Last year, a minor controversy erupted at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention in Chicago. ISNA had allowed two activist groups, the Human Rights Campaign and Muslims for Progressive Values, to co-sponsor a booth.

But when convention organizers saw what kind of content was being distributed, they shut the booth down.

As it turned out, organizers deemed objectionable items like HRC’s “Coming Home to Islam and Self” booklet and a Muslims for Progressive Values brochure advocating LGBT-inclusive prayer spaces. The latter group’s #ImamsForShe campaign, advocating for equality for Muslim women, felt out of step with what was supposed to be “a religious, private, and family-oriented event.”

This seemingly isolated event is symptomatic of a larger anomaly: the “strange bedfellows” dynamic between American Muslims and the progressive political establishment.

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