Park51. …
“While you have not personally endorsed Sekulow’s anti-Muslim positions, you and the Right to Rise PAC have clearly endorsed someone who holds strong Islamophobic views. We hope that hiring Sekulow was an oversight and not a validation of his views. Removing Sekulow would resolve this troubling question.”
In requesting Jeb Bush and the Right to Rise PAC to replace Jordan Sekulow and fill the position with a more balanced replacement, the USCMO also invited Bush to meet with national leaders of the American Muslim community to discuss the issues and concerns of Muslims as George W. Bush did during his first presidential bid.
CONTACT: Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com.
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.
Muslim Council adopts points on countering violent extremism
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/17/2015) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, gathered around fifty U.S. Muslim leaders at a full-day forum on countering violent extremism (CVE) in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 2015.
At the Council's invitation, a speaker from the Department of Homeland Security and speakers from the ACLU, Amnesty International and the Brennan Center for Justice addressed government and civil liberties perspectives on CVE.
Following the presentations, summit participants deliberated the issue. Following this shura (consultation) process, the USCMO adopted the following points on CVE:
- In December 2014, The USCMO endorsed an ACLU-led letter addressing the current countering violent extremism initiative that was sent to the Obama administration. We are disappointed that the administration has not responded to the fair concerns raised in the letter.
See Federal Support for Countering Violent Extremism Programs letter here: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/141218_cve_coalition_letter_2.pdf
- Based on the shared experience of summit attendees and recent media revelations, the USCMO is very concerned that law enforcement outreach and CVE programs may be accompanied by intelligence gathering activities or other abusive law enforcement practices. The concern is particularly acute in relation to the FBI.
- A violent extremist problem exists in some Muslim communities. It is minute, but one case is too many. The Islamic faith and this council reject violent extremism.
- The USCMO is concerned that the Muslim community has been singled out by the administration for CVE.This singling out is Constitutionally-questionable and morally problematic.
- The USCMO believes that free speech is vital. Many local community leaders have shut down political discussions in their institutions due to fear of law enforcement informants or other overzealous law enforcement misinterpreting their words and intentions. Religious leaders should feel safe to provide guidance on topic from Islamic sources, to help construct a positive understanding of Islam in at-risk persons. This includes the need to discuss domestic abuse of civil liberties and foreign policy issues.
- Council members noted a lack of specific information on the Obama administration's current CVE initiative.
- The Council agreed that African American Muslims have far more experience with these types of U.S. government programs than other segments of the American Muslim community. The council agreed that more shura from African Americans is vital to developing a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
- The USCMO notes that government statements on the CVE issue since September have not acknowledged the significant contributions of American Muslims to protecting our nation.
- Given the low-level of confidence in government-led CVE, the USCMO believes it is best to identify and support community-driven best practices.
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.
US Muslim Council Denounces Paris Attack Calling It "Brutal and Barbaric"
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/7/15) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly denounces the attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a severe and inexcusable infringement on freedom of speech.
The shooting attack, allegedly carried out by three gunmen while shouting "God is great" in Arabic, has left twelve people dead. Among the dead are eight journalists, the magazine editor and two policemen. The magazine has received threats of violence in the past due to its controversial caricatures and derogatory references to Islam. Although no one has come forward to claim responsibility, French police have launched a manhunt for the three perpetrators of the cowardly attack.
"We condemn this senseless act of violence. This is a brutal and unnecessary attack on not only the magazine, but the safety and security of all French citizens and their right to freedom of speech," said Oussama Jammal, USCMO Secretary General. "And, I hope, the barbaric actions of few which are absolutely unrelated to Islam do not cause the general Muslim population to be shed in the same light."
USCMO offers sincere prayers and condolences to the effected families and hopes for the swift arrest of the perpetrators and that they be brought to justice.
US Council of Muslim Organizations Deplores Murder of James Foley, Denounces ISIS
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/20/14) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, condemns the murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. We offer our deepest condolences to James' family and pray they will find comfort and solace during this difficult time.
The USCMO roundly condemns this group and rejects its ideology and actions. The terror organization, which is also known by the acronym ISIS, does not speak or act on behalf of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. In fact, they have killed so many Muslims indiscriminately. Their actions are reprehensible, inhumane and completely contravene all aspects and tenets of Islam.
"We are heartbroken by the brutal death of Mr. Foley," said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary general. "It states in the Qur'an that the taking of one life is the equivalent of killing of all humankind and the saving of one life is equivalent to the saving of all humankind. Islam abhors and rejects the murder, mayhem and terror being spread by this group of criminal individuals."
The USCMO also warns the public to avoid spreading Islamophobia by using the actions of ISIS to characterize and demonize all Muslims, globally and here in the United States. We agree with the words of James' mother, Diane, who told the media that, "Jim's death can bring our country together in a stronger way in the values that Jim held dear. He never wanted us to hate or be bitter."
Finally, USCMO calls upon our government to increase its efforts to gain the release of another US journalist, Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013.
USCMO Condemns Boko Haram, Girls' Kidnapping
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/7/14) -- The US Council of Muslim Organizations, a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly denounces Boko Haram and its kidnapping of at least 200 girls in Nigeria. We call for the girls' immediate release and safe return to their families.
Boko Haram does not represent Islam and their actions completely violate Islamic teachings and principles. The USCMO joins hands with others who have openly condemned these actions. Slavery, oppression and injustice are prohibited in Islam and Boko Haram threats to sell these girls into slavery are reprehensible.
"The actions of Boko Haram show its members to be very ignorant of Islam and its teachings," said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary-general. "No one in their right mind would condone these actions, especially Muslims, as they violate everything we hold sacred."
USCMO calls for the immediate and safe return of these girls to their families and commends President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for intervening for these girls' well being.
Announcing the Formation of the US Council of Muslim Organizations
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/12/14) – Eight* major national American Muslim organizations held a news conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce the formation of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group that will serve as a representative voice for Muslims as that faith community seeks to enhance its positive impact on society.
The new national council's first priority will be to build on Muslim citizenship rights by conducting a census of American Muslims to create a database that will be used to enhance civic and political participation in upcoming elections. Other priorities were also considered by the new Council to empower the American Muslim community, amplify its voice, and unify its efforts.
* The founding members of the US Council of Muslim Organizations are:
Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).
Other organizations immediately joined the US Council include:
American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and The Mosque Foundation (Chicago)