PHILADELPHIA – June 22, 2023 – The Middle East Forum's (MEF) investigative and advocacy projects have dealt Islamists two setbacks in Massachusetts: (1) the denial of state funding for an unconstitutional, Islamist-backed bill; and (2) the suspension of a public official.
(1) The Massachusetts Legislature introduced a joint bill (S.1994/H.3052) on January 20, 2023, to establish an "American Muslim Commission" to "promote the civil rights and inclusion of American Muslims in the commonwealth." One of its proposed responsibilities, to "identify and recommend qualified American Muslims for appointive positions at all levels of government," favors one religion over others and so presents serious constitutional concerns.
In response, MEF launched a campaign to remove the problematic text from the bill. Dexter Van Zile, editor-in-chief of MEF's Focus on Western Islamism (FWI), released a report on the legislation that included statements from local religious and academic leaders who opposed the commission on constitutional grounds. Concurrently, Benjamin Baird of MEF Action, the Forum's grassroots activism project, pushed the bill's co-sponsors to remove the offending text.
"Almost as soon as I filed this bill, a number of right wing ... news outlets, etcetera were coming to my office to report on this, and there's been a fair amount of social media attacks in relation," State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Middlesex and Worcester) complained during a May 10 committee hearing. Senator Eldridge then announced the bill would be "narrowly focused, narrowly drawn, to just focus on creating this commission, but expressly stating there would be no state funding involved."
"This unlawful bill was watered-down and stripped of its harmful impact on Massachusetts communities, thanks to a combination of press inquiries, social media targeting, and relentless outreach," Mr. Baird said. "However, even without state funding, this legislation fails to properly separate 'church from state,' so we will continue to fight its passage."
(2) Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden on June 16, 2023, suspended True-See Allah, a devotee of Louis Farrakhan, from his position as chief of outreach.
Hayden announced the decision to suspend and investigate Allah one month after the publication of an MEF-produced exposé in The American Spectator. The article documented Allah's ties to the Nation of Islam and his praise of Farrakhan. Hayden initially stood by his staffer, but once Fox News picked up on the story, crediting MEF's report, he took the necessary step, prompting the Boston Globe to cover the controversy.
"Hayden should have acted more quickly, and it's still possible Allah will remain on staff at the DA's office," said Van Zile, who broke the story. "The suspension is a step in the right direction, but we will keep watching."
The Middle East Forum promotes American interests in the region and protects Western civilization from Islamism. It does so through a combination of original ideas, focused activism, and the funding of allies.
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