In early 2002, I revealed (with co-author Mimi Stillman) the surprising history of U.S. government statements favorable to Islam in "The United States Government: Patron of Islam?" I noted there that this approach has "four main elements, each of which has become a policy mantra: There is no clash of civilizations. Terrorism is not Islamic. Islam is compatible with American ideals and adds to American life. Americans must learn to appreciate Islam."
Since then, there have been fewer such pandering statements, but they have not disappeared entirely; also, the patronage of Islam has taken new forms, as I documented at "The State Department Promotes Islamist Organizations" and "The U.S. Government Builds Mosques and Madrassahs." This weblog entry records some of the more important manifestations, in reverse chronological order:
White House: To accompany Obama's speech today in Baltimore about Islam, the White House website has posted a page on "Muslim and American: Voices from the White House," with the "stories of dedicated public servants who have faced discrimination and found hope in the work they do every day on behalf the American people." The staffers number six: Rumana Ahmed, Aadil Ginwala, Alefiyah Mesiwala, Manar Waheed, Fatima Noor, Raheemah Abdulaleem. Comment: Unimaginable, again, that such an official page would be posted on behalf of members of any other religion. (February 3, 2016)
Department of State: American Muslims is an undated 100-page, illustrated survey produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs (sounds Stalinist) and distributed at U.S. embassies. As might be expected, it promotes Islam ("Islamic giving is widespread across the United States and beyond"); even more distressingly, it promotes such Islamists as Keith Ellison, Anisa Mehdi, Dalia Mogahed, Abdul Malik Mujahid, Eboo Patel, Linda Sarsour, and Hamza Yusuf (who is called an "eminent Islamic scholar"). (April 20, 2014)
The cover of a 100-page book produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs at the U.S. Department of State.
Department of State: The U.S. Embassy in Prague is funding a project on "Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren" that is led a Muslim advocacy group. (April 14, 2014)
National Park Service: The rangers sent someone to the AnNur Islamic School in Schenectady, New York, to produce not one, not two, but three videos praising islam's contributions to women's rights. An excerpt from the first of them, at the 4:45 mark:
People think that Islam oppresses women and there's no equality, but they're wrong – there's equity... Seventh-century A.D. Islam gave women the right to be involved in politics, the right to earn and keep her own money. Islam gave women the right to work outside of the home, Islam gave women the right to own property, Islam gave women the right to divorce, Islam gave women the right to choose who she marries. Islam gave women a whole bunch of rights that Western women acquired later in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and we've had these rights since the seventh century A.D., and it's just not acknowledged worldwide.
(September 18, 2013)
Department of State: Soeren Kern surveys how it is "actively promoting Islam in Europe" with examples from Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Norway, and Great Britain. In sum, he finds,
American diplomats are repeatedly apologizing to Muslims in Europe for a multitude of real or imagined slights against Islam, and the U.S. State Department is now spending millions of dollars each year actively promoting Islam—including Islamic Sharia law—on the continent.
(Mar. 6, 2012)
Department of Justice: David J. Rusin of Islamist Watch documents DoJ's "defensiveness, lecturing tones, and prostration before Islamist talking points" at his analysis, "The Justice Department's PC-Heavy Press Releases." (June 7, 2011)
Hilary Clinton: On officially opening an exhibit celebrating Muslim achievements in science and technology, "1001 Inventions," the U.S. secretary of state informed Americans that "the Muslim world has a proud history of innovators." (May 25, 2011)
Rashad Hussain, U.S. special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference: "one of the strongest tools that you can use to counter radicalization and violent extremism is Islam itself, because Islam rejects violent extremism. ... When it comes to the problem of violent extremism, Islam is not the problem." (April 4. 2011)
Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City: Until now, most examples of official U.S. government patronage have been limited to talk. New York's mayor engaged in action, as documented in "Emails Show City Backing Of Mosque" by Michael Howard Saul and Sumathi Reddy for the Wall Street Journal. The city administration broadly helped Faisal Abdul Rauf's effort to build an Islamic community center in southern Manhattan, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, by "working very closely with the organizers of the project, known as Park51, to combat public opposition and navigate various governmental hurdles." Specifically, they helped by:
1. Coordinating with the chairman of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to deny landmark status to the main building of the proposed community center in a vote taken on Aug. 3, 2010, paving the way for the project.
In one email from May, Shelly Friedman, the organizers' lawyer, wrote that Manhattan Community Board 1's vote in support of the project would be helpful as organizers urged landmark commission Chairman Robert Tierney and other panel members to reject landmark status for the building currently on the site. "I do know that chairman Tierney was looking forward to having the 'political cover' their support would bring him," Ms. Friedman wrote. ...
2. Assigning Nazli Parvizi, the city's community affairs commissioner, to draft a letter that Daisy Khan, Abdul Rauf's wife, wrote to the community board.
3. Intervening to help the organizers win permits to conduct prayers at the site.
Comment: Officials can praise Islam in the abstract with impunity but this sort of collusion and patronage will likely prompt a backlash. (December 24, 2010)
Rashad Hussain, U.S. special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference: Barack Obama is America's "Educator-in-Chief on Islam" as well as "Educator-in-Chief" on the fast of Ramadan. (June 24. 2010)
Rashad Hussain, special U.S. envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference: "one might even say, I've heard described, [that Obama serves] as educator in chief on that issue [of Islam]. ... The president at the beginning of Ramadan think, I think, continued this role as kind of the educator in chief when he talked about the role that Ramadan plays in Islam. ... he sees it as part of his duty as an American president to address some of the negative stereotypes and fundamental misperceptions of Islam and Muslims." ("Beyond Cairo: Visions of a New Decade in European Islamic Relations," Woodrow Wilson Center, June 23, 2010)
John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism: "While in college in the mid-1970s, I spent a summer traveling through Indonesia, where, like President Obama, I came to see the beauty and diversity of Islam." (August 6, 2009)
White House: A video titled "Muslim Americans Serving in the U.S. Government" has been posted on the White House media center website. The teaser explains: "The United States government reflects the rich diversity of the American population. Meet three Muslim Americans who freely retain and express their own faith identities while serving their nation." (June 6, 2009)
Department of State: The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that the "State Department Continues Islamist Outreach: New booklet, 'Being Muslim in America,' taps the wrong messengers." As it explains, State serves "as a veritable infomercial promoting Islamist organizations" like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Society of North America. Specifically, IPT gives the example of a 64-page State Department booklet, "Being Muslim in America" intended to rebut slanders about the "persecution" of Muslims in the United States. As IPT neatly sums it up, "many slanders against the United States come from the same groups that are portrayed favorably in the State Department booklet."
Beyond apologetics for the Islamists, the booklet promotes Islam.
A color-coded state-by-state map shows "Mosque Distribution in the United States."
IPT cites Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy who criticizes the booklet's depiction of Muslim life in the United States to Cold War-era propaganda falsely portraying Communist dictatorships as "worker's paradises" in which everyone was working toward a common goal and factionalism didn't exist. In fact, American Muslims are divided between Islamists seeking to applythe Shari'a and non-Islamists who accept the American Constitution as equals with non-Muslims.
"The booklet's bibliography is similarly slanted," featuring books like by promoters of Islam like John Esposito, Dalia Mogahed, Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jan I. Smith, and Geneive Abdo.
(May 17, 2009)
Barack Obama: In his first statement as president about U.S. relations with the Muslim world, in an interview on Al-'Arabiya television channel, Obama did not quite become a patron of Islam, but he came close:
my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.
(January 27, 2009)
Global Publishing Solutions, which dubs itself "the Information Sharing Services of the United States Department of State Bureau of Administration," has issued a "2009 Mosques of America Wall Calendar: Limited Edition for Ramadan" for use by State Department officials. As the text of the advertisement explains:
In celebration of Ramadan, Global Publishing Solutions (GPS) is offering a limited edition of the 2009 Mosques in America Wall Calendar. This 12-month calendar is perfect for Muslim outreach efforts, as well as office and event giveaways.
The wall calendar features a vibrant photograph or photomontage for each month, displaying the beauty of mosques in America. The upper half of the hanging calendar depicts mosque facades or interiors, and the lower half displays a monthly calendar grid. The 28-page calendar is saddle-stitched and measures 23 x 30 1/2 cm (9 x 12 inches).
This item is on sale until August 1st, 2008 in shrink-wrapped packs of 20 pieces.
Here are the prices:
Over 11 Packs
To place your order with GPS and obtain shipping costs, register and log in to our online Catalog Ordering System at https://gps.state.gov/shoponline/catalog/. You can also obtain actual shipping/handling/packaging cost (via courier, air freight, surface and APO/FPO) when using this ordering system. Final discounted prices will be sent to Posts upon confirmation of orders. If excess funds are available, these are credited back to your office.
For other related information, inquiries and follow-ups, post may contact GPS Customer Service at: email@example.com. Customers may also fax number (632) 301-2989 for immediate action.
Please use the following stock number when ordering: M0535-E (2009 Mosques of America Wall Calendar).
Click here to order it online now!
The ad also includes a sample picture, of what appears to be the February illustration, included below. (July 16, 2008)
An illustration from the U.S. Department of State's "2009 Mosques of America Wall Calendar: Limited Edition for Ramadan."
July 17, 2008 update: The original page has either been taken down or put behind a wall. So, one must look at a cache of it now. Is someone in the State Department embarrassed that this item has gone public?
It also bears noting that the GPS boasts that it won a 10-year contract worth $164 million from the State Department "because of an innovative business plan that included the establishment of a new printing facility in Cairo," as well as other efforts. One wonders if this has some bearing on its producing the calendar.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, flanked by leaders from Radhwaniya, apologized for a soldier using the Koran for target practice.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, flanked by leaders from Radhwaniya, apologized for a soldier using the Koran for target practice.
John Campbell, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, said on a visit to the Caliph of Sokoto today: "America treasures your friendship and honors your faith. Islam is a religion that inspires hope and grants solace to more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of American Muslims." Deutsche Presse-Agentur sensationalized this statement by issuing a news story with the headline "US 'treasures Islam' says envoy in Nigeria." (February 4, 2007)
The Pentagon goes out of its way to support Islam, I note at "The U.S. Department of Defense Woos Muslims." (January 6, 2007)
Karen Hughes, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs – and, with the FBI's Robert Mueller, easily the most incompetent of U.S. government officials on the topic of Islam – speaking at the Annual State Department Iftaar Dinner:
Recently I was told a story from the time of the prophet about a famous man who expressed a desire to seek knowledge. He was advised, this man, by another man to join the assembly of a well-known woman jurist of the day named Amara bin Al-Rahman. She was described as a boundless ocean of knowledge and she shared her knowledge with a number of famous men which kind of reminds me of our boss Dr. Condoleezza Rice when she shows up at a national security meeting and shares her boundless knowledge with all the men in the room. Amara was not an exception in Islamic history. There are many examples of extraordinary women, including jurists, poets and narrators of Hadith.
(October 19, 2006) Oct. 20, 2006 update: According to Khalid Hasan, writing in the Daily Times of Lahore, this comment "raised several eyebrows."
Russell Hanks, political counsellor in the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, as reported by the Daily Triumph of Kano, Nigeria:
Contrary to the widely held opinion in the Muslim world concerning America's view on Islam, the United States of America has respect, care and acknowledgement of Muslims contribution in America civilization. This assertion was made by Mr. Russell Hanks, the political counsellor in the Embassy of the United States of American in Nigeria. The counsellor who made the disclosure at a dinner parts organized by the US embassy for selected Muslims for breaking their fast on Tuesday, stated that the very foundation of democracy laid by America's founding fathers was based on Islamic influence essentially from the Middle East. America, he opined, has seven million Muslims whom he said, are making wonderful contributions to the development of the nation. He said the programme was organized for Muslims in this very important month of Ramadan because of the respect the embassy accords to Muslims and their religion.
(October 5, 2006)