Turkey’s Erdogan Declared Ummah Leader at DC Muslim Brotherhood Rally Condemning Trump Recognition of Jerusalem

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The decision  by United States President Donald J. Trump on 6 December 2017 to uphold the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital set in motion a chain of events that further exposes the deepening ties among the Muslim Brotherhood-led United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), our NATO “ally” Turkey, and the overall Red-Green Axis. These events follow on an April 2017 exclusive report from Center for Security Policy, which highlighted the increasingly close collaboration between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the senior leadership of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohsin Ansari, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Nihad Awad, CAIR; Halil Mutlu, Turkish American Steering Committee (TASC)

Immediately following an extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit called by Turkish President Erdogan in Istanbul during the week of 11 December 2017, USCMO and Muslim Brotherhood organizations from around the U.S. converged on the nation’s capital on Saturday, 16 December 2017 for a big demonstration at the Ellipse south of the White House. After the conclusion of afternoon Islamic prayers at the Ellipse, the protesters marched along Pennsylvania Avenue up to Capitol Hill. Following the lead of Erdogan and the OIC, USCMO leadership declared Jerusalem a “red line for the Muslim world” and condemned the legitimacy and credibility of the Trump administration for the action taken by the U.S. government.

It was, in fact, the featured speaker from the Turkish American Steering Committee, Director Hilal Mutlu, who reiterated the point made by Erdogan as he stated, “We said before, Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is our redline.” His statement is especially significant because Halil is not only a first cousin of Erdogan, but recognized by Muslims as Erdogan’s “brother” because of the closeness of that relationship.

Joining directly in these efforts to send a message to President Trump and the American people was Turkey, a state actor component. The pro-HAMAS Turkish government, under the leadership of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), delivered a message through Hilal not only to Muslims across the United States, but around the world. American news networks were oddly absent from this significant event outside the White House and provided no coverage of it at all.

The groundwork for what is now has developed into a close working relationship between Erdogan and the USCMO began well before the March 2014 announcement of the USCMO’s formation. By August 2014, a USCMO delegation led by Secretary General Oussama Jammal was traveling to Ankara to meet with President Erdogan and AK Party leaders.

At the 16 December demonstration (held notably while President Trump was present inside the White House), demonstrators cheered loudly when Mutlu declared, “My President, your president, president of the ummah Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” Demonstrators also responded boisterously at mention of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s defiance against a U.S. move of its embassy to Jerusalem. Responding back as Mutlu spoke, denouncing President Trump and calling on him to reverse his decision on Jerusalem, demonstrators shouted, “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, true leader of Ummah [Muslim believers].”

USCMO Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered at the Ellipse, south of the White House to protest Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

*Picture from USCMO website*

USCMO Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators marching along Pennsylvania Avenue towards Capitol Hill following afternoon prayers held at the Ellipse

*Picture from USCMO website*

The Muslim Brotherhood’s media messaging sequence and coordinated efforts to construct and control the narrative is emerging—and the carefully calibrated language used by the international Muslim Brotherhood leadership and its domestic affiliates here in the U.S. should serve as a warning to Western leaders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on 5 December 2017: “Jerusalem, Mr. Trump, is a red line for Muslims. We will continue our fight against this with determination until the very end. And, this could go all the way to our cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.”

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, also speaking on 5 December 2017, but from the grounds of the U.S. White House, added: “Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not only morally wrong but it is against our national strategic interest in the region and in the Muslim world.”

USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal declared, “The U.S. Council of Muslim organization believes that any move on the status of Jerusalem will jeopardize peace and stability of the Middle East.”

On 7 December 2017, the United States Council of Muslim Organizations issued the following chilling statement:

“USCMO vehemently opposes President Donald Trump’s unilateral and reckless declaration that the United States will recognize the Holy City of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and denounces his order to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as an unwise deviation from long-standing U.S. policy…The US Council of Muslim Organizations calls upon the American people and our political leadership to reject this dangerous declaration and to begin the process of walking it back before it plunges the world deeper into intractable conflict.”

In this declaration, entitled “A Statement of the US Council of Muslim Organizations on President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel,” the tone of the language is both hostile and threatening, and should be taken as a serious warning. The USCMO statement is cited below in its entirety, but key language to note in the USCMO statement includes the following carefully-chosen words and phrases:

  • “vehemently oppose”
  • “declaration is offensive and provocative”
  • “harms American interests”
  • “beyond the pale”
  • “lighting a fuse to an explosive conflagration . . . with slaughter and suffering,”
  • “incendiary and will reap its inflammatory intent” (It is important to note that “inflammatory” is a term associated with “Day of Rage” messaging.)

“Statement US Council of Muslim Organizations on President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel”

*Screenshot from USCMO website*

Prior coordination in the wording of these declarations appears evident among the international Muslim Brotherhood, its U.S. affiliates, and the supporting narrative originating in Turkish media agencies. In fact, the Turkish news Andadolu Agency published an article that was not only directly in line with the Muslim Brotherhood, but which quoted from HAMAS-doing-business-as-CAIR and the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) as sources for its 6 December 2017 report, “Trump’s Jerusalem plans ‘reckless and dangerous’”. Since its 2014 formation, the USCMO has regularly utilized the Anadolu Agency for dissemination of information to the Muslim world.

From left to right: USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal, Osama Abu Irshaid (National Director, AMP), and Nihad Awad (Executive Director, CAIR National)

*Picture from Anadolu Agency*

Then, at the 13 December 2017 OIC summit in Istanbul, Turkish President Erdogan sounded a strident note when he called Israel a ‘terror state’. The following day, the OIC leadership declared that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and viewed the decision by President Donald J. Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “encouragement to Israel – the occupying power, to continue their policy of colonization, settlement, apartheid and ethnic cleansing of people of Palestine.” It further warned: “[We] consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the [city], is null and void and lacks any legitimacy.”

Following the conclusion of the USCMO led protest and demonstration march in Washington, DC on 17 December 2017, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim followed up, discussing President Trump’s actions as a “miscalculation” and pointed out that “those who miscalculate on Jerusalem al-Quds in this region will eventually regret it.”

Due to the strange absence of coverage by U.S. media outlets, Congressional and national security leadership, as well as the American public at large, were completely oblivious to the fact that twenty-eight organizations from the across the country participated in the White House protest, which included a substantial effort to bus hundreds of protesters in from around the country including from Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, Tampa, FL, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, PA, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Far-left groups like Code Pink and interfaith entities associated with the Brotherhood front group, Islamic Society of North America’s “Shoulder to Shoulder” program, also stood in solidarity with the listed Islamic organizations and groups generally associated with the domestic Muslim Brotherhood.

USCMO “Jerusalem Forever Capital of Palestine” Rally and Participating Organizations and Groups

*Screenshots from American Muslims for Palestine website*

A worldwide coalition of the Islamic Movement, that arises out of the OIC and increasingly includes allies from the anarchist, communist hard-left as well as a number of unwary faith communities, is stepping up its agenda inside the U.S. Of key significance is the financial, ideological, and physical leadership role being played by Erdogan, his AK Party, and the nation state of Turkey. As the Trump administration, Congress, and the State Department move forward with plans to re-locate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, this Red-Green Axis of opposition will merit close monitoring.

Center for Security Policy

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