The election of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and other Muslim candidates supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in the United States (US) Congress has thrown a challenge to rights and representation of other religious minorities in the USA. Their attempt to impose their Islamic cultural symbols on Americans has posed a threat to the cultural ethos of other religious minorities. They are also not open to any criticism or correction, while they deserve a right to challenge others. ‘Islamophobia’ is being used extensively to silence all critics. CAIR / ISNA has publicly been alleged to have terrorist connections.
With their published goal to bring Islamic doctrines into politics into the USA, they have strategically worked to promote candidates who keep their interests in perspective. With their exclusive Muslim community focus, there is bound to be a more religious and communal polarization within the US Congress. They have successfully aligned with Leftist Democrats to gain a foothold in American politics. With Democrats supporting them, it has become a leftist-Islamic doctrine which has the potential to hurt the interests of Non-Muslim religious minorities in the US. It could also damage the fabric of Democracy as we know it. The historic clash of Judeo-Christian ideology with Islamic ideology is almost inevitable now. That brings Middle Eastern politics at the forefront in the USA. This has far-reaching impacts on the future of American politics.
Instead of working for national integration and promoting a common American Value system, Democrats have allowed themselves to be used by these communal organizations in their apparent zeal to capture votes. This is itself an ideological crisis for the traditional Democratic party.
What is CAIR?
For those who don’t know, CAIR is a Muslim only Civil Rights and Advocacy group established in 1994 in Washington DC, USA. Their anti-Israel bias is well known since their founders had deep connections with Middle Eastern politics. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned CAIR as a terrorist organization because of its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. ISNA officially came into existence in 1982 with the merger of many Muslim Student Organizations. Their official goal is to protect Muslim communities and expand Islamic culture in the USA. ISNA has openly anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) and anti-Israel views, even though not acknowledged publicly. These organizations have successfully projected Islamophobia to gain more rights over other religious minorities and in some cases even over majority Christians. With their communal focus and indirect entry into American politics, there is bound to be a communal polarization that may be an immediate threat to the interests of the Indian American community. Their demand for special civil rights for their community is a threat to the civil rights of other religious minority communities.
While CAIR and ISNA may not be an immediate threat to non-Muslims in the USA today, they have the potential and capacity to bring middle-eastern ideological conflicts within the USA. Their ideology is pan-Islamic instead of pan-American. Their indirect entry into political space in the US is worth to be noted. With the current Muslim community being small, their full impact is not yet seen in the political spectrum, but we can already see a sample in the behavior of just two congress reps – Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib affiliated to them. Their community focus has gotten those two politicians elected, which is apparently a success in mainstreaming their ideology. Their fantastic strategy has been to use women and skin color. These organizations keep the interest of their community above anyone else, which itself is a threat for civil liberties for people outside their community. This is communal politics, which is not good for the world’s largest democracy. Their disrespect to the American constitution will be seen in times to come. Their ultimate goal is Islamic conquest or caliphate in the USA, even though they may not admit it now publicly. But they are moving in that direction. Their main strategy to keep their influence over the Muslim community in the USA are:
- Islamophobia – Islam is under threat in the USA
- Muslims are discriminated against in the USA
- Differentiation between Muslims and Non-Muslims at a social level (promoting Hijab in women, food labeling, and so on)
- Controlling discourses in Mosques
- Using foreign money to build Mosques in the USA
- Using global conflicts to polarize their audiences
- Ex-Muslims should not be given any voice (25% of all Muslims in the USA)
- Negate calls for reform in Islam
The Democrats’ Dilemma
Leftist Democrats have given them a platform and voice at a national level which is a failure for Democrats. Instead of working for national integration and promoting a common American Value system, Democrats have allowed themselves to be used by these communal organizations in their apparent zeal to capture votes. This is itself an ideological crisis for the traditional Democratic party. This is an ideological attack on American Exceptionalism and American leadership in the world. Democrats have moved away from a national narrative to be played into communal narratives which will hurt the US in the long run. More mainstream Democrats have already begun to question the ethos and long term future of a national party. The election loss of leading Democratic candidates in 2016 has morphed into hatred of everything American. While some leftist Democrats may have thought to promote communal politics as an excellent way to capture votes, they failed to analyze long term impact for the US as a country. The US was founded on the promise for Freedom which is under threat by these communal politics. Democrats have to analyze the long-term impact of communal politics on a nation founded on the ideals of Freedom and liberty for all. Democrats should be wise enough to see the impact of political correctness in Europe. The price of political correctness is paid by innocents and weak.
Indian Americans see a replay of the script
Indian Americans have contributed immensely to the growth of the American Economy in all spheres of life. Hindu Americans have brought Yoga, Vegetarianism, and Ayurveda to the centerfold in the American lifestyle which has helped millions. Indian American Doctors, Researchers, Entrepreneurs have enriched American society in many ways both financially and culturally. Today Indian Americans are the richest community in the US. Sikh, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil communities from India which came to the US as far back as the mid-1800s have fully integrated themselves into the American society in a wonderful way as have other communities from India while retaining their cultural ethos. We don’t find any community from India attempting to impose their cultural views on Americans in complete disregard of the American way of life. Indian origin politicians have worked for all communities without discriminating anyone on a religious or community basis. However, with the rise of Muslim focused politicians in US politics, the Hindu American community has to analyze ways to protect them against any cultural imposition by these communal politicians. With a population of around 4.5 to 6 million, Indian Americans have to be ready to politically assert themselves for their rights and culture while retaining progressive outlook to make the US stronger and contributing to American exceptionalism and innovation.
With the rise of communal politics in the USA, there is a need to unite all Indian origin people under one umbrella coalition organization to forcefully protect their culture and innovation. An American umbrella organization for all Indians of Indian origin is a great vehicle to initiate a controlled dialogue. Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, and any other religious minority with common dharmic roots need to have a voice in a united way in the congress and senate. The key goals for this umbrella organization can be to
- Protect Indian American community from Communal groups such as CAIR/ ISNA
- Promote Indian American Entrepreneurs that contribute to the growth of USA
- Protect and promote Dharmic cultural & spiritual values
- Promote Mainstream Media visibility of Indian American views
- Promote politicians that protect the interests and aspirations of Indian Americans
With American Politics changing because of demographic and external influences, Indian Americans have to take political and community initiatives to protect their interests. The growth of the Indian community in the USA will now be directly proportional to the protection of their interests.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.