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October 13, 2020

Emgage Action Response to False Allegations by USCMO

On Thursday October 8, 2020 the US Council of Muslim Organization (USCMO) put out a false and misleading statement about Emgage. It is true that over the past several weeks Emgage was working with USCMO, in good faith, to address concerns raised by segments of the Muslim community about Emgage’s position on Palestine and the types of organizations Emgage engages or does not engage in directly. However, that is where the truth ends.

USCMO’s recent statement implies that Emgage collaborates with organizations that “harm the Muslim community” and does not support “causes of justice here and abroad, including the cause of Palestinian freedom.” This is patently false. Unfortunately, USCMO ignored the numerous statements and positions put out by Emgage to address these issues in favor of its ideological cancel culture. Emgage clearly laid out its values and positions on these issues in several places. ​See Emgage’s statement on MLIand Emgage’s work on Palestine​. USCMO’s statement also ​implies ​that it removed Emgage from its membership. The fact is that Emgage withdrew its membership from USCMO and released our statement of principles in ​an open letter to the Muslim American​ community. We did this without publicly referencing USCMO in order to preserve public unity. Emgage resigned from USCMO for the following reasons:

  1. Over the course of several weeks, Emgage repeatedly requested USCMO to postpone the discussions on these issues, many of which are either not based in fact or have previously been answered by Emgage, until after the election so we could collectively focus on turning out the Muslim vote and not divide our community. ​USCMO refused.
  2. Emgage is an engagement organization, and repeatedly asked USCMO to not force us or its membership to develop a public blacklist of organizations that we or any USCMO members would be prohibited to work with. While Emgage does NOT partner with organizations that are harmful to Muslim Americans, we also do not cede space or retreat from engagement when it can benefit the Muslim American community. ​USCMO refused.
  3. USCMO on multiple occasions “moved the goalposts” on Emgage as to the core issues of concern and the requested steps for Emgage to address these concerns to the satisfaction of USCMO. In the most recent meeting, USCMO’s leadership added a new redline for Emgage to comply with, that Emgage PAC had to rescind the endorsement of a Virginia congressional candidate based on his faith. Not only is Emgage PAC not a member of USCMO, but even if it were, it does not base its support of any candidate based on their faith.

It is unfortunate that USCMO issued an unprovoked statement on Emgage, less than a month away from the most significant election of our lifetime. It is also very troubling that these actions have been carried out in tandem with pernicious foreign-based attacks that reflect the back-home politics that we thought Muslims in America left behind. All of this comes at a time when Muslim Americans should be working to set aside divisions for common goals. We believe that is what the majority of Muslim Americans would expect from those who profess to serve them. There is no question that Emgage is not perfect and we seek to improve ourselves every day. However, we will not be bullied and will continue to stand up for Muslims in America who want an organization that engages on principle even on issues we disagree upon, advocates and fights for their interests, not foreign interests. We are always open to dialogue and look forward to working with our partners and others, for now our mission is to focus our time on getting out the vote November 3rd.