Muslim Brotherhood affiliates like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim American Society have cast themselves as the gatekeepers to the Muslim-American community. A new Gallup poll shows that the Brotherhood’s campaign to lead the Muslim-American community through these fronts has failed, as only a small minority feel represented by them.
The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center asked Muslim-Americans which group represented them, if any. The Council on American-Islamic Relations had the highest level of support, with 12 percent of men and 11 percent of women choosing it. The Islamic Society of North America came in second, with four and seven percent of men and women choosing it, respectively. The Muslim Public Affairs Council came in third, with six percent of men and one percent of women. The Islamic Circle of North America came in last, with 2 percent of men choosing it and less than one percent of women choosing it.
Altogether, that means only 24 percent of Muslim-American men and 19 percent of Muslim-American women feel represented by one of the above five Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Of these, a significant portion are likely unaware of their favored organization’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The ability of these groups to jointly mobilize this minority of Muslim-Americans in order to influence the political process, as well as the rest of the Muslim-American community, is not to be overlooked. However, the survey shows that a majority of Muslim-Americans do not look to the Brotherhood network for leadership, and it is susceptible to a challenge from within the community if enough resources are available.
The Brotherhood network has taken a major hit since 9/11. Its support was further damaged when CAIR and ISNA were labeled “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial and tied to the Brotherhood and Hamas by the federal government. In 2007, the Washington Times reported that CAIR’s membership fell from 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. This caused annual revenue from membership dues to also decline from nearly $734,000 to less than $59,000, forcing CAIR to rely upon about two dozen donors for most of its budget.
The Gallup poll also found that 81 percent of Muslim-Americans support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which violates a core tenet of the Islamist ideology. Only 10 percent say killing civilians can sometimes be justified, the lowest of the religious groups surveyed. In 2007, a Pew poll found that 78 percent of Muslim-Americans feel suicide bombings are never justified. Most interestingly, the survey found that only 50 percent of Muslim-Americans take the Koran entirely literally.