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Faith Leaders

Factsheet: Faith Leaders for America

Published on 04 Dec 2018

IMPACT: Faith Leaders for America is a group of Christian and Jewish clergy pushing the Trump administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The group also expresses skepticism about interfaith dialogue between Muslims and other groups, which they consider part of the “the larger, stealthy Brotherhood ‘civilization jihad’ agenda” of “Islamic supremacists.”

Faith Leaders for America is a newly-formed campaign of Jewish and Christian clergy, advocating that the US government designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

The campaign describes itself as “an effort to assist the clergy of America in promoting real tolerance and freedom of religion in the face of the intolerant and repressive agenda of Islamic supremacists.” They are concerned that “Islamic supremacists” are using “clearly fraudulent ‘interfaith dialogue’” to advance their “‘civilization jihad’ agenda” and seek to “counter” the work of them and their “enablers.”

Father Leaders of America launched their campaign shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and after Senator Ted Cruz proposed a bill in Congress advocating the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Faith Leaders of America strongly supports the legislation.

The group is supported by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers an anti-Muslim hate group. CSP registered Faith Leaders’ web domain in October 2016, and also published a Faith Leaders press release on their website. On January 26, 2017, CSP head, Frank Gaffney, acknowledged that CSP gave “some initial administrative support and counsel” for the group and could continue to do so. In statements, Faith Leaders echoes many of the concerns of CSP, namely that “Muslim Brotherhood front groups, mosques and other Islamist organizations are making in into our nation’s religious life, communities and national fabric.” CSP’s falsified claims about a Muslim Brotherhood “civilization jihad” in America, to which Faith Leaders also ascribes to, have been debunked.

On its website, Faith Leaders calls Islamophobia a “made-up condition,” and does not acknowledge the recent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes that have been recorded by the FBI and other civil rights groups. Faith Leaders also laments the mainstreaming of interfaith partnerships and the use of phrases like “Islam is a religion of peace” and “Islam is a great Abrahamic faith.”

Faith Leaders for America urges clergy to sign their statement. So far 80 Jewish and Christian clergy people have signed. The group’s “call to prayer” encourages the President in enacting expected policies that Muslim and civil rights groups believe will target Muslims. It reads: “When you stop the mass importation of unvetted immigrants from areas that harbour, train, and send out jihadists, we support you. When you require appropriate extreme vetting for those who do enter the USA from these same areas, we support you.” Since the group’s launch, the administration has issued an executive order which would temporarily halt all refugee entry, and ban those from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

At the campaign’s press conference, Rev. Jerry Johnson said: “From the Middle East to Europe, from Africa to America, the evil specter of Islamic jihad has reared its ugly head again and again… Now the time has come to pray for our new president to counter this death cult.” During the Q&A, he claimed this about Muslim leaders in the US: “A lot of them agree with the jihadist agenda, the sharia agenda, the Muslim Brotherhood agenda. They’re part of the nexus. They’re part of the problem. But some of them probably do not agree.”

Lt. Gen. and Rev. Jerry Boykin claimed at the press conference that “the only groups that [the Bush and Obama administrations] reached out to were those that were the enemy.” Elsewhere, Boykin said he doesn’t believe Islam is a religion and thus “it should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At the press conference, speakers spoke of their Muslim family members, saying they “wouldn’t for anything want to hurt” or “discriminate against” Muslims.

Last Updated February 2, 2017