The progressive political left has made an alliance with American Islamists; but leftists should be more wary. At a recent conference on Palestine, a Palestinian Islamist and Democratic party candidate compared it to an alliance made with future "enemies."
From November 22-24th Chicago hosted the 11th Annual "Convention for Palestine in the US" that marked the 70th year of the establishment of Israel, which the Palestinians describe as the Nakba (setback). The convention, organized by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), attracted both international and domestic Islamists as well as leftists like Ilan Pappe, an Israeli expatriate professor, activist, and writer. Pappe, who spoke at the convention, called for the removal of the State of Israel from the map, and the creation of a Palestine that would include his hometown: Haifa, a major Israeli city located on the Mediterranean coast.
But is the relationship between the left and Islamists one of shared values, or merely a tactical maneuver?
One of the speakers, Ibraheem Samirah (also spelled Sumaira), a first generation Palestinian-American Islamist and candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2019, described in detail how Islamists should view its alliance with the American left.
Samirah gave a speech about the importance of making alliances with American progressive movements. He explained that in order to achieve their goals, particularly undermining the State of Israel and the "Zionist" lobby in the West, Palestinian Americans should be pragmatic and temporarily ignore their differences with progressive parties in the West.
Samirah added that this "alliance" strategy was inspired by the example of Muhammad, who forged temporary alliances with pagan tribes in order to achieve his goals.
Samirah told the audience:
"[Muhammad] had to form treaties with his enemies. He had to form alliances with people who weren't necessarily believers of his message, who would later on become people who would be his enemies."
This notion of temporary treaties or agreements with enemies, known as "Hudna", is a popular one often invoked by Islamist groups to justify momentary concessions.
Such statements by Samirah at the convention raise questions about the extent of his support for progressive policies like those he describes on his campaign website.
There, Samirah writes that he "is alarmed by the growing wave of not only Islamophobia, but also rising opposition to women's rights, nativism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, (...) racism (...)" and that he "believes strongly that no Virginian should be targeted on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability."
The progressive Left wrongly views American Islamists as the official representatives of American Muslims, rather than as ideologues pursing their own radical political agenda.
Samirah's own story is reflective of this. Samirah is the son of Sabri Ibrahim Samirah, a prominent Palestinian activist and Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood leader.
In 2003 the Bush Administration barred the elder Samirah from returning to the U.S. for security reasons after a trip to Jordan.
The younger Samirah describes the Bush administration's decision to deny his father entry to the United States in terms of Islamophobia and his role as an activist for Muslim causes. (A judge eventually overturned the decision in 2013.) But while the U.S. government never revealed the reason for the ban, it likely had more to do with Sabri Samirah's role as chairman of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) than Islamophobia.
IAP was a Muslim Brotherhood organization established in the United States to support Hamas with propaganda services, according to federal prosecutors citing seized documents.
The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), at whose conference Ibraheem Samirah spoke, have been described as an outgrowth of IAP, according to Congressional testimony.
And AMP is the "most important sponsor" of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a radical campus group which Samirah was a member of during his time in university.
Despite their claims to the contrary, American Islamists do not represent the American Muslim community, but rather a transnational movement that seeks to change the social fabric in the West in order to establish regressive radical Islamic communities.
For Islamists, a relatively small minority of American Muslims, the goal of an alliance with American progressives is using their sizable numbers to achieve Islamist political goals, while being willing to betray their allies at the first opportunity, as Samirah hinted in his speech.
Progressives has traditionally emphasized separation between Church and State, women's rights, support for the LGBTQ movement, and rejecting bigotry and anti-Semitism, while Islamists are almost against all of these things.
The Left may be enamored and intrigued by the Palestinian Islamists and their fight against "imperialism," but if the Left casts its lot in with Islamists, they should expect to be stabbed in the back.
And they can't say they weren't warned.
Hesham Shehab is an Associate for the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG) based in Chicago. Kyle Shideler is the Director of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG), an organization devoted to investigating and exposing Islamist influence in local communities.