Emgage is not, as I will discuss in Part 8, dependent on Muslim donations. Instead, it overwhelmingly obtains grants from non-Muslim sources that want Emgage to provide access to Muslim voters. There is money available to do outreach and education for many minority groups within the United States.  

Emgage will draft proposals to various “funders.” In many cases, the identity of the funders is opaque. To obtain funding, Emgage will sign contracts with funders describing what it will do for the money it receives.  

The Muslim community and its places of worship are products purchased by funders. Muslims offered up as products by nonprofit leaders is not bad in itself. Every Masjid with a newsletter with ad spots or spaces for a booth does it, though they have standards in keeping with their mission as Islamic organizations. Voter outreach and education can be beneficial, but there is a problem. The non-Muslim funders’ agenda is what the funders are paying for, and any benefit to the Muslim community, if it exists, is coincidental. 

In 2019, Emgage applied to and in 2020 was admitted to the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an “umbrella” organization of Muslim organizations including CAIR (the dominant organization), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and others. After some controversy within the Palestinian-American community, AMP claimed on September 22 to have not worked with Emgage directly or indirectly, calling allegations against it grave. They had a prohibition on working with Emgage until it meets certain demands. After a petition campaign, USCMO started to take Emgage’s problems seriously. Emgage is no longer a USCMO member.   

There are serious questions in the Muslim community about how Muslim organizations would have failed to vet Emgage before recognizing them as a peer. One representative of USCMO informed me that they are small, with only 1.5 employees. They do not have the resources to vet organizations and lean on CAIR to ensure the organization is deserving of membership.  

Emgage’s Florida Reputation

CAIR’s central role in giving Emgage legitimacy within the Muslim community is interesting, given Emgage’s history in Florida, where CAIR has maintained multiple offices. Emgage has been banned in a great many Masajid in Florida in part because it has developed poor relationships with Muslim leaders throughout the state. While Emgage is a member of the South Florida Muslim Federation, it is not especially liked there. Maintaining poor relationships and having a reputation for detestable conduct in Florida seems to be more of a problem for Emgage in that state than any perceived Zionist or Hindutva sympathy (even though nobody will forget to list these). I had talked to several Muslim leaders in Florida who recounted several unethical and underhanded tactics, for example:  

· “Muslim Brotherhood” conspiracy theory mongering: Floridian Muslims I spoke with told me Emgage Founder Farooq Mitha had told politicians seeking office not to invite or work with other Muslim leaders because of alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

·      Attempting to take over someone else’s political event:  Muslims I spoke with recounted an instance where Emgage sold tickets to an event organized by someone else and told the venue they would be managing the event.   

·      Use of abusive and vulgar language.  A prominent Muslim leader in Florida told me how he had to intervene when Farooq Mitha used vulgar language abusively against a Muslim woman activist. 

·      Guerrilla tactics at Masajid: Widespread bans of Emgage in Florida has resulted in Emgage sending people to Masajid and distributing literature without authorization, creating conflicts with Muslim leaders as well as local political leaders. 

·      Threat of violence:  I was told of a fairly serious allegation of a threat of violence against a Muslim woman political activist by multiple Emgage board members. This was first told to me by a source other than the victim. However, I verified this allegation by speaking to the victim. I cannot share the circumstances or the board members involved; however, my interviews uncovered this incident fairly easily.   

The Pro-Israel Thing

I won’t be covering ground already covered in recent mostly Zionism-related controversies on Emgage. The best place for anyone to read about them is the “drop Emgage” petition. “Emgage’s response can be found here. However, the sum of this work is that there has been a whole lot of energy within Emgage working with Pro-Israel groups with a strong anti-Muslim record, namely ADL and AJC. I will address ADL in the context of Ethics in Part 6. However, it’s important to address why the “normalization” campaign is a problem for the Muslim community for reasons that have little to do with Zionism, Palestine, or even Islamophobia.