McCarthyism 2.0 Targeting Muslim Americans
President Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has already begun to target Muslim communities domestically and abroad. Now, we unfortunately anticipate a second EO or Presidential Memorandum that would, through a new form of McCarthyism, erode the civil liberties of American Muslims.
What Would The Executive Order Say
Our allies at the State Department have informed us that President Trump would in this EO or Memorandum request that the State Department designate the “Muslim Brotherhood” (MB) a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO). Reminiscent of a shameful chapter in our recent past — the campaign to link Americans to “Communism” in the 1950’s — this EO and any subsequent FTO designation would pave the way to tarnish and even prosecute American individuals and organizations by claiming that they support the MB, with potentially devastating consequences that would only further stigmatize and harm American Muslims. It would be a new form of McCarthyism.
MAS: a Muslim American Institution
As a matter of policy, the Muslim American Society– the largest grassroots organization has no ties to any international or foreign entity. We are an American-Islamic Institution focused on living Prophetically in the American context.
According to Professor Jonathan Brown of Georgetown – an expert on the Islamic World: “Started in the 1920s, the MB movement sought to revive Islamic values in the family and social life of Muslims in Egypt. Akin to the Christian revival movements in America, the movement spread to many parts of the Islamic World, inspiring many individuals and groups. MB-inspired groups are legitimate parts of governments in Turkey, Morocco, Kuwait and Jordan. Some MB-inspired individuals and organizations have engaged in deplorable acts of violence and held hateful beliefs, but these organizations have already been declared terrorist groups by the US.” The vast majority of American-Muslims have no understanding of this largely Middle Eastern movement, just like the vast majority of Americans.
Impact on Muslim Americans
Anti-Muslim far and alt-right activists and organizations have sought to link, through guilt by association tactics, Americans (like President Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, American’s for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and American-Muslims in particular like Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s aide) and major American Muslim institutions to the MB. Even Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson have been smeared by these tactics.
While these guilt by association allegations previously were made by and confined to fringe groups, the EO, along with an FTO designation, would empower actors outside and within the Trump Administration to call for or initiate terrorism-related investigations, which would stigmatize American Muslims and their institutions, debilitate their operations, and sow fear and confusion that would chill speech and Financial support. The environment would be akin to the 50’s McCarthyism. This order could also affect academics engaged in related research abroad and U.S. businesses that may fear normal business dealings may run afoul of such a highly politicized FTO designation.
In short, this would be history repeating itself. Irish-Catholics in the 19th century were linked to the Vatican by the Know Nothing Party here in MA to delegitimize them. Successful Jewish businessmen at the start of the 20th century were linked to “international Jewry” to de-legitimize them. Similarly, American-Muslims and their institutions would be linked to the bogeyman of the MB to target their civil liberties. A new form of McCarthyism would take place unless this second EO is vigorously resisted.
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