How did the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a prominent American Islamist organization, respond when Hamas thugs beheaded captured Israeli soldiers, murdered civilians in their homes, kidnapped scores of women and children, and raped concert goers in an open field next to their murdered friends? What did it have to say about the atrocities, which represent the largest one-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, which took place on Simchat Torah, the day when Jews celebrate the gift of the Torah?
Well, USCMO issued a statement of solidarity with the Hamas thugs. It turned these atrocities into legitimate acts of self-defense. "The recent unprovoked and continuous attacks by Israel on Palestinian towns, cities, and refugee camps have resulted in tragic loss of Palestinian lives," it states.
The USCMO statement calls on governments in the Middle East to "reconsider" their decision to make peace with Israel. The USCMO also criticizes Israel for attempting to defend itself against Hamas violence, declaring "No security measures can bring true peace in the absence of justice."
The fact that the USCMO came to the aid of Hamas really isn't a surprise. It is the largest umbrella organization of Islamist groups in America, three of which — Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Muslims for Palestine, and the Muslim American Society — have roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. Two other member organizations, the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim Ummah of North America, are proxies for Jamaat-e-Islami, a violent South Asian Islamist movement that has provided funds to Hamas.
As images of Hamas barbarism continue to flood social media, the members of the organization might regret its statement. One of the most horrific videos broadcast on X, previously known as Twitter, was of the semi-nude body of Shani Louk, a tattoo artist from Germany, with a gunshot wound to her head. The video showed her being ferried, apparently unconscious, through Gaza City in the back of a pickup truck. Another video posted on X documented the abduction of another young woman, Noa Argamani, on a motorcycle as she screamed to her boyfriend for rescue. Another image posted on X showed a young Israeli boy being taunted and bullied by Palestinian children after his abduction.
The USCMO statement comes as no surprise to anyone who has been on the front lines of the fight against Islamist radicalism and jihadism in Muslim communities in the U.S., said Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam.
"If Americans ever needed a reason to completely abandon American Islamist groups wholesale as terror-sympathizing, un-American, antisemitic hate groups, the latest statement by the USCMO is it," Jasser said. "Their comments are not fit for any faith, humanity, or justice that they claim to represent."
Umar Lee, a Muslim convert to Islam who briefly supported Salafism before joining efforts to reform the practices of Islam, told Focus on Western Islamism that USCMO's statement fails to address Hamas atrocities that any responsible religious leader must acknowledge.
"People are being very vague with these celebratory statements," he said. "If you believe all of those things are justified, I want you to go point by point and tell me, 'Yes, I believe massacring kids at a party is acceptable. Yes, I believe rape is acceptable. Yes, I believe kidnapping is acceptable. Yes, I believe massacring families in their homes is acceptable. Yes, I believe massacring old people is acceptable.' I want you to go point by point by point and tell me you support each of those actions. None of these actions in anyway benefit the Palestinian people."
The statement's failure to address the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas cannot be placed solely at USCMO's feet, he added. "I don't have a problem with making a pro-Palestinian statement. But when you see the atrocities that occurred, you have to address that. You can't ignore that. What we saw on social media, on videos, you have to say, 'This is not sanctioned Islamically, and we call upon all parties to behave within moral parameters.'"
The USCMO statement reveals how Islamist groups convince leftists to mask Hamas's barbarism under the guise of humanitarian values, said Charles Jacobs, president of the Boston-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance.
"To add insult to injury, some of these organizations receive taxpayer funds directly from local, state and federal governments," Jacobs said.
Numerous data points confirm Jacobs's assertion. FWI recently reported that the Muslim American Society (MAS) has received $2.5 million from the state of New York over the past 10 years. And despite being named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, CAIR's chapters have received substantial sums in federal funds over the years. For example, CAIR's Oklahoma chapter received $249,950.00 from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2022 and its Florida Chapter received $75,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2016. All this, and more, has gone to organizations that promote Hamas's anti-Israel and anti-American agenda.
If any of USCMO's member organizations object to the statement, they haven't said so officially. FWI reached out via email to all USCMO's founding members for responses but got none. It has also contacted several of USCMO's second-tier council members for a response with no success.
USCMO's effort to impose its Islamist agenda on American Muslims has its limits however. The person who answered the phone at the Illinois-based The Mosque Cares, founded by Warith Deen Muhammed — who promoted an integrationist approach to Islam — told FWI that, according to his understanding of Islam, Muslims are called to promote goodness and peace for all humanity. While he would not give his name, he did tell FWI that "We offer our prayers and condolences for the lost of all human life, not just for Muslims and Jews, but for all humanity."
When asked if he condemned Hamas's atrocities, he said, "For me personally, that behavior from anyone is unacceptable."
Dexter Van Zile is managing editor of Focus on Western Islamism.