The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, apparently aware of the stigma associated with their names, has a new modus operandi: Work through interfaith partners whenever possible. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is using that tactic in its lawsuit against the National Security Agency, letting the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles take the lead.
A coalition about 20 groups, led by the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, are suing the NSA for its collection of phone records that could help it track Americans in touch with terrorists and foreign intelligence operatives. The coalition also includes the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) National, CAIR-California and CAIR-Ohio.
Other plaintiffs include Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, the Election Frontier Foundation the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, People for the American Way, Public Knowledge, TechFreedom, Media Alliance, Open Technology Institute, Free Press, Free Software Foundation, the California Association of Federal Firearms Licenses, the Calguns Foundation and the Franklin Armory.
Two other comical inclusions are Students for a Sensible Drug Policy and the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Apparently, smoking pot makes you an authority on the balance between electronic intelligence-gathering and civil liberties.
The coalition argues that the NSA is violation the right of association derived from the First Amendment that prevents the government from “interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibit the petition for a governmental redress of grievances.”
There is not a single example of someone being unable to “peaceably assemble” as a result of the program. The phrase “peaceably assemble” does not include communication with a terrorist or spy service.
You cannot be prosecuted for solely associating with someone, but that doesn’t mean that the government’s can’t (and shouldn’t) consider your protected, legal actions when conducting an investigation. For example, it is legal for someone to praise Hamas as “martyrs,” but virtually everyone would hope that it’d be taken into account by investigators.
In justifying its lawsuit, the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles used its own version of “Islamophobia” to stir up fears and play the part of the persecuted victim.
“We joined this lawsuit to stop the illegal surveillance of our members and the people we serve. This spying makes people afraid to belong to our church community,” Rev. Rick Hoyt said.
Move over “Islamophobia.” It’s time to make room for “Unitarianphobia.”
KCET points out that the “church has a history of political activism, including a 1950s lawsuit challenging a loyalty oath required by the state for organizations to be recognized as nonprofits.”
Well, that might explain why the First Unitarian Church has no qualms about teaming up with CAIR, a group identified by federal prosecutors as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s secret Palestine Committee that was set up to promote the Hamas agenda.
Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of CAIR-California, depicts the lawsuit as part of a larger defense against anti-Muslim persecution by the government.
“The American Muslim community has complained of such wholesale surveillance for more than a decade—with FBI visits, mosque surveillance and agent provocateurs at the forefront of those complaints,” she said in a press release.
Billoo is never one to miss an opportunity to paint the FBI as an adversary. In 2011, her CAIR chapter made a poster with a picture of a menacing FBI agent and the words, “Build a Wall of Resistance: Don’t Talk to the FBI.”
Her support for Hamas (and its violence) and the elimination of Israel is available for public viewing. After Israel initiated Operation Pillar of Defense, she sent out a series of furious tweets. This included:
- “Israel ‘defending’ itself is analogous to Nazi Germany defending itself from Jewish uprisings.”
- “#LiesImTiredofHearing: Apartheid Israel is only defending itself. That is as true as a rapist who invades your home may defend himself.”
- “So Israel has ‘unleashed the gates of hell’ on #Gaza, so let the gates of hell be unleashed on Israel on the Day of Judgment.”
- From the river to the sea, Palestine WILL be free.”
The relationship between CAIR and Unitarians goes beyond a single issue. The Connecticut chapter of CAIR recently held a workshop on “Islamophobia” at All Souls Unitarian Church in New London. About 75 people attended and likely learned about the supposedly anti-Muslim bigotry of CAIR’s opponents. The event was sponsored by the congregation and the Unitarian Universalist Fund for Social Responsibility.
The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations is a listed “interfaith partner” of the Islamic Society of North America, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The Association is also a member of the ISNA-allied Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign.
Last week, the Islamist ties of Religions for Peace USA, “the largest and most broadly-based representative multi-religious forum in the United States,” were detailed.
The alliance includes ISNA and its fellow U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities, the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America. Rev. Eric Cherry of the Unitarian Universalist Association is on the Executive Council and the Association’s Rev. Peter Morales is on the Council of Presidents.
This type of interfaith alliance-building was foretold in the 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo that instructed the network to “master the art of ‘coalitions,’ the art of ‘absorption,’ and the principles of ‘cooperation.’” The Unitarian leadership should read it.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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