Arab and Muslim community politics is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States and Canada. The emergence of organizations claiming to represent ethnic Arab communities as well as born Muslims, reflect four successive major developments in the North American political and social context.
The first was the proliferation of immigrants from Arab countries settling in the U.S., a phenomenon that began to develop some momentum in the 1970s.
The second development was the radicalization of Arabs in North America, under the influence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1982 theMuslim Brotherhood, which Islam expert Robert Spencer has called "the parent organization of Hamas and al Qaeda," adopted a strategic plan known as "The Global Project for Palestine." This Project laid the groundwork for a terrorist "secret apparatus" that eventually would culminate in the creation of Hamas in December 1987 and the unveiling of the Hamas charter in August 1988. As an outgrowth of this project, in May 1991 the Muslim Brotherhood issued to its ideological allies an explanatory memorandum on "the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America." Explaining that the Brotherhood's mission was to establish "an effective and ... stable Islamic Movement" on the continent, this document outlined a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" for achieving that objective. It stated that Muslims "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands ... so that ... God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions."
The third development, which was also a consequence of increased immigration, was the arrival of a significant Islamic community on the western side of the Atlantic.
Finally, came the period of concern and solidarity motivated by the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chechnya.
This section of DiscoverTheNetworks profiles many radical members of the Muslim faith -- some based in the United States, others abroad. It examines their various worldviews, activities, and agendas.
The RESOURCES column on the right side of this page contains a link to the section where profiles of Islamists can be found. It also contains links to articles, essays, and books that explore such topics as:
- the politically charged term "Islamophobia," which, ever since 9/11, Islamist civil-rights activists have used to describe American society's purported biases against -- and allegedly unfounded fears of -- Muslim people;
- the Islamic supremacists who rank among the most popular -- and the most frequently invited -- guest speakers at events sponsored by the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Student Union;
- American and Western Muslims' attitudes and opinions on a variety of key issues;
- the attitudes an opinions of Muslims worldwide;
- the rising tide of Islamic immigration into Western Europe during recent decades, and the ramifications of that trend;
- the reasons underlying Muslims' refusal to acknowledge Israel's right to exist;
- the refusal of many Muslims in Europe and the U.S. to assimilate into the existing cultures there;
- highly incendiary sermons, prayers, and speeches delivered by Muslim clerics and scholars;
- the testimony of individuals who were raised as Muslims but, at some point in their lives, chose to renounce their faith because of its hateful elements; and
- Islamists who have attained elected or appointed political positions in American government, on the federal, state, and local levels.