Lately, Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has been staking out a position as defender of the American Muslim community against the supposed white nationalism of Donald Trump. Along with fellow candidate Bernie Sanders, Sen. Warren was outspoken in support of Rep. Ilhan Omar when President Trump attacked Omar earlier in the year. Warren has also vocally opposed the so-called "Muslim Ban," a major priority for Muslim activist groups.
Unfortunately, in the process Warren has become close to several organizations that promote political Islamism—an imperialist ideology demanding that Muslims seek political supremacy as a religious imperative. Some of these organizations are connected to actual terror organizations, or otherwise supportive of them.
For example, in December 2016 Sen. Warren was a featured speaker at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), the infamous "Roxbury Mosque," at the urging of one of her staffers who attended the mosque. This mosque has deep connections to terrorism: the Islamic Society of Boston was founded by convicted terror financier Abdurahman Alamoudi, the Roxbury Mosque itself had Muslim-Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi as a trustee, and several attendees later joined al-Qaida and Islamic State. Furthermore, at the time ISBCC was under the direct control of the Boston chapter of the Muslim-American Society (MAS), the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In her drive to oppose Trump and support an embattled minority, Sen. Warren is actually lending her credibility to radical groups that do not reflect the American Muslim mainstream. This could simply reflect a commitment by Warren to civil rights and equal treatment for all Americans, married to a lack of care over whom to associate with.
But it could also be part of a disturbing new trend, in which a former supporter of Israel is ostentatiously embracing political Islamism to slyly court the increasingly anti-Semitic radical wing of the Progressive movement. By supporting Islamists, Sen. Warren might be signaling that she's now on board with the hard-Progressive argument of "intersectionality"—that all so-called "marginalized" groups need to be uncritically supported against their supposed oppressors, including the United States itself.
The warning signs have been piling up. Starting with President Trump's election in 2016, Warren also began associating with Islamist groups in order to criticize Trump's "Muslim ban." In January 2017, Warren was one of the featured speakers at a protest against the misnamed "Muslim ban" held by the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization presenting itself as a civil-rights champion of Muslims that actually was founded by the covert Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood. The FBI severed ties with CAIR in 2009, after evidence of its close ties to the terror organization Hamas was presented during the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance trial.
CAIR also works constantly to support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel. BDS was initially funded and propelled in the United States by the Islamist group American Muslims for Palestine, a front group for Hamas; and it has the professed aim of destroying Israel entirely and ethnic-cleansing its Jews from the region.
In June 2018, Warren participated in the "Women Disobey" march against the family-separation policies carried out at the Mexican border. One of the main organizers was Linda Sarsour, a noted Islamist radical who is the executive director of MPower Change, which regularly claims that the United States is corrupted by white supremacy, and calls for the abolition of ICE and the entire prison system (!).
Unsurprisingly, observers have noted a recent shift in Warren's tone towards Israel, from her previous support to sharp criticism. As late as 2014, Warren stated that "America has a very special relationship with Israel" and defended increased military funding; but more recently attacked Trump's move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, condemned new settlement activity, and called for expanded U.S. aid to Gaza. Some former supporters grew concerned that Warren was no longer "doing her homework" and was trying to position herself for the 2020 presidential campaign at Israel's expense.
Then in March 2019, Warren refused to attend the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC's national conference and gave no explanation, despite having attended in the past. This followed a joint pressure campaign by MoveOn.org and Sarsour's organization MPower Change.
After the massacre of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, Warren stated that "in the same way that ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorism pose a threat to the United States, so does the rise of white nationalism." The comparison is overheated; while white-supremacist terrorism is more dangerous now than in recent years and needs to be dealt with, modern white supremacists have never marshaled standing armies with thousands of personnel, nor have they managed to control territory or form their own state as ISIS did.
Furthermore, there are dozens of government agencies and civil-society groups working to counter white supremacy; while ISIS was allowed to fester and gain strength because self-serving American policymakers were trying to preserve the illusion of normality for as long as possible. (The same mistake is today being made with Islamists, who have managed to burrow into political organizations and community institutions across the United States.)
So why compare the two? Here, Warren was echoing a line pushed in unison by hard-Progressive activist groups as well as Islamist organizations such as CAIR and Emgage; CAIR-Oklahoma director Adam Soltani went so far as to say that "white supremacy is the root of Islamophobia," and Emgage has made white supremacy a recurring theme in their messaging.
In June, the Warren campaign hired a new Director for Progressive Partnerships, an activist named Max Berger. Berger has a long history of incendiary claims against Israel and in support of domestic Islamists like Omar Suleiman, which were so virulent that Berger recently cleared his entire Twitter history to conceal them.
Finally, on June 24th Warren was one of only three presidential candidates (the others being third-tier candidates Bill DeBlasio and Jay Inslee) to address the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy 2019, a conference of Islamist politicians, candidates, and activists that featured some of the most harmful Islamist voices in the United States, including CAIR founder Nihad Awad.
Supporting the American Muslim community against the Trump administration has become good Progressive politics. But associating herself with Islamists like CAIR and Linda Sarsour indicates that Warren may be going far beyond simple political gestures, and is actually internalizing the Islamist narrative. That is a mistake. The goal of the Islamist movement is nothing less than the delegitimization of the American constitutional order and the seizure of political power. The American Muslim community is incredibly diverse and has more voices than just the Islamists; if Senator Warren wants to support the Muslim community, associating with the Islamists is the last thing she should do.
Dr. Oren Litwin is the associate director of Islamism in Politics, a project of the Middle East Forum.