A Clear Warning to the Believers
“O YOU WHO BELIEVE!
“You shall not ever take My enemy, and your enemy, as allies.
“You offer genuine love to them. Yet they have disbelieved in the revelation of the truth that has come to you in the Quran — expelling the Messenger and yourselves from your homes only because you believe in the One God alone, your Lord.
“If truly you have come forth striving in My path and seeking My good pleasure, then do not ever take them as allies divulging the believers’ secrets to them out of genuine love — and I am most knowing of all that you conceal and all that you reveal.
“For whoever among you does this has truly strayed from the straight path.
“If they should gain ascendancy over you, they would become treacherous enemies to you and stretch out their hands and their tongues in harm against you.
“For they wish that you would disbelieve in your faith.” [Quran 60:1-2]
Who will heed this admonition from Allah?
Echoes from the Recent Past
“The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is a wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.” -Malcolm X
I’m afraid that the wisdom of these words from Malcolm X has yet to penetrate the consciousness of American Muslim leadership.
Many Republicans, taking the lead of President Trump, snarl at Muslims. The result has been a large portion of the community rushing to get cozy with the “smiling” foxes on the left. And, as a result, these Democratic foxes have feasted.
Who is enabling this feeding frenzy?
A Man Scorned: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Just this past week, it seems a significant portion of the community was up in arms at news that Hamza Yusuf joined a Human Rights commission in Trump’s State Department. Much of the criticism against him missed the mark, however. For example, one confused commentator for AlJazeera criticized him for being “cis white.” (For the uninitiated, “cis” means “not transgendered.”)
It quickly became apparent that the bulk of the outrage was from left-wing Muslims peeved at this newfound affiliation of Yusuf with a right-wing administration. As I pointed out, these left-leaning folks had no leg to stand on in such a critique.
What about all the leftist Muslims who played major roles in the Obama administration? What about the Muslim scholar who gave the Democratic National Convention address in 2016 (i.e., the same DNC that rigged the primaries in favor of Killary)? What about the imams and chaplains regularly going to White House iftars in Obama’s terms? What about the imams who are giving prayers at Congress and rubbing elbows with all these beltway politicians and institutions on a regular basis?
Where was all the outrage then?
Unfortunately, there has been no outrage as long as one casts one’s lot with the left wing. In other words, the concern isn’t with the violation of Islamic principles but with cheap partisanship.
The correct criticism of Hamza Yusuf’s politics, however, is to point out his animosity toward Islamic governance, his continued support for and association with tyrannical secular regimes in the Middle East, and his general willingness to be co-opted by non-Muslim US governmental institutions.
But on this last point, Hamza Yusuf is not alone. Another prominent Muslim figure has played a similar role. I’m speaking, of course, about Imam Omar Suleiman.
As far as American politics is concerned, the only substantive difference between Yusuf and Suleiman is one of party affiliation. The former dances with wolves while the latter caters to the foxes.
What this means on the ground is that Hamza Yusuf is regularly blasted by the Muslim community, but Omar Suleiman gets a free pass for maintaining an equally close, if not closer, relationship with left-wing political players.
The wisdom of past ulama on associating with rulers is highly relevant to all this. Imam ibn al-Jawzi wrote in his book Talbis Iblis:
“And from the deceptions of Iblis upon the scholars is their mixing with the rulers and the kings, their flattering them and failure to correct them when they are able to do so. May be they make allowances for them where there is no allowance for them, in order to attain some worldly benefit. So this produces corruption from three angles.
“Firstly, the ruler is corrupted by that. He says, “If I were not upon what is correct, the scholar would correct me. And how can I not be correct when he is eating from my wealth!”
“Secondly, the common person because he says, “There is no harm in this ruler, nor in his wealth, nor in his actions, because such and such scholar, does not criticize him.”
“Thirdly, the scholar (himself) is corrupted by that. Because he corrupts his religion through this practice, and Iblis has deceived them into entering upon the rulers by saying to them, “You will just enter to intercede for the benefit of a Muslim.””
What has to be understood here is that ibn al-Jawzi is referring to Muslim rulers. So how much worse is it if the scholar is collaborating with non-Muslim political actors, especially those who have clearly and unambiguously expressed animosity towards Islam?!
Obviously, in the contemporary American context, the rulers are the wolves and the foxes who occupy the different levels of government, in different offices, whether in the White House or Congress or elsewhere. These are precisely the rulers ibn al-Jawzi and other ulama have staunchly warned against, and these are the rulers that both Hamza Yusuf and Omar Suleiman are closely involved with.
But What Is the Problem With Imams Associating with the Left?
About a month ago, I criticized a group of scholars who decided to participate in a conference headlining progressive activist Linda Sarsour. As I explained, when these scholars — who are religious authorities for Muslims — stand side-by-side with Sarsour on the grand stage, they send a clear, unambiguous message to the Umma: Sarsour is religiously legitimate as a role model and leader for the community. And Sarsour, of course, is a darling of the foxes.
Let’s be honest. When average community members see Sarsour sitting on a panel with this shaykh or that imam, that is the stamp of approval they need to look up to and idealize her.
This is a disaster.
Several months ago, I wrote about the same dynamic with Dalia Mogahed, who sits on the boards of several US Muslim organizations, including the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, The Islamic Seminary of America, and Yaqeen Institute. As I documented, Mogahed has a long history of endorsing MuslimGirl.com, a website that regularly peddles the most corrupt anti-Islamic ideals, everything from LGBT acceptance to zina to perennialism to abortion to drugs. I asked Mogahed, as someone who positions herself as a devout Muslim advisory figure and a representative of the community, how could she support, let alone be associated with, such an organization? Mogahed responded to my questions by attacking me and dodging the issue.
Of course, Mogahed’s organization, ISPU, is as leftist as they come and is fully dedicated to pushing Democratic policy issues onto the Muslim community.
And there are many other examples of this dangerous pattern that I have written and spoken about over the past months and years.
Among the most alarming things has been how some organizations like CAIR have been forcing blaspheming, fahisha-promoting politicians like Ilhan “The Sharia Is Barbaric” Omar and Rashida “My Allah Is a She” Tlaib onto the wider community and demanding that Muslims support these two unrepentant LGBT-pride-marching Islamophobes financially and through the ballot box, essentially making them out to be heroes — or “sheroes” — for the Umma.
When these religious figures and their religious institutions align themselves and partner with orgs, activists, and political players who are pushing corruption and outright kufr, that corruption and kufr find an inroad into the community and negatively impact the iman of generations of Muslims. Essentially, these scholars, “shaykhas,” imams, ustadhas, et al., are white washing promoters of fahisha, blasphemy, and kufr and, thereby, facilitating the erosion of iman by their short-sighted political expediency.
We cannot let them keep doing this. We cannot continue to let them herd the community into the gaping jaws of ravenous foxes.
If these imams, et al., want to continue collaborating with such Islam-deforming people, fine. But the rest of us have the right and, in actuality, the duty to highlight these associations, ask tough questions, and demand answers.
It was bad enough when imams participated in a conference with just one problematic figure, namely Sarsour. How much worse would it be for an imam to participate in a conference that features figures with views even more dangerous than Sarsour’s? And not just one such figure but a dozen?
Sadly, this seems to be the case with Omar Suleiman, who is giving the keynote address at the First Annual Muslim Caucus conference this week.
To understand the damage caused by Omar Suleiman’s participation in this conference and his involvement with left-wing politics in general, we have to first understand what the Muslim Caucus is and what it stands for.
What Is the Muslim Caucus?
As stated on their website, “the Muslim Caucus of America represents the interest of the racially and ethnically diverse constituency of Muslim American Democrats.”
The Caucus’s stated purpose is to increase Muslim left-wing political engagement, and its top priority is “discrimination.” The founder and president of the Caucus, Ghazala Salam, explains what she understands as discrimination with the following:
“There is no other community in America that is as diverse in race and ethnicity as American Muslims. This inspires me to work with ALL communities [emphasis hers]. American Muslims are Muslim by faith and we are also diverse in gender, race, and sexual orientation (LGBTQ), immigrants, and Native Americans. We are as diverse as this world. […] In essence, we have to work with every community, every level of government, and every organization that fights for human rights, dignity, and respect.”
Standing for LGBT and trans rights is a major part of the Democratic National platform and therefore is a big part of the Muslim Caucus’s platform.
Rabbi Mark Winer, an interfaith colleague of Ghazala Salam, made a noteworthy statement about her vision for American Muslims:
“I’ve talked many times with Ghazala Salam and she sees the Jewish people as a good example for how a minority can thrive in a mostly Christian society. She and I both believe that Jews and Muslims should be much closer.”
The overall political orientation of the Muslim Caucus is best exemplified by the head of their Advisory Board: Keith Ellison.
Ellison was purportedly the first Muslim congressman. He made his mark over the course of his 12 years in Congress by, among other things:
- Receiving a 100% rating from NARAL, the pro-abortion national watchdog group.
- Voting for funding US troops in the Iraq War.
- Serving as vice-chair of the Congressional LGBT Caucus.
- Speaking out against boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel, i.e., BDS.
- Receiving glowing endorsements from Zionists for his commitment to the “Two State Solution.”
- Voting for $27 billion in aid to Israel.
- Reaffirming, time and again, his belief that “the US-Israel relationship is special and important. I’ve stood for that principle my whole service and my whole career.”
And even in his current role as attorney general in Minnesota, Ellison is still busy promoting homosexuality by dancing in LGBT pride parades with scantily clad women:
Sadly, Ellison is indeed representative of the reality of American Muslims in politics. So it is no surprise that he plays such a prominent role in the Muslim Caucus.
Besides Ellison, several other members of the Muslim Caucus advisory board have also shown support for left-wing positions that are diametrically opposed to Islamic values: support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights, abortion, collaboration with Zionists and opposition to BDS, etc. One advisory committee member, Shahed Amanullah, has a long history in governmental roles and policy groups pushing programs like Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in policing and surveilling the Muslim community.
But apparently, none of this disqualifies such individuals from sitting on this committee as esteemed advisers.
How any Muslim religious figure could justify association with such an overtly “progressive” group is beyond me. But this is the sad state in which we find ourselves.
Muslim Caucus’s Inaugural Conference Speakers
The Inaugural conference is scheduled for July 23 and 24 in Washington DC. Omar Suleiman is slotted to give the closing plenary keynote address at the end of the program.
The other major part of the conference program is a panel session featuring Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Khizr Khan. Honestly, it would be difficult to assemble a panel more representative of what is completely rotten with current Muslim political engagement.
With Khizr Khan, you have a man whose only claim to fame is that his son, Humayun Khan, died in the Iraq War in the line of duty. What was this duty? Slaughtering Iraqi Muslims. As I pointed out when Khizr Khan first entered the national discourse, Humayun Khan was part of a battalion stationed in Baqubah in 2004 that was involved with indiscriminately shooting civilian targets, harassing innocent Iraqi prisoners, and destroying Iraqi infrastructure. This is the person American Muslims are supposed to honor through his father, Khizr Khan, who is paraded around in these venues.
The fact that these Muslim orgs continue to trot him out is an embarrassment and a real blemish on the American Muslim community.
If that weren’t bad enough, Rashida will also be there on stage, hopefully not speaking about her kufr ideas.
In her short time in office, Rashida Tlaib has made no secret about how little she cares for Islamic values, with her shocking blasphemous statements about Allah as well as the Prophet, peace be upon him:
But the worst of the worst is Ilhan Omar.
I am not going to rehash all the anti-Islamic positions she takes, all the animosity she generates in the American public against the Muslim community, all the embarrassing displays of immaturity and immodesty she projects into the world for naive Muslim youth to be influenced by.
This is a person who has literally rallied the US Congress to denounce the Sharia and sanction all Muslim countries who implement it. She has gone on record calling the hudud of Allah “anathema to our values as humans.” The bill she introduced in May also denounces those aspects of the Sharia concerning Ahl al-Dhimma, i.e., “religious minorities.” Overall, her characterization of the Sharia as brutal, barbaric, anti-human, etc., is clear-cut kufr and betrayal in the highest degree of Islam and Muslims around the world.
For the life of me, I cannot imagine how any self-respecting Muslim, let alone an imam, could possibly defend or associate with such a brazen defamer of Islam. Even those few community members who used to “stand with her” because she “opposes Israel” have gone silent. Even they cannot justify associating with such kufr.
As one Palestinian brother told me, “I don’t care if she were literally on the ground in Gaza, physically fighting against the occupation. If she is going to spit on our deen, she is no different from our oppressors.”
Beyond these three, who else is slated to speak at the conference? Where to begin?
On the docket is Ani Zonneveld, the founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV). MPV is quite the distasteful group, to say the least, yet they are listed as sponsors of the Caucus conference. Their entire mission is to reform Islam and bend it to conform with liberalism in its most noxious form. They operate as an NGO and push liberal feminist LGBT fahisha onto Muslim communities in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and elsewhere.
Rummi Khan of “illMuslims” is also listed in the programming. illMuslims is supposed to provide a “halal” way for Muslim youth to party, go clubbing, dance with each other, dress to impress the sistahs and the bruthas, enjoy a music concert, and just have FUN, but in a totally HALAL way.
Yeah, it is as stupid and insidious as it looks.
Also on the docket: Mike Ghouse from the Center for Pluralism, which pushes interfaith nonsense by dictating to Muslims what Islam does or does not say about inclusivity. The Center also promotes perennialist notions of truth across all religions and an “enlightened” understanding of the Sharia.
For those of you who are unaware, Muslim Advocates has aggressively pursued the curtailment of Muslim rights in favor of LGBT accommodation. In 2017 they filed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, arguing accommodation of religious rights “discriminates” against LGBT individuals, and therefore religious rights should be strictly limited.
Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Christian baker who had refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding. But if Muslim Advocates had their way, Muslims would be forced to bake “gay nikah” cakes, hire openly LGBT Islamic school teachers and imams, teach Islamic school children the beauty of gay sex, etc.
If all this weren’t shocking enough, the inclusion of Qadiyani twitter troll Qasim Rashid is a whole new level of outrageous. Here is a non-Muslim man who has repeatedly made public claims to his thousands of social media followers that those who deny that Qadiyanis are Muslim are terrorists.
But What About … Muslim Concentration Camps?!
Now, I’m sure some will try to justify participation in this conference as politically necessary. Some will say that Muslims are facing a “genocidal moment” and that the threat of annihilation at the hands of Trump is serious enough to justify banding together with open zanadiqa and fussaq.
To these individuals I say:
Give us all a break already! Stop with the hollow fear mongering! No one buys it anymore!
It’s been three years of hearing the Chicken Little’s of the community screaming about how Trump is about to throw us all into death camps and how that justifies compromising Islamic ideals for the sake of survival. I think it is safe to say that these shrill voices have been completely discredited.
Back in 2016 before the presidential election, I argued that Trump would be surprisingly good for the Muslim community. I think my predictions turned out right. And I would be inclined to argue that Muslim life under Trump has been marginally better than what it was under Obama.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that Muslim life has been much, much worse under Trump. As bad as some may imagine it, though, it is no where near the apocalyptic dystopia some were wailing about three years ago. The sad thing, however, is that the fear-based compromises to Islamic ideals some Compassionate Imams have been pushing in these three years have utterly distorted Islam for those few Muslims running in their circles. Alhamdulillah, Muslims outside of those circles, i.e., everyone else, have been protected from these distortions and we all have to work hard to keep it that way.
Was that level of iman-distortion worth it? What did throwing Islamic principles under the bus buy us? What was accomplished? What earth-shattering catastrophe was averted?
The depressing thing is that these compromises are still being made and are being justified on the basis of the same delusional reasons.
Questions to Imam Omar Suleiman
Qadiyanis, feminist reformists, promoters of US militarism, buddies of Zionists, CVE pushers, promoters of fahisha and blasphemy, female “imams.” This conference has it all.
So why is Omar Suleiman — instructor at Almaghrib Institute, founder of Yaqeen Institute, former instructor at Bayyinah Institute, religious director and adviser for multiple Islamic groups and institutions — legitimizing this gathering with not only his presence, but also a closing keynote speech to cap off the event?
Imam Omar has had questionable political engagements and associations in the past, but to lend credibility to this group of individuals and organizations leaves one speechless. No other imam, scholar, or daee has put his name anywhere near this conference. And for good reason.
Does Imam Omar think that this Caucus and these conference participants are good representatives of Islam in America? Is their vision for the community a vision that he is endorsing? If not, is he willing to clarify? Is he willing to make crystal clear who and what he does and does not support? Or is he going to let the community come to its own conclusions?
Does Imam Omar not recognize that he is sending a clear message to his hundreds of thousands of followers around the world that these anti-Islamic individuals and their anti-Islamic causes are worthy of support and imitation? Does he not realize that when he goes on record supporting the likes of Ilhan “The Sharia Is Barbaric” Omar and Rashida “My Allah Is She” Tlaib and stands next to them on stage that he is crowning them as religious role models for the community?
Whether one wants to admit it or not, that’s what is happening.
Does he not realize that he is also encouraging these other speakers and giving them the impression that what they are doing is acceptable in Islam (or, at least, tolerable — otherwise why would a respected imam and religious teacher associate with us, deliver a nice speech to us, etc.?)?
Whether one wants to admit it or not, that’s what is happening, as ibn al-Jawzi described.
When it came to Hamza Yusuf, many were wondering why he would choose to join a Trump commission. What factors went into his choice?
But others were asking a deeper question. Out of all the imams, scholars, and Muslim religious figures, why did this Trump commission choose Hamza Yusuf?
For Omar Suleiman, we should be asking the same question.
NB: Imam Omar was contacted privately (not that it is necessary since his participation in this event is public and we are just asking basic questions any and all Muslims community members should be asking). There has been no response.
Last week, we published an article about Imam Omar Suleiman’s participation in the Muslim Caucus conference. We pointed out how this conference was organized by people with a very problematic, anti-Islamic ideological agenda. Among the evidence for this was the kind of figures who were given prominent platforms at the conference: Qadiyanis, feminist reformers of Islam, promoters of US militarism, Zionist collaborators, CVE pushers, promoters of LGBT and blasphemy, even self-labeled “female imams.”
In this article, we asked Suleiman several important questions, such as how, as a religious figure, he could justify legitimizing such a problematic event by not only speaking at the conference, but giving the closing keynote address.
To our knowledge, Suleiman has not responded to these simple questions. Does he not think the community deserves to know his justification for such behavior?
He did, however, publish a partial transcript of his keynote speech. For some reason, he did not share the video of the speech, which can be watched online.
Notably absent from the transcript was his high praise for the conference and the attendees, saying it was a “beautiful” gathering where everyone “across the spectrum” comes together to “speak their truths” and expressing his regret in that he didn’t have the “blessing” to “personally meet with” everyone there.
Blessing is a religious term, of course. Does Imam Omar think it would be a blessing to personally meet with those actively fighting the Muslim community and attempting to “reform” and “modernize” Islam?
So, how disappointing that Omar Suleiman not only attended and spoke at such a clearly noxious event, but even when he spoke, he explicitly endorsed it, its speakers, and their “truths.” (How many “truths” does the imam think there are?)
Another item Imam Omar posted (on the same day as the conference) was a hadith. He posted the following:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to embrace the worst of people with a cheerful face and kind words and soften their hearts. He used to embrace me with a cheerful face and kind words until I thought that I was the best of people.” – Narrated by Amr Ibn Al As (ra) in Shamaail Al Tirmidhi
Could this be a defense of his actions? Is he implying that the folks at the Muslim Caucus are among the worst of people and that he is like the Prophet ﷺ in embracing them with cheerful face and kind words?
Let’s take a step back. At first glance, this narration seems strange. Why would the Prophet ﷺ “embrace” the worst of people?
In English, “embrace” is used literally or figuratively. To embrace literally means to hug, e.g., “The man embraced his son in his arms.” To embrace figuratively means to accept or to adopt a religion or ideology, e.g., “The man embraced Islam.”
So which one of these applies to the Prophet ﷺ? Did he literally hug and hold in his arms the worst of people? Or did he accept the ideology of the worst of people?
Of course, the answer is neither because “embrace” is a poor and misleading translation of the narration. The Arabic is:
عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ ، قَالَ : كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , ” يُقْبِلُ بِوَجْهِهِ وَحَدِيثِهِ عَلَى أَشَرِّ الْقَوْمِ , يَتَأَلَّفُهُمْ بِذَلِكَ فَكَانَ يُقْبِلُ بِوَجْهِهِ وَحَدِيثِهِ عَلَيَّ ، حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنِّي خَيْرُ الْقَوْمِ
The context of this narration is very important. The noble Sahabi `Amr ibn al `Aas is describing how the Prophet would act with those he met with by giving them his undivided attention, not embracing them. This is significant for `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, because `Amr embraced Islam. He was in a state of kufr, i.e., the worst state, and he was with the worst of people. But the Prophet ﷺ didn’t embrace him; he embraced Islam. And in this narration he is describing how the Prophet’s noble character profoundly affected him. It was not that the Prophet was going around embracing the worst people and making the worst people feel self-assured about their kufr and misguidance. When he met someone, even a kafir, he gave him undivided attention and this had the effect for some of softening the heart and making one open to the Truth (not “truths”).
Sadly, we don’t see this in the actions of some of today’s prominent imams, who misconstrue and misuse examples like this to justify collaborating with the biggest distorters of Islam. And this is apparent from whom they associate with and how.
If “cheerfully” meeting and “embracing” the worst of people is what is being suggested by Imam Omar’s translation, is he willing to cheerfully meet and embrace, say, Donald Trump or his supporters? Is he willing to cheerfully meet and embrace white nationalists? Is he willing to cheerfully meet and embrace ICE officers? Why not? Doesn’t he want to follow this Sunna as he has translated it? Or does “the worst of people” only apply to liberal deviants, LGBT advocates, CVE experts, and female imams? Is the Sunna — as he has construed it — only applicable to one political party?
Furthermore, the Prophet ﷺ wasn’t going to gatherings organized by kuffar and the worst of people to tell them how blessed he is to be with them and how beautiful their gatherings are and to encourage them to “speak their truths.”
Rather, the Prophet ﷺ spoke clearly and unambiguously about Truth and falsehood, right and wrong, and the people of falsehood and misguidance stood condemned by his words and the Divine address. It was up to the people to then accept the Message and reform themselves or reject it.
All in all, the burning questions remain to be answered. If Imam Omar wants to avoid accountability, he can do that. But then we as a community have the prerogative to interpret his work in light of the associations he has willingly and publicly made for himself.
[Photo: Omar Suleiman stands in the center among other Muslim Caucus speakers and attendees for a group picture. The Muslim Caucus uses this picture and other pictures of Omar Suleiman on their social media to project religious legitimacy for their activities. They used this photo in a fundraising email with the following caption:
“To help close the historic conference, Human Rights Activist and Scholar, Omar Suleiman gave a moving closing keynote address on human rights, dignity, equity and justice for all through the lens of his experience with crisis at the border, with men, women and children who have been subjected to cruel policies that fail to reflect the kindness and diversity that are key pillars of our American democracy. Reminding us all that our leadership and participation is needed now more than ever.”
Did Omar Suleiman remind them that their leadership is needed, the “leadership” of fahisha promoters, female imams, LGBT advocates, and compromised counter extremism professionals?? Is that what he thinks?
Well, regardless, the rest of the community will differ with the imam and be direct with this Muslim Caucus:
We absolutely don’t need your “leadership,” leading the community to all kinds of misguidance and harm.]