United States Action


Jeffrey Imm Articles

Back to US Action Home Page

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project Calls for Engagement with Muslim Brotherhood


The following is a summary of news reports and web site links regarding the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project, its calls for engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, and other excerpts from its report "Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World".

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project
An Initiative of Search for the Common Ground and the Consensus Building Institute


Press Reports:

September 23, 2008 - The New York Times: "Report Seeks Engagement With Muslims by Diplomacy" by Laurie Goodstein

September 23, 2008 - AP: "US ex-officials want good US relations with Islam" by Barry Schweid
-- group includes Ingrid Mattson, president of unindicted co-conspirator ISNA
--- AP: "The next U.S. president should speak out for better relations with the Muslim world in his inaugural address and pursue an accord between Israel and the Palestinians within three months of taking office, a diverse coalition of 34 former U.S. officials and civic leaders said in a report being issued Wednesday"

September 24, 2008 - MarketWatch: Bipartisan Group of U.S. Leaders Calls for 'Changed Course' in Relations With the Muslim World
-- "Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, circulated the report to his Senate colleagues, saying, 'The Project's report offers a thoughtful analysis of the current state of America's relations with the Muslim world and constructive recommendations on how we can approach this pressing concern in a bipartisan framework.'"


--- U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project Members include:
----- ISNA President Ingrid Mattson -- ISNA unindicted co-conspirator in HLF terror trial
----- former national director of MPAC Ahmed Younis - MPAC's director of communications praised Osama Bin Laden
----- see more about ISNA and MPAC here
----- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who blames Christians as those responsible for starting mass casualty violence
----- Dalia Mogahed - co-author with John Esposito on "Who Speaks for Islam?"
----- Dennis Ross, Consultant, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) - who in July 2008 announced that he was going to be a foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama campaign - "one of Obama's top advisers on the Mideast"


-- On front page ISNA President Ingrid Mattson states: "Mainstream Muslims need America to live up to its values and principles."
---- ISNA is unindicted co-conspirator in Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial

Ingrid Mattson, President, The Islamic Society of North America; Professor of Islamic Studies
"It is a sign of great hope that the Leadership Group, despite having substantial differences over policies and politics, was able to come together to develop this report. This was made possible by a shared belief that the vital interests of the American people need not, and must not, conflict with core American values affirming the dignity of all people and their right to freedom and self-determination. This is a message that the mainstream majority in the Muslim world will surely welcome, and it will help them in their desire to improve relations between their people and the United States."

Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; co-author with John Esposito of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think
"Never before has there been so much need for or so much consensus on a different way forward in our relationship with Muslims around the world. The recommendations of this report should be an integral part of the next president's first 100 days."


U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project Report: Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World
Alternate link (in event report "disappears")::

-- Report's Executive Summary
-- Full Report (PDF)
-- Endorsements of Report

Excerpts from the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project "Changing Course" Report - messages include:

** Engage with Iran **
-- page 4:
"Engage with Iran to explore the potential for agreements that could increase regional security, while seeking Iran's full compliance with its nuclear nonproliferation commitments."
-- page 44:
"The strongest source of U.S. leverage with Hamas may be a U.S. dialogue with Iran, discussed earlier, that could lead to a reduction in Iranian support for Hamas' military operations."

** Get Iran to Help Solve Islamic Supremacism in Afghanistan **
-- page 48:
"At the same time, the U.S. must address Pakistan's interest in negotiating with the Taliban to resolve conflicts in tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (discussed later). The U.S. also has a strong interest in finding out whether Iran can play a more constructive role in stabilizing Afghanistan (as discussed earlier)."

** Americans Are Not Concerned About Islamism **
-- page 51 - regarding the concerns of "most Americans"
"They are not deeply concerned about 'Islamist' parties coming to power, as long as those parties do not advocate violence and do respect basic human rights. Most Americans, like most Muslims, do not want to see violent extremist movements win power."

** Islamist Governments Based on Sharia Are "Powerful Source of Legitimacy" **
-- page 52:
"finally it is important for the U.S. to recognize the potential for Islamic principles of governance and their advocates to support accountable governance and the rule of law. In many Muslim countries, the most powerful source of legitimacy for reformers today is the Islamic injunction for leaders to rule justly and to be accountable to their people. The U.S. should not equate reform with secularism, nor should it assume that reformers who advocate some form of Sharia as the basis for the rule of law will inevitably abuse human rights or adopt anti-American policies."

** Critical of U.S. Government's Stance on Hamas and Hezbollah **
-- pages 52, 53, 54:
"Advocate consistently for nonviolence, pluralism and fairness in political contests. The current Administration has taken a significant step forward by advocating for political reforms in a number of Muslim countries with authoritarian governments. However, when political openings have allowed militant movements (most notably Hamas in the Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah in Lebanon) to gain popular support and win political power through elections, the U.S. has declared them illegitimate, based on their continuing refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, and their use of violence, and domestic political opponents."

** U.S should assess "engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements" **
-- page 59 -- recommendation that United States:
"Assess the value of engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements case-by-case, based on their principles, behavior, and level of public support"

** If Islamic Terror Groups Have Public Support, U.S. Should Dialogue With Them **
-- page 59 and 60:
"There is a range of views within the Leadership Group on the intentions, actions, and legitimacy of Hamas and Hezbollah. There is also a range of view on whether the U.S. should be in dialogue with either or both groups about conditions within their countries, or in regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, the Group has reached consensus on a set of criteria that the U.S. can use to judge whether, when, and how to engage in dialogue with armed political groups and movements:"
-- "Does the group or movement have a substantial base of legitimate public support, demonstrated by membership, electoral success, and/or mass mobilization?"

** Calls for Engagement with Muslim Brotherhood (whose motto is "Jihad is our way") **
-- pages 60 and 61:
"The U.S. must also consider when and how to talk with political movements that have substantial public support and have renounced violence, but are outlawed or restricted by authoritarian governments allied to the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood parties in Egypt and Jordan are arguably in this category."

** "Moderate" Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist Political Groups Should Be Encouraged **
-- page 56:
"After a period of violent opposition to the Egyptian government, the [Muslim] Brotherhood has moderated some of its goals and strategies as its candidates have been able to participate, tacitly in parliamentary elections. Other independent Islamist political parties have also begun to organize and compete, but the government continues to limit electoral competition. Given this context, the primary institution goal for the U.S. in Egypt should be to create opportunities for political participation and good governance at the local and national level."

** If We Don't Engage with Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. is Not Serious About Political Reform **
-- page 54:
"The U.S. has also sent mixed signals about its willingness to work with nonviolent Islamist parties, notably the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan. This inconsistency reflects a belief shared among many policy makers that there are significant trade-offs between U.S. security interests and our commitment to political reform. Though understandable, these U.S. responses to militants and nonviolent Islamist parties have confirmed the view of many Muslim citizens and mainstream reformers that the U.S. is not serious about political liberalization in Muslim countries."


U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project: Leadership Group Members
* Madeleine Albright, Principal, The Albright Group LLC; former U.S. Secretary of State
* Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International; former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
* Ziad Asali, President and Founder, American Task Force on Palestine
* Steve Bartlett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services Roundtable; former U.S. Representative; former Mayor of Dallas, Texas
* Paul Brest, President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
* Red Cavaney, President and Chief Executive Officer, America Petroleum Institute
* Daniel Christman, Lt. General (ret.), U.S. Army; Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
* Stephen Covey, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman, FranklinCovey; writer, speaker, and academic
* Thomas Dine, Principal, The Dine Group; former Executive Director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
* Marc Gopin, James H. Laue Professor of World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution; Director, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
* Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
* Shamil Idriss , Chairman of the Board, Soliya
* Daisy Khan, Executive Director, American Society for Muslim Advancement
* Derek Kirkland, Advisory Director, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley
* Richard Land, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Member, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
* Robert Jay Lifton, Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; author of Superpower Syndrome
* Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore; former Associate Secretary General, Catholic Near East Welfare Association
* John Marks, President and Founder, Search for Common Ground
* Susan Collin Marks, Senior Vice President, Search for Common Ground; author of Watching the Wind: Conflict Resolution during South Africa’s Transition to Democracy
* Ingrid Mattson, President, The Islamic Society of North America; Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of Islamic Chaplaincy, and Director, Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary
* Sayyeda Mirza-Jafri, Strategic Philanthropy Consultant
* Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; co-author with John Esposito of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think
* Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics, The Fletcher School, Tufts University; Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
* Feisal Abdul Rauf, Imam, Masjid al-Farah in New York City; Founder and Chairman, Cordoba Initiative; author of What's Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America
* Rob Rehg, President, Washington, DC office, Edelman
* Dennis Ross, Consultant, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; former U.S. Special Middle East Envoy and Negotiator
* S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Professor of Journalism, American University in Cairo; former Washington Bureau Chief, Al Arabiya news channel; former NBC News Cairo bureau chief
* Jessica Stern, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
* Mustapha Tlili, Director, Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West, New York University
* William Ury, Co-Founder, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School; co-author of Getting to Yes
* Vin Weber, Managing Partner, Clark and Weinstock; Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy; former U.S. Representative
* Daniel Yankelovich, Founder and Chairman, Public Agenda; author
* Ahmed Younis, Senior Analyst, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; former National Director, Muslim Public Affairs Committee
* Dov S. Zakheim, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton; former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)


U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project: Staff Members
* Robert Fersh, Project Co-Director and Executive Director, Search for Common Ground-USA
* David Fairman, Project Co-Director and Managing Director, Consensus Building Institute
* Paula Gutlove, Project Manager and Deputy Director, Institute for Resource and Security Studies
* Tom Dunne, Senior Fellow, Search for Common Ground-USA
* David Hermann, Project Research Coordinator and International Programs Associate, Consensus Building Institute
* Anuradha Herath, Communications Fellow, Search for Common Ground-USA
* Junnaid Javed, Fellow, Search for Common Ground-USA
* John Musselman, Project Administrator, Search for Common Ground-USA