On a January day just before inauguration, a handful of Muslim activists and businessmen gathered in New York for a confidential meeting with Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and close adviser of President Donald Trump.
Though the transition team was based in Trump Tower, this meeting took place off site, away from the cameras. The goal was a candid talk about what kind of relationship the new administration might forge with American Muslims — a minefield of a topic given Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks during the campaign.
The meeting, which has not been previously reported, went smoothly, but any optimism Muslims left with that day vanished within a couple of weeks as Trump took office and immediately set about turning his anti-Muslim rhetoric into policy.
The Muslims in the room included a prominent imam, a civil rights attorney, the director of a nonprofit that studies violent extremism, and two venture capitalists — one of whom is a partner at Thrive Capital, the firm run by Kushner’s brother, Joshua. The shock of Trump’s win hadn’t worn off and some were skeptical about taking part, ultimately deciding it was worth it for the chance to argue against a Muslim registry or travel ban.
[Buzzfeed continues the fake news propaganda about a “Muslim registry” that has been debunked numerous times]
Kushner set a friendly tone, soliciting ideas for how to improve Trump’s relations with Muslims, urging them to think big and boldly. He assured them that American Muslims weren’t going to be in the crosshairs: The threat was overseas, he said, with “the cancer” of radical Islam. Then Kushner surprised the delegates by asking them to recommend candidates for jobs in the administration, including the White House liaison to Muslim communities, a post many had assumed would be scrapped.
The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment about the meeting. Just one of the Muslim groups involved — Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy nonprofit — confirmed participating, but would not divulge any details.
“We thought discussing our nation’s founding values and freedom for Americans of all faiths was the responsible thing to do before Mr. Trump came to power,” Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera, who was in the meeting, wrote in response to a BuzzFeed News query. “It soon became clear, however, that unless Trump makes drastic changes and shows he’s committed to being a president for all Americans, engagement is not an effective tool at this stage.”
The secrecy surrounding that day shows just how toxic relations have become between the White House and American Muslims. Simply acknowledging a meeting now risks political fallout from both directions: Trump’s anti-Muslim supporters don’t want to see him cozying up to Muslims, and many Muslims would reject any Islamic group that’s willing to deal with Trump.
“As far as I’m concerned, if that’s the kind of engagement happening, there’s no engagement. It doesn’t count.”
As a result, Muslims’ access to the White House is severely restricted, apparently now reduced to a back channel run by the president’s son-in-law, at a time when Islam is the faith singled out in Trump’s inaugural address, attacked by White House officials, targeted in travel bans, and subject to intense surveillance.
“As far as I’m concerned, if that’s the kind of engagement happening, there’s no engagement. It doesn’t count,” said Wa’el Alzayat, executive director of EmergeUSA, a nonprofit that encourages Muslim political participation.
“From what I understand, it was a sincere meeting and those were the requests and they were made in good faith. Since then, I haven’t heard of any real engagement or follow-up. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred, but I haven’t heard of it,” said a longtime Muslim Republican activist who did not attend the meeting but who spoke to participants before and after.
“It’s tough,” the Muslim Republican said, describing the no-win situation of Muslim activists navigating today’s political fault lines. “It’s an art, not a science.”
Muslims who meet with Trump or his aides typically receive a swift backlash, which is why nobody wanted to speak openly about their conversations with Kushner.
Alzayat, of EmergeUSA, said Muslims should be able to ask officials directly whether their community’s rights will be protected without resorting to clandestine meetings for fear of being branded sellouts. At least give engagement a try, he said, with the option of cutting off contact if the administration fails to follow through.
“These are our elected officials, this is our government,” Alzayat said. “If we don’t meet with them, who will?”
Muslims who attended the January meeting with Kushner were:
- Khera, the Muslim Advocates director and former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on civil rights and constitutional issues. She facilitated the first meeting between Muslim activists and President Barack Obama and organized the first congressional hearing on racial profiling. She acknowledges meeting with Kushner, but declined to offer details.
- Nabil Mallick, a partner at Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm founded by Joshua Kushner, a Democrat, who helped arrange the meeting and also was present. When BuzzFeed News asked about the talks, a spokesman for the firm said there would be no comment.
- Mamoon Hamid, a founding partner at Social Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm specializing in tech startup, who’s advised companies such as Yelp and Slack. He couldn’t be reached for comment. Hamid’s Twitter posts clearly show his opposition to Trump’s policies such as the travel ban.
- Humera Khan, executive director of Muflehun, a think tank focused on preventing radicalization. Her bio shows a long record of advising the FBI, State Department, and other government agencies on countering violent extremism. Khan did not return messages seeking comment.
- Mohamed Magid, former president of the Islamic Society of North America and imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. He’d later catch flak from other Muslim activists for participating in an interfaith prayer service for Trump’s inauguration. In a phone interview, Magid said he didn’t recall discussing policy with Kushner and wouldn’t be pinned down on the specifics of the meeting. “If it was confidential, why are people talking about it?”
Speaking generally, Magid said, he’s an unapologetic believer in what he calls “dignified engagement,” bringing Muslims’ concerns to those in power in a way that asserts their rights and doesn’t leave them feeling complicit in the administration’s decisions. That’s why he agreed to attend the prayer service for Trump, he said, even though it brought a painful backlash from some Muslims who view the administration as irredeemable.
Magid argues that Muslims shouldn’t close the door to talks “even if someone says the most horrible things about you.” Rejecting engagement with the White House means that someone else will speak for them, he said, reducing Muslims to onlookers in policymaking that could change their lives and threaten their place in the nation.
“It’s not about who you meet — it’s what you say when you meet,” Magid said. “Muslims cannot be the untouchables. They are part of the American social fabric.”
Yes, unfortunately a fabric that keeps trying to submit, silence and kill other Americans. More background on the Muslims and Muslim groups highlighted in the above Buzzfeed excerpts.
Mohamed Magid is the Imam from a terror-linked mosque who was part of the Islamic call to prayer at Trump’s inaugural interfaith event (where an Imam Cursed Christians and Jews). So much for Buzzfeed’s “not having access.”
Federal agents raided the ADAMS Center during a 2002 terrorism investigation into organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to court documents published by the Clarion Project.
“A government affidavit said the group is ‘suspected of providing support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax evasion through the use of a variety of for-profit companies and ostensible charitable entities under their control, most of which are located at [the ADAM Center’s offices at] 555 Grove Street, Herndon, V.A.,” according to the report.
Additionally, several accused terrorists have allegedly spent time at the ADAMS Center, including Farooque Ahmed, who was arrested for planning to bomb the Washington-area subway.
Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates is another Islamic supremacist – Funded in part by George Soros. Khera pressed the Obama DOJ to start enforcing sharia blasphemy laws on Americans, and numerous federal lawyers threatened to do so in the following months and years.
Then there is EmergeUSA – basically an offshoot of terror-linked CAIR – i.e., a Radical Islamic Group.
A founder and co-chair of Emerge, Khurrum Wahid, is a South Florida attorney who has built his name on representing high profile terrorists. This includes members of al-Qaeda and financiers of the Taliban. Wahid previously served as a legal advisor for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR has been cited by the U.S. government for its involvement with Hamas fundraising and has been labeled a terrorist group by the UAE government. According to the Miami New Times, Wahid himself was placed on a federal terrorist watch list in 2011.
It should also be noted, albeit in the often-fake news media, that Kushner Clashing with Bannon over ‘Desire to Deconstruct the Government’. I.e,, drain the swamp.
And he’s teaming with fake news partners, Kushner Leaking Anti-Bannon Stories to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
‘Ideological Coup’ By Kushner-Linked Goldman Globalists Destroying Trump White House – including Dina Habib Powell, Egyptian-born (Coptic Christian) Goldman Sachs alum who was promoted to Deputy National Security Advisor on March 15th.