Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1994, the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) is a political action committee whose mission is to “organize the American Muslim community in … party politics all across the United States,” so as to help Muslims “transform [their] pent-up frustration, anger, and pain into creative and meaningful steps towards political empowerment.” The overriding goal is to get Muslims elected and/or appointed to policy-influencing positions at all levels of political governance. Toward that end, AMA provides political education and leadership training for aspiring legislators; conducts campaign and issue research and analysis; maintains a comprehensive database of American Muslim political candidates; develops political strategies and articulates policy positions; conducts voter-registration, -education, and -mobilization drives; organizes member participation at the national and state conventions of the Democratic and Republican Parties; establishes political clubs across the United States; and sponsors numerous workshops, seminars, and conferences. In December 1995, for instance, AMA held a Texas symposium as part of an educational campaign to organize “the American Muslim community as a solid voting block, as other minority communities have done.”
AMA’s founder and national chairman is Dr. Agha Saeed, a professor of political science and speech at California State University. A noteworthy former director of AMA was Eric Erfan Vickers, who also served as executive director of the American Muslim Council (AMC).
During the mid-1990s, AMA established working relationships with a number of fellow Islamist organizations. These included the AMC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the National Council of Islamic Affairs (NCIA).
In 1998 at Brooklyn College, AMA joined CAIR and AMC in co-hosting “Palestine: 50 Years of Occupation,” a conference where militant speakers advocated jihad and characterized Jews as “pigs and monkeys.”
In May 1999, AMA and American Muslims for Jerusalem co-sponsored a “United for al-Quds” conference in Santa Clara, California. According to Investigative Project on Terrorism founder Steven Emerson, speakers at this event “accused Israel and the U.S. of carrying out a conspiracy to kill Muslims,” and “one speaker called for the death of Jews.” That speaker was Hatem Bazian, who approvingly quoted a famous hadith stating that “the stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!’”
Early in the 2000 election season, AMA was part of a coalition of Muslim and Arab-American groups that launched voter-registration campaigns across the United States. Moreover, AMA held a “leadership conference” to help aspiring political activists develop “skills related to campaigning, critical evaluation of local politics, comparison of the political programs of the major parties, and coalition building.”
In October 2000, the U.S. Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton—worried that Mrs. Clinton’s political fortunes might be harmed if she appeared in any way to endorse AMA’s radical positions and affiliations—pledged to refund $50,000 in donations it had received from AMA.
At an October 2001 AMA convention in San Jose, California, one delegate stated that “by the year 2020, we should have an American Muslim President of the United States.”
In the immediate post-9/11 era, AMA took a firm stance against the USA Patriot Act, characterizing the legislation as an assault on civil liberties. For instance, AMA endorsed the ACLU‘s campaign to persuade Congress “to fix the Patriot Act, as it is being used for increasingly greater intimidation and harassment of individuals and communities, particularly the Muslim Americans and Arab Americans.”
At AMA’s 7th Annual National Convention in October 2002, Agha Saeed said that the United States had facilitated al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden‘s rise to power by providing him with “million[s] of dollars,” giving “protection to his cause and diplomatic coverage to his enterprise,” and “train[ing] him in [the] science of war, death and destruction, deception and deceit.”
In 2004, AMA was a signatory to a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate to oppose Israel’s construction of an anti-terrorist security barrier in the West Bank, a structure which the letter described as an illegal “apartheid wall” that violated the civil and human rights of Palestinians.
AMA once presented a “Civil Rights Award” to Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida professor who secretly served as a leader of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Even after Al-Arian was indicted (2003), convicted (2006), and placed under house arrest (2008) for his terrorist activities, AMA defended him for years on end. For example, AMA founder Agha Saeed once co-authored an article titled “Sami Al-Arian Must Be Freed,” wherein Saeed characterized Al-Arian as a “political prisoner” who had been wrongly “targeted not for his actions, but for his … outspokenness about Israel’s brutal occupation policies,” a topic which “became a political hot potato in the post-9/11 climate of extreme suspicion of Muslims and Arabs.”
In November 2012, AMA signed on to a CAIR press release lamenting that “American taxpayer-funded weapons are used [by Israel] to kill civilians—including babies—and to destroy the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.” Rather than condemn Hamas as a terrorist entity, the statement depicted that organization as a defender of innocent Palestinian victims of Israeli brutality.
On September 11, 2013, AMA participated in the Million American March Against Fear, a rally purportedly intended to counteract Americans’ irrational fear of Muslims. Originally known as the Million Muslim March, the name of this event had been changed to accommodate non-Islamic groups that embraced conspiracy theories claiming that the 9/11 attacks were in fact staged by the U.S. government for the purpose of creating a pretext for perpetual war against the Muslim world. The 2013 march was organized by the American Muslim Political Action Committee, which had previously described “the whole ‘war on terror’” as nothing more than “a joke,” and had stated that “the so-called ‘Islamic terrorist threat’ is pure hallucination.”
In October 2014, AMA was a signatory to a petition where several dozen Muslim American organizations condemned Israel for abusing the Palestinian people by means of unbridled “aggression,” “brutality,” “cruelty,” “land expropriation,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” “illegal and oppressive occupation,” and “apartheid-like policies.” Demanding that the U.S. “stop sending … tax dollars to Israel,” the petition also exhorted Americans to support the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions campaign, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.
When jihadist gunman Omar Mateen murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others in a gay Florida nightclub in June 2016, AMA refused to acknowledge that the killer’s actions were rooted in his Islamic beliefs. Rather, the organization blamed the massacre on America’s purportedly lax gun laws. Soon after Mateen’s mass murder, it was learned that his father had served as president of AMA’s Fort Pierce, Florida chapter in the 1990s.
AMA is a member of the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT) and is affiliated with the California Civil Rights Alliance (CCRA). At one time, the AMA website shared the same IP address as the websites of the AMT and CCRA, and all three groups listed Agha Saeed as their primary contact.
AMA’s political activist wing, the American Muslim Political Coordinating Council, consists of Islamist organizations such as the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
For additional information on AMA, click here.